By Shannon Magsam
“It’s like a little miracle every night,” I told my husband on Wednesday.
My daughter has gone to sleep within 15 minutes of getting into her bed for the PAST TWENTY-ONE NIGHTS. In a ROW.
For those of you who know about my 9-year-old’s struggles with sleep, you’ll know this is HUGE. Simply huge. Our secret weapon? Melatonin.
I credit Julia at Here be Hippogriffs with this amazing, thrilling, dumb-founding development. I’ve been reading Hippogriffs since Ladybug was about 3 or 4 and Julia mentioned a few weeks ago in a post that her son, Patrick (also 9 and a terrible sleeper) had started taking chewable melatonin before bedtime. Her night owl was now getting about three extra hours of sleep at night. (Side note: This is one of the things I love about the Momosphere. So many more opportunities to share information that can really help each other out.)
I asked my pediatrician about trying it with Ladybug and he said it would be fine. Since she’d never taken an actual pill before, they recommended taking it in a spoonful of applesauce since kids swallow that without chewing anyway.
The week before school started, my Melatonin-free daughter went to a sleepover and stayed up ALL NIGHT. She was zonked when I picked her up, so I let her sleep until about 11:30 that day. Since I was trying to get her back into the school schedule sleep groove, I gave her Melatonin that night. And she went to sleep. I figured it was a complete fluke since she’d been awake the whole night before. But it helped her go to sleep the next night and the next night and the next night…
After the first day of school on the 15th, we went to Braum’s for ice cream. I sweated it a little. Sugar after a certain time of night tends to keep the little lady up even longer at bedtime. I didn’t figure the Melatonin would still work after a sweet treat late in the afternoon. But it did. I still expect it not to work every night and every night I leave her bedroom a little stunned that she’s already sound asleep.
Pre-M, it really was a struggle for her to go to sleep even if she was exhausted and really wanted to. It wasn’t pretty around here. She was tired, we were tired and the night usually ended with anger and frustration before she could finally fall asleep. And it’s a blast to be exhausted and grouchy just in time to fall into your own bed, no?
Post-Melatonin miracle, John and I have downtime in the evenings (when I can pull myself away from my PRESHUS, the computer) and are going to bed a little earlier. And more sleep = happier parents AND daughter in the mornings. I’m flippin’ thrilled she’s able to go to school well-rested and ready to take on the day.
Yesterday morning was just … awesome. I didn’t have to drag my kid out of bed to get ready for school. She got up without complaint. Then we ate breakfast together, chatted about the day ahead and took off for school.
On second thought, don’t pinch me. I’m loving this beautiful dream.
Shannon Magsam is mom to 9-year-old Ladybug, married to Ladybug’s dad, John, and co-creator of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of Life With Ladybug, click here.