My husband was putting my daughter to sleep at bedtime when she realized she had left her lovey, “Twinkle Bug,” at her girlfriend’s house after a sleepover. She started to freak out, screaming, “I cannot go to sleep without her! I will never be able to sleep without Twinkle Bug!”
My husband responded by offering solutions, “Is there another animal we could look for? To cuddle with?” “No! No! No,” she insisted. I knew that she could sleep without this bug so I moved in and just listened. She cried and cried about the bug, wishing she had remembered to bring it home, or that I had remembered to ask her friend’s mom to bring it to school.
“I will never be able to sleep without her,” she screamed again, kicking and thrashing and finally sobbing. I told her throughout her rage and sadness, “I know you can sleep without her. I know this is hard and I know you can sleep without her.”
When she seemed calm I sang the song that the bug sings quietly in her ear as she yawned and sighed and yawned and drifted off to sleep. I know that in the past, we have been harsher toward her and her feelings. “You never needed that bug to sleep before you noticed your friend had attachments to things that help her sleep. Why do you need it now? You don’t need it to sleep! You are tired.”
I am very happy to say that none of those things even crossed my mind until I reflected here while writing this down. The next night, my daughter still did not have her Twinkle Bug. I was thinking, “Oh no! Bad Mommy! Not again!” But my daughter just asked where the Rainbow Puppy was, then asked, “He was yours when you were little, right, Mom?” When I said “Yes,” she happily climbed in bed, tucked Rainbow Puppy under her arm and went to sleep easily.
It’s now a week later, and we still have not remembered to get Twinkle Bug from our friend! What’s more, she shared her problem and strategy with her teacher at school, proud that she had slept without the bug and happy to have Mommy’s Rainbow Puppy to sleep with.
–a parent in Louisville, Colorado