Sleep Whisperer: The Outcome

Posted: March 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Friends and Strangers, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Parenting, Sisters, Sleep | No Comments »

I was trying to be thrifty. Instead I ended up adding years to my life.

Or at least my appearance.

I’d run out of under-eye concealer—a critical mother’s little helper—and found an old tube of it in our bathroom drawer. It was a drugstore brand. But in the harsh light of the recession, and the harsh light of day on my dark under-eye circles, I decided to give it a whirl.

And you know? It wasn’t half bad. A good color match. Good even coverage. And the spongey applicator was kinda fun.

So on a Target run with my mother-in-law I decided to get more. Expensive schmancy make-up be damned!

As I crouched down to find the right product and color I zeroed in on the shape of the tube, then read the label and staggered back in horror. What I’d been spreading on the delicate moisture-craving skin under my eyes for weeks was not some creamy emollient make-up. It was tinted zit cream.


The last time I had a zit I had a Michael Jackson poster hanging in my bedroom. (It was this one, if you must know.)

Anyway, I have sisters who are 10, 11, and 12 years older than me. I learned at a wee tender age the critical importance—the necessity—of a good eye cream. When my sibs were in their twenties, experiencing their first anxieties over sun exposure and laugh lines, I was a smooth-skinned tween. My sister Judith saw me as someone with the potential to capture her youth. So she hooked me up.

I had to be the only 12-year-old on the block religiously using Christian Dior eye cream twice daily (dabbing it on gently with my ring finger so as not to pull at that delicate wrinkle-prone skin).

So this recent mishap with the mistakenly-applied harsh, drying zit cream has undoubtedly set me back dog years. Benzoil peroxide, you have robbed me of my youth.

At least I’ve gained back some beauty rest to balance it all out. Yes, party people, the update on the Sleep Whisperer, the Snooze Czar, the Sand Woman—the person we paid excessive amounts of money to get our three-year-old to finally frickin’ give up the ghost and sleeeeeep—is this….

[Drum roll please.]


And really, not just that. She went to sleep and didn’t call out to us once. We put her to bed, and then—she slept! Until she got up in the morning!

It’s like a miracle.

Of course, last night she got up once. But really—once! That’s just a little bit! It’s a helluva lot less than getting up the many many times we’d miserably gotten used to.

And that’s only four days into our new program. So I’m still willing to allow for a learning curve.

What’s funny is, I was totally skeptical at first. Ms. Very Expensive Sleep Helper Lady came to our house Monday evening for our first meeting. I had a mild hide-the-People-magazines sorta freak-out in the moments before her arrival. But I pushed past that.

When I answered the door I drank in everything about her.

She was a bit older than I’d expected. She sat on the couch, all smiley and friendly. She said she liked how our living room was decorated. She munched on the nuts I’d set out. She was the spitting image of my friend Jill’s mom.

There was every reason to like this woman, but as we launched into our meeting I grew concerned. She didn’t have a clipboard. She didn’t goose-steep through Paige’s room making observations and jotting notes while skeptically muttering “uh-huh” under her breath.

If this woman was going to solve this nasty problem, shouldn’t she be more stern, or clinical, or ruthless?

Instead, she was mellow and friendly. She was NICE.

We chatted for a while, then Mark’s mom and the girls came back from their dinner. Nice Sleep Specialist made cute “what’s your dolly’s name?” type small talk with the girls. And then she and Paige went into Paige’s room for A TALK.

Mark was all hopping around on one foot wanting to eavesdrop. I was at the point where if this stranger was hypnotizing my daughter in order to make her sleep through the night—or threatening or terrorizing her in some way—I mean, as long as it worked, I was game.

They emerged from the room and Sleep Lady announced, “Paige has told me something very interesting. She said that it’s Baba [her lamb lovey] who wakes her up at night. And that is why she then calls out to you.”

What ensued was this: A conversation in which it was explained to Paige that Mom and Dad need their sleep. If they get woken up in the middle of the night, they don’t get their rest and can’t do a good job at work and will be cranky.

At which point Kate (who is heretofore written out of the will), chimed in, “My mother is ALWAYS cranky.”


Instead of hiding my People magazines I should have considered hiding Kate.

Anyway, what the Soul Sister of Sleep did was flipped the dynamic a bit. Paige was to say “shhh” to Baba in the night if Baba woke her up. This way Paige was no longer the bad guy. She was the good guy who we were enlisting in the effort to get mom and dad a good night’s sleep.

I was leery.

First off, were none of us going to cop to the fact that Baba wasn’t really the one doing the waking up? Were all the grown-ups going to play along with Paige flagrantly shirking responsibility for it all?

Apparently “at this age” (i.e. three years old) it’s easier for kiddos to test out new behaviors or express themselves via a proxy. Have the teddy bear use the potty. Show me on this doll what happened to you. Yadda yadda yadda.

Weirdly, it WORKED. I mean, it kinda didn’t really take on the first night. But we all kept talking trash about Baba needing to stop pestering Paigey when he woke up. She still bellowed to us a few times from her bed, and Mark went in to remind her to tell Baba, “Shhh.”

The next night we were told to ratchet things up a level. To close the bedroom door if she called out to us. She hates having the door closed, and screams her head off.  But what I liked was we only had to do it for five minutes. Then we’d open it and ask Paige if she and Baba wanted to take another chance at being quiet.

Night three: Bliss! In fact, I was lying awake intermittently wondering if and when she’d wake up. She never did. Our house was oddly quiet.

I did notice in that time that our refrigerator produces one ice cube every twenty minutes. This is apparently the kind of huge insight I’ll be making with my new-found well-restedness.

Well, that and I’m planning to start accusing stuffed animals of my own indiscretions. The next time Kate publicly calls me out for crankiness I’m casting all the blame on Barbie.

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