My children have never been the types to fall asleep right away, even when they are beyond tired. My 11 year-old stepdaughter falls asleep right when her head hits the pillow. I guess it’s her clear conscience or her ability to be thinking about absolutely nothing. I used to envy her mother, having a child who could do this.
My 9 year-old daughter, due to some deep-seated need to see me as many times as she can at night, asks that I check on her every 5 minutes. I do this until she falls asleep which can take up to a half hour. This entails multiple trips up and down the stairs which I guess I should be thankful for since I need to lose a little weight.
My 11 year-old son, who, like me, has a mind that never stops, asks me the most curious questions that are apropos of nothing while he is lying in bed in the dark. For example, “If two brothers married two sisters, what would their family tree look like?” Or, “If I dry the hair on my legs downward, the hair stays down. If I dry them up, the hair stays up. Why?” Or, “Whose birth was more painful? Mine or my sister’s.” It was his and I told him so. The kid didn’t want to come out.
A few nights ago, he asked, “What does como se dice mean?” Since I grew up in Miami, I know some Spanish. I told him it means “How do you say?” For example, como se dice orange en Espanol? And the person would respond naranja. My son’s response to this late night, impromptu Spanish lesson was “Oh good, if I ever need to ask what something is in Spanish, I’ll know how.”
I know if I read some sort of parental advice book, it would tell me how to fix this problem of the never-ending goodnight but I’ve decided that I don’t want to. The books would probably say that it has something to do with the fact that I divorced their father, drank, smoked, exercised obsessively and slept around for a few years and then married a man completely different from the first. (To my credit, I only drank, smoked and slept around when they were over at their father’s house.)
No, I think I’ll stay away from the advice books and try to enjoy the never-ending goodnights. I’ve come to look forward to hearing what’s on their minds and seeing their faces as they fall asleep. In a few years, they’ll be teenagers and, from what I hear, may not want to talk to me at all. But I’m hoping they do.