Our kiddos are super active girls, and there is no off switch in sight. I have no idea how they have so much energy; I am annoyed and envious at the same time.
Ella attends a before- and after-care program that is gymnastics based, so she gets a workout before and after school, not to mention recess and PE. Adriana is in preschool, and they go outside twice a day for 45 minutes, plus they have free play in the afternoon, and she has just started karate.
If you ask me, this is plenty of time to be active and get your sillies out, as we say. But not our kids.
When we get home in the evening, it is usually around 6 p.m. — and they are still ready to run. I had to start putting the child locks on the car doors as I pull into the garage because they were jumping out of the moving vehicle like Evel Knievel.
Before the car came to a complete stop, they were halfway down the street on their scooters. We don’t have time to play at night because the show must go on. Dinner needs to be made, homework needs to get done, and they need to take baths.
I fantasize about my kids going into the playroom as instructed to pick a quiet activity and do their homework. That is not our reality. From the second they get in the door, they wrestle the dog and get him all excited. Then it is on to a game of leapfrog on the couches. They jump from loveseat to sofa and back. I physically remove them from the furniture each time, and two seconds later they are at it again. Over and over like Groundhog Day. Why won’t they stop jumping?
During dinner they are up and down, running around the table, feeding the dog, going to the bathroom, playing hide and seek in the pantry. It just never ends. After dinner, they run around upstairs playing tag, army crawling to the bathroom to brush their teeth. I mean, really?
When are they going to be tired? My husband and I are the parental version of The Walking Dead. Friends and family visit and sit on the couch sipping their wine. By the time they leave they tell us how exhausted they are. I know. Welcome to our world, people.
At a recent visit to the pediatrician, I was tired, really tired. Adriana hasn’t slept through the night in months, and we are running on empty. I explained to the doctor what is going on at night and begged her for advice.
The first thing we did was run through their diet. I was relieved to hear they are not eating too much sugar during the day, but I needed to be more mindful of their pre-dinner snacks. That meant no yogurt or other seemingly healthy treats that contain decent amounts of hidden sugar.
Her next suggestion was giving both girls melatonin gummies to help them relax in the evening and promote sleep. Oh, my goodness, where have these gummies been all my mommy life? I was told to give the gummies two hours before bed. Exactly 15 minutes later, poor Ella fell asleep right after dinner — like face on the table, out for the count.
I could barely contain my excitement. Holy nuts, this stuff works. Adriana didn’t go down quite as easily, but soon after, she was asking to go to bed. It was 8:30, and both girls were sound asleep, not doing flips on their beds.
The next night, I cut the gummy in half. It still worked, and within an hour they were asking if they could go upstairs. Bedtime is easier and no longer resembles the WWE SmackDown. No more getting out of bed for milk, or asking for another story or to kiss the dog goodnight. It’s a miracle, I tell you.
Melatonin is a natural supplement and was recommended by our pediatrician. If you think this could help, consult your child’s doctor to make sure you are buying the right dosage of melatonin. We now have our evenings back, and peace has been restored — well, at least at night.
Lynn Cristina is a mother of two who works full time as a marketing manager. Contact her at email@example.com or on Instagram @lynncristinablogs.