Some time ago, I read an article by Arianna Huffington on the importance of sleep and her incredible and impossible nightly sleep routine. I remember thinking then that I certainly don’t need sound-proof walls or nightly baths and warm milk to sleep well. All I need is the exhaustion that comes from taking care of kids; or conversely to have no kids!
Still, it struck me recently that I’m quite awful at this sleeping business. There were many nights when I would wake to feed Isabel, and then despite feeling absolutely exhausted, would not be able to sleep for another few hours, sometimes until dawn! So in the spirit of better sleep, over the weekend, I started diffusing lavender oil and putting on quiet, soothing music before bedtime. (Also this weekend Ning’s new bed arrived so we now have a massive nine-and-a-half feet, super comfortable bed to accommodate all four of us!)
For Ning, what made the difference was probably switching from a hard mattress to a super luxurious one. Isabel seemed indifferent to it all. I did sleep well but I can’t tell if it’s really the lavender scent and music. But Isaac certainly did sleep the best he did for a while! In fact, he didn’t rouse or wake at all at night!
The best part is, he quietens down a bit better because the music is enough to hold his attention so he doesn’t feel the need to yap on until he tumbles to sleep. And we get to have little chats about music! Initially, I started talking about what the music make me think of, how it made me feel just to get him to lie still. But I realised it was such a lovely conversation — I was telling him how a piece made me think of a green lush garden, the pitter-pat of rain and how each glistening drop would roll off from petal and leaf to the soft wet ground. He asked why the music sounded like rain and I explained it was because of the rhythm of the melody. Then when I asked if he liked music he said no! But later, when I wanted to turn it off he asked for it to be on.
And I realise, just as with speech, listening is perhaps the important aspect of a musical education. Even before playing, even before theory, even before pitch — just to listen and feel the music and learn to love it. Even if Isaac (and Isabel) never learn to play instruments or become technical virtuosos, I hope they would learn to always take a moment to be still and listen and listen and feel.
So more of that tonight! Music and scent also makes for a lovely spa-like atmosphere — always a good way to end the day =)