Bedtime around our house is very interesting. Gabriel is now sleeping in a toddler bed because we needed his crib for Levi. It’s funny now that Gabriel isn’t “caged” in a crib – he can get out of his bed anytime he wants. Often in the middle of the night we’ll hear him playing with his toys.
It’s become somewhat of a routine now – we put him in his bed – he cries and gets out of his bed. We put him back in bed again – then he bangs on his bedroom door for someone to save him. If Eveline is in the house – she ALWAYS saves him. Otherwise – he throws a small tantrum and finally falls asleep about 30 minutes later.
Now we can play this game every night — OR – we can put him in his bed and hold his hand. If Jose or I sit on the floor by his toddler bed and just touch him – within a few minutes he’ll fall asleep.
Now that Gabriel is in bed we’re making sure that the boys aren’t too hot. They love to be swaddled but it’s really too hot to be swaddled here at night -especially when we lose power around 2am every morning. In the process of making sure they’re comfortable – we always end up waking them up. We will stick their pacifiers in their mouths and that will help some – – but what really helps them sleep is if we simply touch the top of their little heads and gently pet them.
The girls love to “pet” their brothers. They often correct us- “No daddy – Levi likes you to rub him softly and slowly on the side of his face. No mommy – Asher likes for you to rub the very top of his head!”. Sure enough – late at night when nothing seems to work – if we softly and slowly touch their little heads – they drift back to sleep.
It’s amazing the power of a simple touch. I think it’s something we take for granted. Here in Haiti – it’s all about the touch. We greet each other with a kiss or a hug. We greet everyone – doesn’t matter if we know them or not. It’s considered rude not to say hello to complete strangers. Can you imagine if we just walked around the mall greeting everyone whether we knew them or not? People would think we’re crazy.
Today a mother and her child showed up at my office door. The child had a horrible skin condition. She didn’t have any money for medication and our pharmacy shelves were bare. I really had a lot to do today – I didn’t really have time to sit and listen to her story. But looking into her desperate eyes – I invited her to sit down and tell me about her situation. I listened as she told me that her husband was dead, she was raising three kids on her own, she slept on porches of random houses, she often eats scraps that she finds on the street – and here was her little baby girl covered in sores. I could tell this little girl was wanting me to hold her – she couldn’t have been 18 months old. I’m looking at her sores – thinking there is no telling what she has – and yet how much does she yearn to be touched. I held her for a while, sent someone to get the meds she needed, and prayed with them before they left.
It might take a little more time to stop what we’re doing and reach out to someone – but we forget the impact a simple touch makes.
Sometimes it seems “easier” for me to just let Gabriel scream it out for 30 minutes and bang on his door – than to just take 12 minutes of my own time and sit by his bed.
I just wonder how many people are banging on their doors…needing a simple touch – but in our busyness – we never hear them….