One of the things I struggle with is insomnia. I’m extremely high maintenance at bedtime, as McIrish can tell you: I need a perfect room temperature, clean pajamas, sufficient blankets, radio tuned to the news station/baseball game, Huggy Pillow perfectly plumped, windows open the exact right amount. If I’m not sleepy enough, forget it. I’m awake for hours. If I’m too tired, I can’t sleep, either. If I’m worried, stressed, sick, if the kids are sick or if I have to travel the next day, I have trouble sleeping.
Ergo (you just don’t see that word enough, do you?)…Ergo, I often have to trick myself into sleep. The first time-honored Kristan Higgins tradition is to imagine myself in a coma, preferably, a medically induced coma. For some troubling reason best left unexplored, those three words—medically induced coma—are very soothing to me. I picture myself in a cozy hospital room with gentle, ambient lighting. A doctor who has just gone off duty has opted to sit next to my bed. Even in my comatose state, I’m dimly aware of this guardian, and I feel very cozy and important, knowing he’s sitting there by my bed (hopefully halfway in love with me already). I know I’ll be okay—eventually—but for now, my job is to rest. This is basically what heaven looks like to me: a nice long nap. : )
For a while, I tried those self-hypnosis things, where you relax your scalp, your eyebrows, your jaw, but I found myself arguing with the narrator. He’d be saying (in that slow, irritatingly soothing voice) “You are deeply relaxed,” and I’d think “Am I, hotshot? Because I don’t feel relaxed!” He responds by ignoring me: “You’re in a boat and you can feel the gentle lapping of the waves,” and I think, “What about sharks? Are there any sharks? Am I getting a sunburn? Did I bring sunscreen, the non-sticky kind? I’m probably getting hungry. Is there anything to eat?” So those didn’t really work. Curse of the writer: an overactive imagination.
Another tried and true Higgins method is to have McIrish tell me how the car works. This can be tricky, because like so many men, McIrish can be asleep five seconds after lying down, so I have to blurt out my request the second we hit the sheets, or he’s out. But if I get him at just the right moment, he’ll patiently and quietly tell me how the engine starts by…something. I’m usually asleep by then. I’m still completely ignorant of how a car functions. It’s like voodoo magic as far as I’m concerned.
But even if I lie awake for hours, I really love bedtime. It’s so dark where we live, and quiet, and I’m happy to know my kiddies are snug in their beds, sleeping the sleep of the innocent.