Gibby has an imagination – don’t all kids at that age? But it has to be said – hers does seem to be particularly active and oh . . . my . . . goodness it is constant.
We have several imaginary friends – sometimes Captain Hook, sometimes a girl called Betty, but mostly a character called Spike. As imaginary friends go though it has to be said, Spike doesn’t do an awful lot. He often chooses to go to work with Daddy rather than accompany her to nursery, and annoys her greatly by having a lie in most days when she is ready to play. Occasionally I have to set an extra place for him at the table, or be selective where I sit so as not to squash him, but luckily, he shrinks at night to fit into the doll’s house and sleep there, so at least I’m not making up a spare bed.
Spike is either a little boy with purple hair and big black eyes, or a giant spider that likes going on the trampoline. So that’s nice.
We also have a bit of a sleep issue, and I’m struggling to find any help with this one. Getting her off to sleep is fine. She doesn’t have nightmares/sleepwalk/want to come in with us either. She just decides that she’s wide awake, any time between the hours of 1-4 and for a good hour or two. This usually comes to my attention when she wakes me up by chatting to someone pretend, having a little sing-song, or seeing how fast she can clap – all without leaving her bed. No amount of soothing or ignoring seems to affect her ability to drop off again, and she is subsequently a pain in the **** to get out of bed the following morning. Last night I stuck my head round her bedroom door after hearing some jiffling:
“MUMMY!” ***Ridiculously loud whisper*** I can’t sleep again.”
“Never mind sweetheart, just try deep breaths and snuggle down.”
“BUT MUMMY, THERE ARE FOURTEEN CHEEKY GHOSTS KEEP COMING IN MY ROOM AND KEEP SNATCHING MY BOBBLES OUT AND I TELL THEM NOT TO BUT THEY KEEP COMING BACK AND I CAN’T SLEEP.”
“Er . . . ok. Well never mind, ghosts can’t hurt you and . . . “
“BUT MUMMY” ***hand is put by the side of her mouth in a conspiratorial fashion *** “THEY HAVE REALLY BIG EYES, AND THEIR EYES GROW AND GROW AND THEN THERE ARE TINY LITTLE PEOPLE LIVING IN THEIR EYES, AND THE TINY PEOPLE ARE KEEPING ME AWAKE ASWELL SINGING A SILLY SONG.”
“Gibby have you been dreaming?”
“NO MUMMY, I JUST TOLD YOU THEY WOKE ME UP. DREAMING IS WHEN I AM ASLEEP.”
She looks at me matter-of-factly and not in the least upset or frightened whilst I struggle for an appropriate reaction.
“DON’T WORRY. IF THEY COME BACK, I WILL MAGIC THEM AWAY WITH MY MAGNIFYING GLASS.” (She brandeshes said magnifying glass proudly – she currently insists on sleeping with it every night in place of a teddy , but that’s a whole other blog post.)
And so I’ll take myself off to my own bed and fall back to sleep whilst listening to her Gibbling away in the next room, casting spells, banashing ghosts, and other general gibbliness.
When she finally does awake in the morning, we are instantly plunged into a world of fantasy again. “Mummy, there was lots of bumble bees under my bed that woke me up trying to tickle my toes.” Or perhaps it was a wicked witch, or a giant, or a dinosaur, or even one of the dearly departed pets we lost last year.
We have mythical beings around every corner, nook and cranny. It’s mostly fantastic, but it’s also exhausting, and it can get a bit too much as well. Imaginary play is one thing, but full blown hysterics because she cannot turn herself invisible (and absolute FURY with us when we giggle at her insistence that she definately could do it yesterday) – well that’s a bit of a worry – as are the tears and massive upset when she can’t make magical powers come out of her hands. It can definitely get beyond the point that is funny.
When does imagination actually cross the line and become a worry rather that a joy? When does being imaginative turn into having an “over-active imagination” if indeed there is such a thing? I certainly don’t enjoy watching her genuinely distraught as a result of her inability to possess superpowers, and I am finding myself more and more at a loss of what to say to her.
And PLEEEEEASE . . . someone tell me how to get her to sleep . . . ??