It’s tiring to keep up with you, sometimes. Your energy can be wound so tight, brimming with tension and hype that I can see your molecules vibrating in place like a hummingbird. But what your body is doing and what your brain is doing aren’t always in sync.
At this age so much of your energy is kinetic. You run everywhere. Sitting straight for longer than 30 seconds is impossible. You skip to the bathroom, singing whatever song is in that head. You identify with your body, feeling it as one with yourself.
But there are times when it can betray you. As many parents of kids can attest, there’s a paradoxical reaction to sleep and tiredness that seems to rev your body in overdrive. It’s like this crazy vacuum energy that propels you even when you’re rubbing your eyes and ACTING tired.
So I’ve come up with one technique to help you. When I put you to bed – after reading time and your nightly routine – we now play the “Everlasting Hug game”. The way it works is that we stand and hug each other until one of us lets go or makes a noise. You start out by jumping up and down on the bed before you grab me, making a scrunchy face as if all you can do is channel whatever it is in inside you through your face. Then you grab me and whisper “I love you” in my ear, and the game begins. You wiggle and shimmy but I slow my breathing, slow and regular. Before long I can feel you slow down and relax. Once you even fell asleep and slipped down onto the bed already asleep. But almost without fail I can sense your body catching up to your tired brain. Your breathing matches mine and you acquiesce to the fatigue that you are feeling.
I know you need help right now with that, and that’s fine. It takes a while to learn. Some – many? – people never learn to sync up like that. I didn’t learn until much later to take an inventory of what I’m feeling and not allow inertia to carry me through.
As of late we do a different version of this game before doing “Everlasting Hug”. You call it “Crazy Hug” and the rule is that we can’t let go, but we can do anything else. So you jump on me and drape yourself on me like a crazed leech-monkey hybrid, tickling me and sticking your nose in my stomach and zerberting me until I laugh. You then scream, “Daddy! You lost!”
The truth is? I’m the one that wins.