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If you find yourself with a small child that won’t sleep (and, consequently, won’t let you sleep) I have found that a (sippy) cup of warm chamomile infused milk,  bit of munchkin massage and a herb filled stuffed animal work wonders.

When Sophie was a baby, she was colicky, and we found that 2 ounces of dilute chamomile tea with some apple juice to sweeten it did the trick…particularly if we had delivered the preemptive strike of a lavender massage.  With Collin, we got lucky on the colic, but went through an anti-sleep phase around 8 months and found that the same routine did the trick (though he got a bigger bottle, lol).  Now that Sophie is three, and Collin is 1 1/2, we have been working on a bedtime routine that works (most of the time) to avoid the late nigh fussiness and sleep avoidance.

Chamomile Milk:

Sophie calls it “flower milk”…to make it, I use 8 oz of whole milk and a chamomile tea bag (or a tablespoon of loose dry chamomile, crushed, in a muslin bag), and a few drops of vanilla, warmed on low on the stove for about 20 min (and I mean LOW).  Sophie likes hers with a bit of “bee juice” (honey) but Collin takes his straight (be sure to never give an infant under 1 honey) ; which is surprising, because he likes sweets, and she doesn’t.

Munchkin Massage:

I have been a fan of baby massage since the kids were born.  Sophie probably learned her body parts from my endless litany of “toe, toe, toe, toe , toe…ankle…calf…knee and thigh” to the tune of Für Elise and there is little both kids like better than having their back rubbed (though Sophie also likes her forehead and around the ears, while Collin enjoys the feet and calves).   Massage is not only calming and soothing (and some studies have indicated that it may decrease aggression and increase cognitive performance in preschool age children), and it can also be used to help small children understand that they have control over their own bodies.

There are some differences between baby massage and munchkin (aka toddler/preschool age) massage…mainly that munchkins talk back and can voice their preferences, but also in terms of technique.  I recommend the book Infant Massage–Revised Edition: A Handbook for Loving Parents for information on baby massage, and the book Aromatherapy For Babies And Children
which discusses massage for infants and children.  One of these days I might actually finish the page on this topic

Sleepy Time Bunny:

Recently we needed to recharge the Sleepy Time Bunny…he had lost most of his smelliness.  And so, it was time for surgery.

Bun-bun, as he is called by my daughter, is her “spell bear”.  Never mind that he is a bunny, ever since we made him “smelly” and charged him with the sacred duty of keeping her safe in case of the mean fairy dragon attack (don’t ask), she does not sleep without him.  Bun-bun is filled with the soothing sent of lavender (sorry, Angie) and chamomile (in the muslin bag, for easier transplant).    This time after surgery, we went ahead and gave him a heart as well!!

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