Sunday, September 8, 2013

Impregnable defenses against bloodsucking monsters

When children won't sleep parents resort to all kinds of crazy schemes.  Today I think we hit a new high.  We long ago ended up carrying Elli back and forth, letting her sleep in our bed, stay up late, eat just one more snack, get one more cuddle, or play one more game.  These past few months she has ended up using an ice pack every night - cuddled up under her blankets for warmth she demands an ice pack to snuggle with to cool herself down.  Here is our crowning achievement in the 'do anything to get the child to sleep' category:

Yes, that is a bulb of garlic on her night stand beside her cup of water, homemade snow globe, and piggy bank.  Garlic you ask?  Why garlic?  Well, garlic is of course the defence of choice against vampires.  Some time ago Elli insisted on looking at a comic I was reading and it had a vampire in it so now she regularly is 'afraid of vampires'.  What this actually means is that she doesn't want to sleep but needs something plausible to freak out about so she picks something random and has a meltdown about it.

The truly strange thing is that she agrees with us that vampires are not real.  She also agrees that garlic is just something we think of as being useful against vampires but which doesn't really do anything.  However, when we give her a bulb of garlic for her room at night we have done *something* and like any good placebo it suffices to get her to calm down and go to sleep.  What she really needs is for us to acknowledge that she is in distress and do something, anything, to let her have her way in that.  Once she has that victory she carries her thoroughly ineffective garlic off to her room and crashes almost instantly.

People are hilarious.  Note I didn't say children specifically because adults pop homeopathic pills, use magnet healing, and resort to prayer when we know for sure that none of those things do anything.  We all apparently need placebos to get ourselves past our mental blocks and I can't see how a bulb of garlic is any more silly than chakra balancing or feng shui.  It is, however, a wee bit unusual.


  1. Naomi has gone to sleep clutching an actual mini pumpkin. Also once with very specific socks, not on her feet... but once again clutched in her hands.


  2. When I was a kid, I'd use fear of vampires as an excuse to get my parents to leave the hall light on and the door open so I could use it to read.

  3. When I was a kid I used to have a teddy bear that comforted me but at the same time I would observe that adults didn't cuddle teddy bears and so I would lie awake worrying that as I grew older my love from my bear would fade and effectively my bear would die as I stopped anthropomorphizing him.

    I think I was a tough kid to comfort.

  4. I just bought some placebos to do some stuff with my science ed classes at the faculty of ed.

    I bought homeopathic jet lag pills and earache tablets. The crowning achievement though was the pills that I bought that are actually marketed as placebos (says 'No active ingredient' on it) from universal placebos. Can't wait to see how it goes!