Early autumn and our sun begins setting around five.
We head out for a walk before the evening chill sets in.
My youngest son and daughter walk, then run, then walk.
Youngest is speedy, fluid, fast – he loves to run but not in competitions even when asked to consider the school cross country team. Instead running is, moving like the wind, being in the moment of freedom.
My daughter sometimes wants to catch up, to attempt to pass the speedster, but he just turns the speed on and then playfully circles back to run and walk with her.
Their Dad and I walk behind, observing the siblings chat and race, and walk, as well as having our own chat.
There are cyclists everywhere on the track, some just ‘ting, ting’ others yell out ‘bike.’
The joggers count their kilometres and listen to their plugged in music. …
We are walking zombies, not parents, undertaking a ritualistic walking up and down, up and down, with our youngest child.
He just won’t sleep; even with dark circles under his eyes taking over his face. He is such a cranky toddler. Grizzle, grizzle, grizzle.
Awake again. All night!
This has been going on for months.
‘He just doesn’t sleep,’ we say to friends (all of them experienced parents) and distant family on the phone, and we receive a list of suggestions and many a sage nod.
‘It’ll end soon, always does.’
But it doesn’t. His mouth is full of teeth. His tummy rumbled.
He is not our first child, but our third, and we just know something isn’t right. This has been going on for months! A lack of sleep leads to indecisiveness amongst other things. We can’t see a way out. We are wrapped in the bandages of miscomprehension of most of what is going on around us.
My husband is increasingly scared he is going to make a mistake at the lab where he works on heart research.
Every suggested technique has been tried and we are on the verge of a sleep clinic book in.
One of my husband’s work colleagues, notices his dark circled eyes, asks a few questions, and finds out our story. She passes him a number, tells him her story – her own cranky child treated by cranial osteopathy.
My husband is not averse to alternative therapies, but he is a scientist, and wonders how this method is going to work.
Being a sleepless parent makes you crazy, and he knows this is it, we have to branch out and try something beyond traditional medicine.
Driving to the cranial osteopath, we are full of hope.
I go in with youngest, as my husband takes our other two for a walk.
A few questions are asked, ‘How was he born? How quickly?’
I answer, ‘Rapid, almost onto a concrete floor.’
He listens compassionately, whilst he gives the lightest touches to our son’s head. Yet our son is screaming as if in absolute agony. He does a little more and then stops.
‘That’s all for today. He’ll sleep when you take him home straight away for a few hours. Bring him back in a week.’
It’s true. He does. Bliss. Happier child, happier parents.
My husband can’t quite believe it – a sleeping child. ‘What did he do?’
I explain and he reads the pamphlet.
Next time he asks for a treatment too, keen to understand why ‘I’m never going to sleep boy’ has suddenly turned into a cherub.
Seems our boy was born way too fast and had some kind of disturbance to his head on the way out, and it is gently being realigned. There are charts and qualifications up on the wall.
After each treatment he sleeps through the night for longer blocks of time.
Our son, finally, is in truly healing hands.
Then comes our last visit, the osteopath now sends us forth again to be parents without needing him, ‘he should be okay now until he has growth spurts.’
Our child is more placid. He sleeps soundly and sweetly and once we are used to this new found luxury, so do we.