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Carol Perkins: Cures for sleepless nights

Previous Column: Getting a second opinion

By Carol Perkins

When Eme (our granddaughter) was young, she fought sleep. One night Guy took her for a ride. "I drove all the way to Glasgow and back with her talking. She pointed out houses that she liked and never stopped talking." Parents (and grandparents) have been riding sleepless kids around as long as we have had vehicles. The sound of tires against the blacktop is soothing. On many of my sleepless nights, I have suggested Guy take me for a ride.

Parents often try many methods (some unconventional) at naptime or bedtime. One of my aunts wore out a vacuum cleaner. The sound must have been soothing. This was an Electrolux machine with a long tank and even longer hose, dating back to the fifties. (Salesmen sold door-to-door back then, and most women bought after the machine suctioned up so much dirt off the floor!) A sleeping child was worth the expense.

The hum of a fan and/or the cool air often sends children (and adults) off to la-la land. You've heard people say, "I can't sleep without a fan!" Whether a box fan or a ceiling fan, they must have it on. I am not one of those, but I can't sleep with that light on! Unlike me, some children (and many adults) can't fall asleep in a dark room. Even with a small light glowing, kids who are old enough to be frightened see shadows or hear noises.

Back in the "old days," I don't think parents had trouble with getting a child to sleep, and if they did, it was usually colic related. The norm was for babies to sleep with their parents (small houses and several children), so the security and warmth as they snuggled against their mama (or daddy) allowed them to relax and fall asleep, along with a soft back rub or a familiar touch. (Think of the times you have lain beside your child so he will go to sleep, and you have fallen asleep in the process.) As they aged in those days, they slept with a sibling (or more than one). No one had a nursery.

As for sleeping with the parents, think about your children and how many nights they begged to sleep with you. Crawled into your bed, fell asleep, and then you carried them to their beds. They have fallen asleep as you rocked them, sang tender songs to them, and cuddled them (even when their legs came to your knees), and then when you eased them into their cribs, you prayed they didn't wake. Mothers (most of them) try to establish a schedule for bedtime, but sticking to it is difficult. I never mastered a routine because we weren't always at home.

A sleeping child is precious, but getting the child to that stage can be frustrating!

Cures for sleepless nights part 2, the pacifier

Carol's most recent book, based on a true story, The Case of the Missing Ring, is available through Amazon, both paperback and ebook. You can contact her at

This story was posted on 2021-03-05 06:29:28
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Happy 100th birthday, Marguerite Sullivan!

2021-03-09 - Metcalfe County, KY - Photo from family collection.
Writer Carol Perkins and her brother Henry Sullivan have decided their mother, Marguerite Sullivan, deserves a lot of love and attention as she turns 100 years young on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Because of COVID-19, they will have a "card" party instead of a gathering. Anyone wishing to send her a card, mail to 805 South Main Street, Edmonton, KY 42129.

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