One of my favorite jokes to make when I can’t remember something, or when I trip and fall, or do something weird like, I don’t know, dump a bucket of cold gazpacho on my head is, “Well, what do you expect—I haven’t slept in 4 years!” Then, I laugh really loud, with a crazy edge in my voice.
Look, I actually don’t like it when experienced parents regale n00b, blissfully hopeful parents-to-be with horror stories about the Herculean trials of sleep deficit. It seems cruel and very much a rain-on-their-parade-for-no-reason-except-schadenfreude kind of stunt. You know what, new parents? It’s true, you’re probably not going to get as much sleep as you used to, but it’s a small price to pay in terms of the rewards you’re about to reap immediately.
But sleep is always a hot topic among parents. Always.
How much sleep you’re not getting, how much sleep your child should be getting, why won’t they sleep, are they getting enough sleep, how often should they be napping, what time they should go to sleep, why won’t they sleep, what’s the best way to set up healthy sleep habits, WHY WON’T THEY SLEEP, what I can do to help them transition into a new sleeping situation, and finally, why won’t they sleep, why won’t they sleep, it’s just that I’m so tired, please go to sleep.
This is what parents talk about. And over at The Jim Henson Company, things are no different. That’s what the parents who work there are discussing as well. And that’s why they decided to create the show The Pajanimals.
The Pajanimals is a show that is completely and utterly devoted to toddler sleep issues, and how children and parents can address them. In each short and soothing episode, Squacky, Apollo, Cowbella and Sweetpea Sue deal with letting go of the events of the day as they prepare for bed and sing each other lullabies.
I was invited to visit the Henson lot to interview Alex Rockwell, the creator of The Pajanimals, and Halle Stanford, the show’s executive producer. TOMY has a full line of Pajanimals toys that have been specifically created to help families with sleep transitions, and the three of us sat down to talk about each product and how it can be used to help ease nighttime woes. Both Alex and Halle are mothers. Halle has a teenager and a toddler, and when Alex writes these shows, she uses her experience as a mother of four to help address issues that can surface with children as they relate to sleeping. I’m always hearing Hollywood horror stories about people who are creating children’s programming, or people in charge of children’s programming that don’t have any kids or experience with kids, so it’s nice to have a show that is actually made by people with families.
The line of products range from the obvious, old-fashioned sleep transition device of books…
…to my personal favorite, The Under the Lights Projector. I seriously love this thing.
Take a look at the whole playlist. You’ll find lots of tools to help with the bedtime transition. We are huge fans of The Pajanimals here in my house, especially the “La-La-Lullaby.” It’s such a sweet, simple song that’s easy to remember. Or, if you’re too tired to remember the actual words, it’s an easy song to la-la to. You’ll notice that in the lyrics they say, “sing, sing, to myself, a la-la-lullaby…” It’s a small word choice, but an important one. That one word can give a child the power and confidence to sleep all night on their own.
Hey, by the way, you should know that they put a lot of makeup on me, which is why I don’t look as tired as I feel all the time. And while you’re at it, I would love for you to find and enjoy the part where I admit that sometimes I get so frazzled at night, I forget to brush my child’s teeth! MINUS 10 FOR PARENTING!
Kristen Rutherford is the Head Writer/Creative Producer of The Nerdist show on BBCA and the host of #parent on the Geek & Sundry YouTube channel. She loves Tokyo, The Legend of Zelda, the Oz books, and hates talking about herself in the 3rd person, so she is ending this madness here.