Chocolate Cherry Bedtime Smoothies
Oh Bedtime…the images you stir in our minds. Quiet, peaceful moments of love and connection–warm baths, sweet cuddles, quiet prayers. A time to reflect on the day and begin the process of renewal for the one to come. Before children, I relished this time of night. It’s my jam. I have always had the sleep requirements of an 80 year old woman and therefore know how to settle in for a long nights slumber. I believe fully in the power of rest and intended to instill in my children this life tenet. While pregnant 10 years ago, I was certain then that I would foster these amazing, iconic and wonderful bedtime traditions with my future offspring. I couldn’t wait to share this time with them. I designed my first nursery with calming, quiet colors, a peaceful sanctuary in which they were sure to sleep the innocent blissful sleep of babies nightly.
And then my first precious angel was born.
At around 3 months Dillon was diagnosed with sleep aversion*. He cried the entire first year of his life, an apparent vampire that need not sleep through the night (or day) to function. Too new at the parenting thing to be immune to his piercing cries and too unsure of myself to lay him in his bed to cry it out (don’t judge), I spent 12 months banging my head against the wall (a few times quite literally) reading every baby book and trying every technique to get him to sleep. I armed myself with an arsenal of cleverly marketed nighttime bathing products determined to uphold this dream of nighttime bliss and the only thing I ended up being was $100 poorer.
Happiest Baby on the block, he was not.
*not an actual diagnosis*
When his brother was born and I was just too tired to put up with his antics all night while caring for a newborn, I adopted a new philosophy. Bedtime for me was like last call at a bar. You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. I don’t need you to sleep, I just need you to be in your room away from me. You want to climb the walls of your room? Good. Go for gold. Just don’t come out. Feel the need to create art on your walls, we’ll deal with that later. Right now I’ve got bigger fish to fry.
His need for sleep is so little that he is infamous amongst friends and family for his nighttime expeditions. Never the typical child, Dillon has had midnight adventures we know nothing about, dropping to sleep wherever he deems fit after a night of roaming the house. We have a million pictures of him sleeping. None of which happen to be in his bed. Finding him in the morning is kind of like a game. Not a very fun one, but a game nonetheless.
This doesn’t mean I have given up on his sleeping, though. I’m a parent still, and will forever worry about how this accumulated lack of sleep is affecting both his mood and his mental functioning. Certain we’d discover that he’s a genius that could solve world hunger if he would just get a good nights rest, I am still on an ever-loving quest to get this child to go the @#&! to sleep. I’ve explored all the methods and experienced disappointment on some level with them all.
- Aromatherapy: Been there. Done that. Makes the pillows that he’s doing backflips on at 10:30pm smell fabulous.
- Nighttime routine: If you mean the one that involves us watching him actually climb the walls of our house while downing copious amounts of wine in frustration, then we’ve got it DOWN.
- Melatonin: Sure it’s great. But the benefits of it’s effectiveness are mostly outweighed by my fear that the hormonal side effects are going to cause him to sprout unnatural body hair and have all sorts of weird puberty issues.
- Benadryl: best solution yet. But I’m pretty sure unethical at best and possibly illegal at worst.
So, today, 10 years later my mission to find the perfect solution is still unending. I research, I try, I create. And from that quest, this beauty was born. Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, so their addition to this filling nighttime smoothie can give you a slice of the effectiveness that a pill would bring–without the fear of weird stuff happening from it. The protein in the milk also helps fill up little tummies so even if you don’t struggle through the bedtime game, it’s a good healthy treat to help their bodies grow and mend through the night.
Chocolate Cherry Bedtime Smoothie
- 1 cup frozen cherries
- 3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
- 2 Tsp Maple Syrup (alternatively 2 pitted Mejool Dates)
- 1 cup Non-Dairy Milk (I use Ripple Pea Milk)
Add all ingredients to high powered blender in order listed.
Blend to desired consistency, adding more milk if you find it's too thick.
*Adjust the cocoa if you find it's too rich for you liking. We really like our chocolate around here so like that extra tablespoon. I've made it with 2 and it's just fine, though.
*Any milk can be used here but I prefer Ripple Pea Milk in unsweetened vanilla. As an added bonus your kids will laugh for hours over drinking Pea (PEE) milk.