edge

Non-Sleeping Beauty

Photographs by Mark Lyndersay

Picture courtesy Mark LyndersayMy name is Jace Marley Hutton and I’m eight years old and, for the last six years and ten months, I’ve not been sleeping, like, at all! But NOW I’m a champion sleeper.

Yes, my parents named me after Bob.

I have to say this about my horse-crazy self: I don’t have OCD but I have OHD; Obsessive Horse Disorder. I LOVE horses. When I was three, my mom gave me a “pony experience” as a birthday present. I was, like, oh my gosh, that is so cool! Cause I LOVE horses. And I got to groom the pony, ride the pony, and I was, like, I can’t give this up! But I did have to stop for a couple of years because: 1. I had other hobbies; and 2. the stables, Horses Helping Humans, were moving all the way up to Maracas Valley.

My other hobbies were: dance; swimming; aerial silks. Not aerial socks, BC Pires! Aerial SILKS! There’s nothing called aerial SOCKS! You hang from a big silk hammock and do flips. I also did rhythmics, rhythmic gymnastics. It’s like normal gymnastics, except you do it with hoops and apparatus and big ribbons.

Right now, I do school for, let’s say, one hour with my class teacher Amira Wignarajah on Tuesday. My main schooling has always been at home so my mom says lockdown didn’t present too much of a change for us. My mom says my teacher is life and myself. My mom says I teach myself and my mom facilitates my learning. My mom says it’s the concept of un-schooling, child-led, by the child’s interest. If a child is interested in horses, all learning comes from horses: you learn to research about horses, learn math from the horse, write stories about horses, the history & geography of horses.

We used to have a cat named Smalls who used to follow my dad around like a dog. I have a fish called SuperBlue. His actual name is Coral, though. We have a cat, ‘Bago. I call him Potato but my mom says he doesn’t respond to that because he doesn’t know it’s his name. But, one day, I will go, “Po-tay-toe!” And he’ll come running! And we have two pot hounds, Yara, who looks like a meerkat lemur, and Lucky, who looks like she’s supposed to be a seal. We rescued Yara from Yara River, sleeping by garbage! I was, like, awww! You should interview her, BC Pires! She would tell you a lot of things!

I like learning about history because history is about so many things. Most of all, I like learning about animals.

Picture courtesy Mark Lyndersay

When I grow up, I want to own, like, a GIANT pet centre. So I can play with pets all day long. With a stables for the horses. And a vet station. And somewhere where all the pets could dance, like a pet dance studio. With Pomeranians wearing little leg-warmers. And I’ll have all the employees and their parents in an apartment complex next to it, so they can walk to work.

I like Gabby’s Dollhouse, Spirit and Raven. They really don’t have any good horse shows on TV.

My favourite vegetable is watercress. That is SO good! But I like Chinese food, Mexican food and Japanese food best. That is my favourite! All three! I love wontons, tacos and sushi. And pows.

Horses give you messages. When I felt a twitch going down my horse’s spine, I thought, “Okay, that’s the message!” And the message from the other horse was, “I want to be part of the lesson, too! Don’t leave me out!”

My mom says that getting me to sleep was more work than her master’s degree. I wasn’t able to sleep at all unless my mom was there and it took two hours to get me to sleep for ten minutes. Basically, I was a miracle of nature. A miracle of nature. My mom says everybody made fun of my parents. People called my mom and dad “Shhhhh!” and “Don’t Talk Around the Child!”

I was diagnosed with paediatric insomnia when I was three. My mom says I had a trauma when I was five, when I licked out my front teeth. And my first acute insomnia episode happened exactly one year later. My mom says, “The body remembers trauma and always shows it”.

Picture courtesy Mark LyndersayOne year after I licked out my front teeth riding my scooter on a hill, my friend was riding on her bike on the same hill and she said, “Jace, follow me!” And I was, like, “Sofia, nooooo! Press your brakes!” But she was already rolling down that hill fast! Basically, that was a violation of every single safety hazard ever. Luckily, she wasn’t hurt on her face, just her leg, so she was fine. My mom says, the same trauma I felt a year before, I watched my friend do again a year later. The same NONSENSE! I stopped myself from falling but Sofia didn’t know how to.

All the years I wasn’t sleeping well, I just thought, “Well, there must be something wrong with me!” And I grew to live with it. Mom would put me in bed and have to stay long hours with me. After, like, two hours, I would doze off… and then wake back up! My mom had to set her work appointments for after 1pm.

My mom says that 2am-to-5am used to be Jace’s & Mom’s special time together. We’d have to go downstairs, cook, lime, party. My mom says we would watch shows but that was only once. Because my mom says she just couldn’t take any more of it that night.

I was not sleeping well at all and my mom was, like, we’re booking a flight to Miami! Because there was this sleep clinic and Dr Shahzeidi was one of the nicest doctors I have literally ever met! He was, like, “Jace, I’m going to medicate you!” Because I needed to sleep for at least five hours. So they could get through my whole sleep-cycle twice. They put stickers on my head, legs, cheek and neck and put wires on me. It was the worst! Even when I [went back to the hotel], my head was still sticking to things. If I put my head on a pillow, it stuck! Luckily I had a new toy I hadn’t opened yet, so that made me happy.

I was trying to play with my new toy in the hotel room in Miami but the toy didn’t work… and then I just crawled into bed and fell asleep. For the first time in my life, my mom and dad watched me fall asleep easily! And they hadn’t had breakfast. So, until after lunchtime, they just sat on two chairs in the hotel room, looking at one another, watching me, afraid to say a word. But I don’t think an express train would have woken me up.

The entrance to the clinic was in a mall. Surprise, surprise. The second time we went, my mom lost her way and I was, like, “Mom! The entrance is literally right there!” My mom is the worst at directions, literally no better than this glittery cupcake! A glittery purple cupcake could find an entrance in a mall faster than my mom!

My mom follows earthquakes. She’s a seismologist-nerd.

We were at the sleep clinic for three days and Dr Shahzeidi said, “Jace, you have insomnia!. I said, “Well, THAT explains a lot. Wait. What’s insomnia?” I still don’t really get what insomnia is but I get that it makes you not sleep a lot. Also, I don’t have it any more. I started sleeping better from that day. I had to have a sleeping plan.

I remember one night I woke up and, at that time, I was afraid of static. Not the static that makes your hair lift up, but the static that makes sparks. I was sleeping with a stuffed toy that was, like, FULL of static and it was going fzzzt-fzzzt-fzzzt.

It did NOT feel good not being able to sleep. Riding horses has helped me build up more confidence in myself because I have to be confident, to ride horses and not fall off. I’d lost confidence because I got defeated [by not sleeping]. I didn’t feel I could do stuff by myself anymore. Then I realised I had an illness that stopped me from sleeping.

I’ve been sleeping well on my own for 15 months now and it feels SO MUCH BETTER. I wake up and go, “Alleluia!” Sometimes my mom has to wake me up! And I pull the pillow over my head.

The other day, I woke up from a very, very long nap. It was weird. I’d forgotten things [from when I was awake].

My mom says part of the reason I can have a conversation with BC Pires now is because my rights and freedoms were protected from the time I was zilch years old. I wan’t forced or left alone or punished for my difficulty in falling asleep. I was always loved and supported through what was an illness, my mom says.

To me, a Trini can be a rainbow of colours. From my mom’s skin colour and hair, to mine, to Dad’s, to everyone. I find that’s cool ‘cause, if you go to a foreign place, you can’t say, “Oh, there’s a Trini!” You have to ask them!

Trinidad & Tobago, to me, means home. Because I was born and raised here. Also, Trinidad & Tobago means very good food. Pholouri! Doubles! Pelau! Water cress! My mom and I made doubles at home over covid but the bara came out HARD! Not thin and nice. And we didn’t have sweet sauce so we had to water-down tamarind sauce!


Non-Sleeping Beauty

Photographs by Mark Lyndersay

Picture courtesy Mark LyndersayMy name is Jace Marley Hutton and I’m eight years old and, for the last six years and ten months, I’ve not been sleeping, like, at all! But NOW I’m a champion sleeper.

Yes, my parents named me after Bob.

I have to say this about my horse-crazy self: I don’t have OCD but I have OHD; Obsessive Horse Disorder. I LOVE horses. When I was three, my mom gave me a “pony experience” as a birthday present. I was, like, oh my gosh, that is so cool! Cause I LOVE horses. And I got to groom the pony, ride the pony, and I was, like, I can’t give this up! But I did have to stop for a couple of years because: 1. I had other hobbies; and 2. the stables, Horses Helping Humans, were moving all the way up to Maracas Valley.

My other hobbies were: dance; swimming; aerial silks. Not aerial socks, BC Pires! Aerial SILKS! There’s nothing called aerial SOCKS! You hang from a big silk hammock and do flips. I also did rhythmics, rhythmic gymnastics. It’s like normal gymnastics, except you do it with hoops and apparatus and big ribbons.

Right now, I do school for, let’s say, one hour with my class teacher Amira Wignarajah on Tuesday. My main schooling has always been at home so my mom says lockdown didn’t present too much of a change for us. My mom says my teacher is life and myself. My mom says I teach myself and my mom facilitates my learning. My mom says it’s the concept of un-schooling, child-led, by the child’s interest. If a child is interested in horses, all learning comes from horses: you learn to research about horses, learn math from the horse, write stories about horses, the history & geography of horses.

We used to have a cat named Smalls who used to follow my dad around like a dog. I have a fish called SuperBlue. His actual name is Coral, though. We have a cat, ‘Bago. I call him Potato but my mom says he doesn’t respond to that because he doesn’t know it’s his name. But, one day, I will go, “Po-tay-toe!” And he’ll come running! And we have two pot hounds, Yara, who looks like a meerkat lemur, and Lucky, who looks like she’s supposed to be a seal. We rescued Yara from Yara River, sleeping by garbage! I was, like, awww! You should interview her, BC Pires! She would tell you a lot of things!

I like learning about history because history is about so many things. Most of all, I like learning about animals.

Picture courtesy Mark Lyndersay

When I grow up, I want to own, like, a GIANT pet centre. So I can play with pets all day long. With a stables for the horses. And a vet station. And somewhere where all the pets could dance, like a pet dance studio. With Pomeranians wearing little leg-warmers. And I’ll have all the employees and their parents in an apartment complex next to it, so they can walk to work.

I like Gabby’s Dollhouse, Spirit and Raven. They really don’t have any good horse shows on TV.

My favourite vegetable is watercress. That is SO good! But I like Chinese food, Mexican food and Japanese food best. That is my favourite! All three! I love wontons, tacos and sushi. And pows.

Horses give you messages. When I felt a twitch going down my horse’s spine, I thought, “Okay, that’s the message!” And the message from the other horse was, “I want to be part of the lesson, too! Don’t leave me out!”

My mom says that getting me to sleep was more work than her master’s degree. I wasn’t able to sleep at all unless my mom was there and it took two hours to get me to sleep for ten minutes. Basically, I was a miracle of nature. A miracle of nature. My mom says everybody made fun of my parents. People called my mom and dad “Shhhhh!” and “Don’t Talk Around the Child!”

I was diagnosed with paediatric insomnia when I was three. My mom says I had a trauma when I was five, when I licked out my front teeth. And my first acute insomnia episode happened exactly one year later. My mom says, “The body remembers trauma and always shows it”.

Picture courtesy Mark LyndersayOne year after I licked out my front teeth riding my scooter on a hill, my friend was riding on her bike on the same hill and she said, “Jace, follow me!” And I was, like, “Sofia, nooooo! Press your brakes!” But she was already rolling down that hill fast! Basically, that was a violation of every single safety hazard ever. Luckily, she wasn’t hurt on her face, just her leg, so she was fine. My mom says, the same trauma I felt a year before, I watched my friend do again a year later. The same NONSENSE! I stopped myself from falling but Sofia didn’t know how to.

All the years I wasn’t sleeping well, I just thought, “Well, there must be something wrong with me!” And I grew to live with it. Mom would put me in bed and have to stay long hours with me. After, like, two hours, I would doze off… and then wake back up! My mom had to set her work appointments for after 1pm.

My mom says that 2am-to-5am used to be Jace’s & Mom’s special time together. We’d have to go downstairs, cook, lime, party. My mom says we would watch shows but that was only once. Because my mom says she just couldn’t take any more of it that night.

I was not sleeping well at all and my mom was, like, we’re booking a flight to Miami! Because there was this sleep clinic and Dr Shahzeidi was one of the nicest doctors I have literally ever met! He was, like, “Jace, I’m going to medicate you!” Because I needed to sleep for at least five hours. So they could get through my whole sleep-cycle twice. They put stickers on my head, legs, cheek and neck and put wires on me. It was the worst! Even when I [went back to the hotel], my head was still sticking to things. If I put my head on a pillow, it stuck! Luckily I had a new toy I hadn’t opened yet, so that made me happy.

I was trying to play with my new toy in the hotel room in Miami but the toy didn’t work… and then I just crawled into bed and fell asleep. For the first time in my life, my mom and dad watched me fall asleep easily! And they hadn’t had breakfast. So, until after lunchtime, they just sat on two chairs in the hotel room, looking at one another, watching me, afraid to say a word. But I don’t think an express train would have woken me up.

The entrance to the clinic was in a mall. Surprise, surprise. The second time we went, my mom lost her way and I was, like, “Mom! The entrance is literally right there!” My mom is the worst at directions, literally no better than this glittery cupcake! A glittery purple cupcake could find an entrance in a mall faster than my mom!

My mom follows earthquakes. She’s a seismologist-nerd.

We were at the sleep clinic for three days and Dr Shahzeidi said, “Jace, you have insomnia!. I said, “Well, THAT explains a lot. Wait. What’s insomnia?” I still don’t really get what insomnia is but I get that it makes you not sleep a lot. Also, I don’t have it any more. I started sleeping better from that day. I had to have a sleeping plan.

I remember one night I woke up and, at that time, I was afraid of static. Not the static that makes your hair lift up, but the static that makes sparks. I was sleeping with a stuffed toy that was, like, FULL of static and it was going fzzzt-fzzzt-fzzzt.

It did NOT feel good not being able to sleep. Riding horses has helped me build up more confidence in myself because I have to be confident, to ride horses and not fall off. I’d lost confidence because I got defeated [by not sleeping]. I didn’t feel I could do stuff by myself anymore. Then I realised I had an illness that stopped me from sleeping.

I’ve been sleeping well on my own for 15 months now and it feels SO MUCH BETTER. I wake up and go, “Alleluia!” Sometimes my mom has to wake me up! And I pull the pillow over my head.

The other day, I woke up from a very, very long nap. It was weird. I’d forgotten things [from when I was awake].

My mom says part of the reason I can have a conversation with BC Pires now is because my rights and freedoms were protected from the time I was zilch years old. I wan’t forced or left alone or punished for my difficulty in falling asleep. I was always loved and supported through what was an illness, my mom says.

To me, a Trini can be a rainbow of colours. From my mom’s skin colour and hair, to mine, to Dad’s, to everyone. I find that’s cool ‘cause, if you go to a foreign place, you can’t say, “Oh, there’s a Trini!” You have to ask them!

Trinidad & Tobago, to me, means home. Because I was born and raised here. Also, Trinidad & Tobago means very good food. Pholouri! Doubles! Pelau! Water cress! My mom and I made doubles at home over covid but the bara came out HARD! Not thin and nice. And we didn’t have sweet sauce so we had to water-down tamarind sauce!