Essential oils

My children have become essential oil aficionados — and by complete accident.

I had absolutely no intention of succumbing to the oil craze. But then, one day, our home had not one but two diffusers, and a budding apothecary of scents and potions for the kids to shop.

How did this happen? The credit falls completely on my best friend, Andrea. She is one of many “essential oil” friends. We all have at least one; that person in your life whose home always smells amazing, and any ache or ailment has a corresponding all-natural topical elixir to combat it. Andrea has been championing the benefits of essential oils to me for years and, until recently, those words have fallen on deaf ears.

Then Christmas rolled around, and under the tree was a wrapped gift from my dear friend containing a modestly sized starter diffuser and a vial of oil formulated to help with sleep. It took me two months to get my act together and set things up on my nightstand table, where it lived for all of about 60 minutes.

This wasn’t because I was adverse to its aroma or the subtle glow from its kaleidoscope of LED lights. No, one hour is about how long it took for my 9-year-old son, Declan, to notice it at my bedside, decide he wanted it for his very own and then whisk it off to the bedroom lair he and his sister share.

Since then, he has made the “smelly lamp” part of his bedtime ritual. But what was intended to bring harmony to the nighttime routine quickly met a bump in the road in the form of his younger sister.

My 7-year-old daughter, Mara, is a very keen observer when it comes to sibling equity. I should have foreseen her brother getting a shiny new bedtime device as something that would get her undivided attention. But, of course, it didn’t occur to me because I didn’t give Declan the diffuser and intentionally exclude Mara. He took my diffuser and made it his own.

If anyone should have a gripe in this scenario, it’s me.

Unbeknown to my husband or I, a battle was brewing each night after we closed the kids’ bedroom door. Like any red-blooded older child, Declan was lording the fact that it was his oil diffuser, and was refusing to share the smell wealth.

Then, one night while Peter and I were downstairs, we heard a long, drawn-out scraping noise from upstairs that sounded like the ceiling was being torn apart. I rushed to find the source of the commotion and, upon opening the kids’ bedroom door, I found it.

After days of being rebuffed, Mara had taken it upon herself to solve the problem by dragging her twin-size bed — frame and all — to the more fragrant side of the room. When asked for an explanation for the furniture re-arranging, it opened up the floodgates on their nightly bickering. Mara then laid out her case for getting a diffuser of her very own.

And so, using a gift card from her birthday, I told Mara I would order her a diffuser, and some new scents to boot. I don’t know if it’s the satisfaction of getting her way or the soporific benefits of lavender oil, but Mara has been fast asleep well before lights out since she got her very own smelly lamp.

Maybe I should look into the essential oil that remedies sibling rivalry.

Molly Cavanaugh of Channel 94.1 FM’s “Big Party Show” in Omaha is a mom to two children living in Chicago. She writes weekly for

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