Today, my son woke up at 7:20. Compared to his normal 5:30 to 6:00 and early times of 4:30, this was paradise. We keep hoping that the later times are an indication of a new pattern, but that is just wishful thinking. It is just a mystery with so many variables that Sherlock Holmes himself would have a hard time figuring it out. It is just nice when we get a reprieve like this morning.
Tag Archives: sleep
Sunday’s trip to Somerville Open Studios and Monday’s bike lessons were both great plans. My daughter was so excited to do both, but my son, evidently, was not. He slept and slept and slept. His three to four hour naps meant that the bigger plans had to be scrapped in favor of little things around the house or neighborhood. I imagine that he is working something out developmentally. He has been walking far more to the day’s activities, as well, so it might be just processing this change both physically and mentally.
Six days a week, I get up with my children when they get up. My son is the early riser, and he usually asserts his wakefulness on the rest of us between 5:30 and 6:00. We tried for a while to have him go until 7:00, but his screaming and kicking the wall just didn’t fade, so I go into the kids’ room, get him out of bed and offer my daughter the choice to catch a bit more sleep or to come downstairs with us. Usually she chooses to come downstairs. Depending on the day I either sink into punctuated oblivion on the couch or gear up to get out the door for work.
Saturday is the one day that I don’t get up with the kids. My wife, who is not a morning person, gets up with them after I let her know they are awake. She then gets them downstairs and lets me have the morning off. Often, I am not able to get back to sleep, but the break from being on in the morning is welcome. This Saturday, I drifted between crazy daydreams and children screams. My daughter was over-excited because her birthday celebration was happening, and both kids were wound up with my mom’s visit and departure and my father-in-law’s visit. Both were showing their excitement quite clearly and loudly. I need to find a better use of that time than pretending to sleep.
…Have them join you. We have tried to establish a 7:00 start to the day with our kids. My daughter will sleep until 7:00 or later some days if given a chance, but our human-powered alarm clock won’t let her or anyone else in the house sleep that late. He has been more and more insistent about getting attention as early as 5:30 in the morning. This starts with the dropping of the pacifier on the wood floor, escalates through talking and singing, and reaches a sustained apogee with screaming and kicking the wall. I tried, a while ago, to move his bed away from the wall, but that resulted in him falling out. Finally, I decided to get up with him on Thursday morning to at least give my wife and daughter a chance to sleep in. Of course he chose to get up on the earliest side of his range, so I was groggily trying to change him, feed him, and recline on the sofa while he tried to engage me in games at 5:30 in the morning. I will do this again, but I also moved his bed away from the wall again. We’ll see how this goes on a morning when I am actually trying to get myself out the door.
My family has a deep history of making the night exciting. My mom would emit the most eerie ghost sounds that were the result of screaming in her nightmares. Needless to say, it scared the bejeebers out of us kids. One memorable night, my mom and at least one of my sisters were in the hallway outside all of our bedrooms all screaming having terrified each other. My mom also would wake with a start and voice her fears. One camping trip, this led to a major part of the campground being woken up to, “Jim (my dad), there’s someone outside our tent,” uttered in a voice of pure fear and anguish.
My dad’s contribution to the family excitement is the clear and decisive pronouncement of gibberish. The words make sense. They are sentences, but they don’t hold up to the light of day. What it does is leave the poor recipient of these pearls of wisdom to stay up wondering what they meant.
One of my sisters has inherited my mom’s fear reaction, and on a trip to San Diego ended up shutting me in a room that she thought had a vicious animal. Whether it was the bear or dog that we joke about after the fact, the event itself was clear proof that these traits can be inherited.
I seem to have gotten my dad’s gift. To a former girlfriend, I once pronounce, “You are worth a million burning bushes,” and promptly fell back asleep. When confronted with this in the morning, I had no recollection nor idea what it meant.
In the midst of both of my children having nightmares on Saturday night, my daughter awoke at one point and exclaimed, “Why is there no pencil sharpener in this room?” Ah, good to know the family talents are being kept alive.
Sunday started at 5:00 in the morning. My son has taken to waking up then regardless of how dark it is outside or how asleep the rest of the house is. He is convinced it is time to get up. I pulled him from the room before he could wake my daughter and put her in a grumpy mood for the day. We quietly went downstairs where I gave him some milk and cereal and pondered a day starting at 5:00. I just wasn’t ready for that, so I made him a “bed” on the carpet. I put a blanket and pillow down and asked him to lie down. He did, and I put another blanket over him while telling him that the clock had not yet turned green. We have a clock in the kids’ room that turns green at 7:00, our hoped for wake up time. It was still yellow, so I told my son yellow means sleep some more. He did not sleep, but he did get into the idea of resting. He rested in the makeshift bed, he rested on the armchair, he rested his head on my legs, he rested all over the place. I think this is a step in the right direction.
In these northern latitudes, going off daylight savings means that at this time of year the sun sets around 4:30 and will get earlier for a while yet. By December 20th, sunset will happen at 4:14. I spent a little time on Time and Date to see the data in chart form. Right now we lose about a minute and a half of daylight each day.
Somehow these numbers do not illuminate the tipping point where it just feels way too dark too early. That happened for me on Saturday. I was returning from moving out the old bookshelves from our major rearrangement and refurnishing of offices and playrooms, and it was dark in a way that made me feel like it was 8:00 PM.
So how do we make our kids feel like it is late afternoon rather than time to crash? On Saturday, we invited some friends over for dinner and ordered out pizza. One and a half crazy hours later, we were ready for bed, and it was a reasonable time to be putting the kids down. The day was saved.