She Says… “Mommy, I’m Hungry”

Remember when we tried the clock that lights up at the right time when your kid is allowed to get out of bed? Well, the first time we tried it, it was a total bust. Owen got totally stressed out anticipating the clock and it actually caused him to wake up earlier rather than sleep in later. (Ya think he inherited his mother’s Type A-ness much?!). At that point I gave him the option of what he wanted to do with the clock and he definitively told me to take it out of his room.

Since then we’ve introduced the big boy bed, and he’s doing GREAT. He stays in his bed all night and still calls for me in the morning (even though he’s perfectly capable of getting out of bed). When he and Benjamin were away the other weekend he did NOT do so well, but at home? At home he’s an angel. He’s still getting up earlier than he used to, but at this point I think this was a natural shift and not necessarily bed-related. That said, it seems unfair to continually tell him, “It’s not time to get up yet” if he has no way of gauging what time is actually is in the morning.

So Benjamin and I decided to give the clock another try.

This time the clock seems to be working much, much better. In the beginning I set it earlier than I’d like to wake up, but closer to the time he’s actually waking up so that he could “win” for the first week or so and wake up about the time the clock turned green. Depending on the day I’ve adjusted the clock accordingly (based on when he goes to bed or when we need to be out of the house in the morning). He’s still done a bit of complaining starting at 5am, but I haven’t gone in or talked to him through the monitor since we got the clock, so that he knows the clock is the bottom line. If it’s not green, it’s not time to wake up. So far, so good!

But the last two days I’ve heard a new early morning complaint. “I’m hungry!”. The first night it was 4am and I think he was talking/crying in his sleep. But he kept saying, “Mommy, I’m so hungry!” and then fell back asleep. I’m not surprised. He didn’t eat much dinner that night. But still, I wasn’t going to start a new midnight eating habit, so I had to wait it out. The next day it was 5am, but the same message. “I’m huuuuuungry!”. He whined for a few minutes (awake this time, I think) and then fell back asleep.

I know the kid is not starving. But I also know he’s really not eating a lot of dinner these days. I’m not totally sure what the issue is. Has he not liked dinner the last few nights? Has he eaten too many snacks so he wasn’t hungry at the right time? Is he going through a growth spurt? Does he just want to play instead of eat? Unsure. But whatever it is, I hope it passes soon. His cries of “I’m hungry” are pulling at my heart strings.

And, at 35 weeks pregnant, I can relate. I’m hungry then too.



3 responses to “She Says… “Mommy, I’m Hungry”

  1. I soooo feel you, Kate. I don’t blame you for not wanting to create the habit, but you also feel bad. Good thing is he IS going back to sleep. Lately before bed (also big girl bed now), Maya has been asking for milk. Not water or anything else, specifically: milk. She doesn’t eat a ton at dinner but she usually eats most of what we give her .. and her meals at school are quite substantial so I haven’t given in … but was wondering, maybe it’s a growth spurt for them? (Maya never experienced true spurts … she’s grown slowly and small all along … but maybe now she is?).

    Hang in there!

  2. Give him milk before bed to help you at least know he’s shouldn’t be hungry hungry. Also, if my kid won’t eat her dinner, I do let her eat as much fruit as she wants for “dessert” so I know she’s not running on empty.

    Or just leave an unwrapped granola bar on his nightstand next to the bed and let him fend for himself at 4am 🙂

  3. @lissa, I agree about daycare meals. He eats so much there that I really don’t worry about food intake in general. Could definitely be a growth spurt! Owen has always had very distinct spurts. A few days of crankiness/feeling off, then a few days of eating like a vacuum cleaner. Then highwater pants 🙂

    @Kara, I like the granola bar trick. See if he can sniff if out 🙂 I don’t want to offer him fruit or anything else if he’s not eating his dinner. If I were him I’d never eat dinner and just wait for fruit. Not a habit I’m trying to instill (since he eats an inordinate amount of fruit the rest of the day). We talked a lot about how food is fuel and he ate a much better dinner last night. He’ll figure it out, I’m sure.

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