Oh, friends. So much to catch you up on, once again, and no time to do it. I have been starting my days too early (more to come on this later) and burning the midnight oil working for the last few weeks/months straight, and I’m burnt out. BURNT. OUT. The end is in sight, but I’m still a few weeks from becoming a normal human being again; which in turn means that this blog is a few weeks from being regularly tended. But I’ll be back, yo. Soon.
In the meantime we are back in a phase of early wake-ups thanks to a little 3.5 year old alarm clock who sometimes goes by the name “Owen”. I’ve been doing this parenting thing long enough to realize that everything is a phase (EVERYTHING), so I’m doing my best to just ride it out. But man, when I turn off my laptop at 11:30pm and then hear cries/the pitter patter of little feet/doors slamming/toilets flushing at 4:30am, it makes me a little bit cranky.
And by a little bit cranky I mean a lot.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Remember when we got the “OK to Wake” clock? And then we went through a phase when it had to be removed from his room because he was too anxious/excited about it turning green and it was actually causing him to wake up earlier? We made it through that phase after a while and the clock went back in his room. It worked beautifully until a few weeks ago when the same thing started happening. He nudged the “rules”. He began asking if he could wake up “a little earlier” to read books before his light turned green. Or he would get up at 5am to go pee and then hear cars outside and make the logical assumption that since other people were awake, that it was time to wake up. And his clock was about to turn green. And then his active little body could only sit still or “read books” for so long, and he was popping out of his bed, slamming doors, running down the hallway to peek under our door to see if our light was on, etc. For some reason, the clock has made him ask more questions than having no clock at all. And now that he has some understanding of time and how to tell time, NOT having the clock seems to leave him confused and anxious as well.
Inevitably these early morning shenanigans have woken up Emmett, and despite our best efforts (demands) for everyone to stay in their room and quiet until “the light turns green” (we still have never given in to going downstairs before the clock turns green), we’re in a dark, dark place filled with 4am potty trips and crying and negotiations/deal-making.
On one hand I wonder if he’s currently getting too much sleep. He goes to bed at 7:30pm and is almost always asleep by 7:45pm. He’s exhausted at this point and I really can’t see forcing him to stay up any later. He’s also still napping during the day (usually 2.5 hours, but recently I’ve cut it back to 2). Again, he’s usually exhausted midday and still crumbles to pieces if he misses his nap (and HELLO! I love and need those 2 hours of him napping as much as he needs them sleeping), so I can’t see doing away with it quite yet. In the past, MORE SLEEP has always beget MORE SLEEP for him. So I hesitate to change his schedule and take away sleep if what he really needs is more sleep. With Owen, more sleep has pretty much always been the cure for… everything. But it certainly seems like his body is ready to get up for the day at 5:00am on average. And that’s just a wee bit too early for me.
On the other hand, I wonder if some of these issues are stemming from a yearning to understand time and how to tell it. I wonder if giving him more information about time will help, or hurt. I really don’t know, and I don’t know what a 3.5 year old can really grasp or understand.
It’s a good thing he’s so darn CUTE.
That’s his outfit for “Fancy Day” (his school’s alternative to Valentine’s Day) that he chose all by himself. No, he wouldn’t let us iron his pants.
I’m sure the sleep thing will pass, and one day when he’s a teenager and I can’t, for the life of me, wake him up to get him to school, I’m sure I will look back on this and laugh. Given the millions of other things that are battling for my attention right now, I am trying not to waste too much brain space on stressing about an issue that I have very little control over. But seriously? I would like some SLEEP.
Tips? Thoughts? Helpful tactics you have used? We already do ALL of the sleep tips like totally dark room (we have sliding shutters that seal out the sunlight like he’s locked in a windowless jail), sound machine, etc. Should I just abandon all “rules” and let the kid wake up whenever he wants? Honestly, I would consider that if he could do it without waking anyone else up, but I’m not sure that’s possible…