Wednesday, June 25, 2008

So Where Are The Magic Poppies When I Need Them?

Today, after I dropped Francie and Fiver at VBS, I went a-visitin'.

I was so happy to have somewhere to go this morning other than back to my own home. It is much easier to ignore your laundry when you are not actually in the presence of your laundry.

Plus, it was easier to stop Sally from crying over not being allowed to stay at VBS when I could tell her we were going to see Mrs. C, who happens to be one of her favorite people. There is nothing like a two year old screaming like she is being scalded alive in the vestibule of the church to make little children feel welcome.

It has the same effect as Kumbaya, I think.

We got to my friend's house around 9:45 and she greeted us happily and quietly. Why? Because her children were still in bed. Sleeping. Her children who are not teenagers. Asleep. In their own beds. Not milling around her and begging for food. Not bickering or playing tag around the dining room table. Not following her with a deck of cards saying, "Now? Is it time for Go Fish now? Are you ready now? For Go Fish? Now?"

She apologized and said that they had been out late at their grandmother's house the night before. She was just letting them sleep and getting some housework done. It seemed that she was a little nervous that I would think she was making the wrong decision in letting them sleep.

So what was I really thinking? One thing:

HOW!?!?! How do people get their kids to sleep in because I want to know. Stat.

For their whole lives, all of my children have been early risers. I'm talking crack of dawn early.

I consider it a late start if my kids are rolling out of bed at 7. Even Sally, my occasional late riser, is often only the last one up because she is still contained in a crib.

I'm starting to think it must be encoded into their DNA because we cannot seem to alter their waking habits in any way. We have darkened their rooms with double layers of shades and curtains. We have given them a certain time before which they are not allowed to leave bed. We have let them sleep in a nest on the floor of our room if it will just keep them quiet.

The biggest culprit is Fiver. I haven't used an alarm clock in years because I can count on Fiver standing next to my head every morning before 5:30. Sometimes he calls my name, sometimes he just stands there and waits until I sense his presence and refuse sleep just to gaze upon him. That's still creepy, even a hundred times later, my friends.

Now some people who know our routine will say, But Aimee, you must admit that your children go to bed super early. You can't expect them to sleep late on that schedule.

I freely admit that my kids are in bed early. They are easily the earliest to bed of all their friends and relatives. Fiver and Sally are in bed by 7 pm, and they are usually asleep by 7:30. Francie goes in to bed by 8 pm, although she reads in bed for a little while before she actually sleeps.

But this is key: We have tried the keeping them up so they will sleep later routine and it doesn't work. They wake up at the same time, only crabbier. Just last week we went to my parents' church carnival and we did not get home until 10:45. Want to guess what time Fiver was up? Here's a hint: it was before 7 am.

I am pretty resigned to being an early riser for now, but I am interested to know what it's like in your house. Do you have night owls who are late sleepers? Or are do you have a house of early-to-bed, early-to-risers?

And is there anything I've missed? Besides, you know, pharmaceuticals? Or magic?


  1. Anonymous6:02 AM

    My children fancy themselves farmers as well. Clingmonkey is usually asleep by 6:30 now that she has given up naps. I have never once woken my kids up for school. Never.

    Your suffering is not alone. But thank goodness, I can watch my trash tv in peace at night.

  2. Anonymous7:55 AM

    I am beginning to think we were seperated at birth! :) My children are early risers as well! With baby taking the earliest shift at 5:30 on the dot! I do have one that will sleep till 8:00 on a good day, but all the rest are up at the crack of dawn so it doesn't really help. My 11 year old even asked to start staying up later like his friends, but he gets up so early that usually he just asks to go to bed the same time as all the rest!

  3. My kids were never good sleepers when they were little. Little Brother still isn't. And if we keep him up late, he's up THAT MUCH EARLIER the next day! GRRRR!!!!
    We also have the problem with the 10-year age spread, since Little Brother wants to stay up as long as the Big Kids do, and he will fight, fight, fight to stay awake. On a good day, bedtime for him is 8:45 (and he's 6). On a school day, he has to be up at 6:30. The doctor said that some kids just don't need that much sleep. I wanted to strangle the guy. Some parents DO need that much sleep, and I am one of them!!

  4. My kids sleep until about 7:00, 7:15. Sometimes they have stayed in bed until 8:00, but no later. We put them to bed between 8:30 and 9:00 in the summer. The boys still nap, so that doesn't seem to be too late of a bedtime. There is no magic solution that I am aware of, unfortunately. All I can say is keep dreaming of the days when they can get up and make their own breakfast and turn on the TV and not need you first thing. That day will come, or so I'm told. :)

  5. Aim, my monkeys don't achieve sleep until 9:30 or 10:00 lately (darn you daylight savings time!) and then they get up at 6:30 or 7. And the boys haven't napped since they were 2! And Curly Sue's naps are getting shorter and shorter.

    My dad says I need to get out the rubber mallet. Some days, I think he's right. It's a good thing we don't own a rubber mallet. :)

  6. WIsh I could help out. My kids are all split - one is an early riser and the rest are sleepers. I don't know how 2 night owls could make an early riser, but hey! Curly Girl sure is...

  7. Anonymous1:20 PM

    I'm a little afraid to tell you about Princess Sleepy Head's habits because you know how to find me and there is not secret. She has always been a sleepy head. From day one.

    Normal bed time: in bed 8:30 asleep by 9 PM

    Normal wake up: 6:30-7AM

    But if she stays up late she'll just sleep in. Or if I wake her up early she'll steal naps in the car to catch up.

    If I knew the secret to achieving this I would pass it on, after using it on our dog that wakes up at the crack of dawn every. day. since. he. was. a. pup.

  8. I do believe that it must be a DNA thing. My mom yelled at me for the longest time that my kids were up too early because I put them to bed early. We kept them up LATE one entire summer only to have them get up early anyway. We were all miserable. I put them to bed early for everyone's sanity.

  9. i've got one of each....SmartyPants is a late sleeper. Getting her to GO to bed is always a struggle, but if i give in to a few chapters of the ol book she usually gives in.
    WiseGuy is an early riser. He's up before the rest of the house most days. He also EASILY goes to bed at night, often putting himself in around 8 or 8:30. We generally yoink him into bed with us if he is up too early and steal a few more winks that way.


Go ahead and say it. You know you want to.