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?