My three-year-old isn’t understanding the concept of waiting until dawn to get out of bed.
I’ve never liked getting out of bed early. I slept up to 18 hours straight most weekends in my teens and twenties. My mother used to tell me she’d wake me a lot as an infant because I slept so soundly for so long that she would worry. My dream job doesn’t start until 10 or 11 am. If I could sleep 12 uninterrupted hours a day, I would.
For the longest time, the Angel would sleep 12 uninterrupted hours each night.
It was glorious.
I was stupid enough to brag about it.
All the changes our family has seen in the last year (birth of the Handsome Boy, renovating a couple rooms, family drama, toilet training, moving the Angel out of her crib, family drama, and such) has led to a change in everyone’s sleep patterns.
Now, the Angel gets up whenever she thinks she is done sleeping, whether that be at an accommodating 7:13 am or the hellacious time of 5:50 am.
I don’t function well without the sun being fully bright in the sky.
What we did for a bit was this:
The BHE would rise very early for work. The Handsome Rover would wake and I’d bring him to bed to snuggle with me. Shortly after, the Angel would come in and join the snuggling.
With requests for water. And turning on lights. And watching YouTube on my phone. And getting a popsicle. Now.
So I’d be cranky, rushing through dressing myself and the kids, before rushing us down the stairs to give her a popsicle for some quiet while I threw together a breakfast that the boy was screaming for (because if a tired infant isn’t getting the sleep he needs, you best be feeding him). Somewhere in all of that, I’d probably blow a fuse or two and eventually use what the Angel calls my “angry words.”
Then things started changing even more and for the worse in her little world. Her grandfather became grievously injured after falling off a ladder (he’s recovering well and should be leaving the rehab facility in another week). This meant that her daddy was gone a lot, driving to the city over an hour away to visit and talk to nurses, missing dinner, going more than 48 hours without seeing her, being stressed and needing to have “important talks” with mommy instead of her, and not being the daddy she was used to having.
This was such an upset to her little world! I didn’t see it at first, but her incessant requests for more of this and that, especially my full attention, were a direct result of her brain telling her she needed to latch onto me so she wouldn’t lose both parents. Her mind couldn’t see the temporary situation for what it was. Her mind didn’t want her to lose any more.
But it made me lose my mind! I couldn’t readjust to her new demands, just assumed she was going through some new phase that was a pain in my ass.
The morning she asked to have a tea party with me, and just me, sorta rang a small bell in my head. I got the boy back into his crib, where he slept for an extra 30 minutes, and crept downstairs to make a pot of tea. Sipping the tepid green tea with too much sugar because I let the Angel doctor it, I was given a bleary-eyed glimpse of what my darling daughter needed.
There can be a lot said about routines and rituals in the lives of developing persons. Here, though, I will say that my daughter needed uninterrupted time with at least one of her parents in order to feel comfortable going through her day. We had to develop a new routine, create our own morning ritual.
Too much upheaval was causing the worst behavior I’ve seen in her. And it was pulling the worst behavior out of me in response.
Until the small bell turned into a clanging gong.
I’m trying, folks, I am. Parenting is hard. I’m giving it all I got, though.
What we do now is this:
The BHE rises very early for work. When the boy wakes, I snuggle and nurse him then put his sleeping body back in the crib. I doze until the Angel wakes and comes into our room. Then I whisk her downstairs as quietly as possible so we can make and sip our tea, uninterrupted, just the two of us. When the Handsome Rover wakes for the day, she helps me clean up our little tea set and we both climb the stairs to start the old routine.
Well, minus the blown fuses and angry words.