Monday, November 7, 2011

An experiment

I should warn you, this doesn't end well.

Shira's not sleeping again.

I should clarify: she's not sleeping between the hours of 4:00 am and 7:00 pm, with the exception of an afternoon nap (which I am not usually around to enjoy, stupid job). Why is sleep so complicated for young children? It's a lovely thing, I tell them. I tell them this a lot.

The Children have always been early risers. These are the kind of children I grow, it turns out. Alyce was up at 5:00 am for two years at least, every single morning. Her little face was always bright and ready to start the day no matter what strategies we tried. No matter what time we tucked her in for bed the night before, no matter how much we let her cry or not cry, no matter her nap schedule, Alyce would get up before the sun. After fighting with her about it for a few months, we decided to give in to her demands for the sake of some peace in the house. We got used to early bedtimes and the free evenings that came with them. Honestly, I think I even started to think 5 am wasn't so bad.

We weren't really surprised when Shira took after her sister. We might have held onto a few ounces of hope in the beginning, but we didn't really fight against it when it became clear that she, too, was eager to start the day before the sun. And don't tell Matt, but I actually love being up with Shira early in the morning, just the two of us. Especially now that I'm going to work every day, our mornings together can be quite lovely. We sneak downstairs after having some milk in bed, she toodles around the living room and kitchen showing me all her toys while I make coffee and start the oatmeal, and we slowly start the day.

But before you start thinking that I've completely lost it, let me reassure you that even I have my limits. When Shira started waking up at 4:00 am last week, yes, 4:00 am, I quickly changed my tune. 4:00 am is clearly still night time, not the morning. There are no roosters at 4:00 am because they are all still in bed. Starting the day at 4:00 am is just simply a terrible, impossible idea.

After three days of this, three days of hoping and praying that she'd fall back asleep, we thought we'd get this under control. Are you laughing yet? Me too. On Saturday night we decided that we'd keep The Children up late and "force" them to sleep in just a bit longer. Because if Shira went to bed at nine instead of six, surely she'd sleep in until at least five, right? (Yes, I just typed that sentence. It's all about perspective, isn't it?) We are such fools. Of course it wouldn't work. We know that sleep begets sleep and that a tired baby is more likely to wake up early and even more tired. But we are tired fools, and willing to try anything. Did I mention that we had to also put the clocks back that night? Are you pointing and laughing at us yet?

Shira didn't wake up at 4:00 am on Sunday. She got up at 3:30.

Why do we do such silly things?

P.S. Hope you slept better than we did. You'll need all that energy to babysit The Children this weekend so Matt and I can get some sleep.


  1. Alas, the putting to bed late thing has never worked for us just somehow makes them get up earlier! I hope you find some rest soon and that the girls feel better too :)

  2. aww that is hard.
    I am scared for when I go back to work, as Tao still gets up at 1 for a feed, and 4am he wants to come in our bed were he will sleep off and on until 6am......
    why can't we just get mat leave until they go to school?
    I say we start a facebook petition for longer mat leave...I mean the government will pay for daycare for people, why not let the moms have that money so they can be home.

  3. This too shall pass. I promise, promise, PROMISE she won't always get up in the middle of the night.

    Does she go to sleep on her own or do you put her down asleep?