Sunday, October 2, 2011

Watch Out for Traffic and Falling Things!

Lately, Little Guy's sleeping habits have been all over the place. One day he'll take a normal nap (2pm-4pm), on others, he doesn't take a nap at all. Then there are those days that I think are no-nap days and he crashes on me around 6pm. Those are the tough ones because I never know if he'll stay asleep all night (rarely), or if he'll wake up at 9pm and decide that he's just had the most refreshing nap of all-time. And, his bedtimes change just as frequently. He might fall asleep at 11pm, midnight, 1am... I never know. And there's no rhyme or reason to it. It doesn't matter if he's had a nap, gone for a long walk, or eaten sugary foods. He's going through little growth spurts here and there and how much sleep he needs fluctuates daily.

Since he weaned himself, getting him to fall asleep has been very hard. Nothing like a little mama's milk to knock a kid out, ya know? I've resorted to making "bedtime tea" for him. We have a nice little variety of different teas with the main ingredients being chamomile, peppermint, and lemon balm. I add a little local honey for sweet-tooth appeal. This is usually enough to at least calm (read: quiet) him at night so my oldest can get some sleep - he's growing like a weed and gets up at 5:20am, 6 days a week. Plus there are the neighbors. Our walls are thin, so are the floors. These poor people have a bedroom that sits just below the living room (where our bed is) and their wall is on the other side of our stairwell. Every word echoes perfectly down the stairs and through the wall. The guy that lives down there gets up at 6am - I hear his alarm go off. So, it's very important to the harmony of our little duplex that Little Guy is quiet at least by 10pm.

Now, I have the luxury of being able to catch a nap with him if I happen to be so zonked from lack of sleep that I wouldn't be productive while he sleeps. (IF he naps.) So, I really don't feel the need to regulate his sleeping patterns. He'll even out... eventually. Right?!

Well, Friday night, he fell asleep at 7pm. I really wanted to go to bed early, so I enacted a strict "you must tip-toe and whisper" rule in the house. If he had been awoken at 9 or 10pm, I'd have been screwed. We made it to 11pm and I crawled into bed. That's when my husband decided he needed a snack. That man can make a dish towel crinkle like a bag of chips! He finally finished making his snack and ate it - while watching TV. Did I mention that we all have to suffer because he decided to spend his youth listening to ear-splittingly (no, I don't know if it's a real word) loud music? He finally hits the hay at 12:30am. Yeah, just as I fall asleep, the oldest wakes up freaked out from a weird dream and decides he has to tell me all about it. "Ummm hmmm... yeah? Yeah, that's really strange. Hey, don't you have to get up at 6 for cross country? G'night." Now it's going on 2am. Next thing I know, my eyes are being poked out by buzzards. No, wait... there's giggling. Yeah, guess who's awake and ready to roll?

"Mama, good mornin!"
"Oh, let's see if Thomas is on. I'll get you some milk and honey and you can watch Thomas while Mama wakes up."

I head to the kitchen, start the coffee, and mix him up some milk and honey. While the coffee's brewing, I pop in a Thomas DVD, hand him his drink, and crawl back into bed with him and lightly doze. Then I hear it. It's called Engine Roll Call. "They're 2, they're 4, they're 6, they're 8..." If you know Thomas, you know this song. Around here, it's the "Jumping Song". I brace myself for the full weight of a little body to come crashing down on me. Time to get up, I guess. At least the coffee's done!

Now, it's 5:15 on a Saturday morning. The poor guy downstairs finally gets a day to sleep in. Uh-uh. My very happy little one has decided to be a train... oh, and he's still jumping on the bed... which has squeaky springs.

"Hey, can you be a quiet train?" I'm whispering for effect. "It's very, very early and people are still sleeping. We need to be quiet so they can get their rest."
Big smile, then a test, "CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO..."
"Oh, come on! We really need to be quiet. Do you like it when people wake you up? Noooo. You get crabby when people are loud and make you wake up."

He actually sits down and watches another episode of Thomas! I get about half of that first cup of coffee down when he decides he wants to watch the "Truck Show". If you have a little one who loves trucks, trains, etc., then check out the "Lots and Lots...." series. They're amazing DVD's! So, I put the Truck Show into the DVD player and we sing a few of the songs. My eyes are open a little wider. The oldest has rolled out of bed and is getting his own "coffee" (a splash of coffee in a cup of warm Ovaltine

"HONK HONNNNNKKK! I a big Mack truck! HONNNNNK!" Oh no. Not again. He knew that the attention was focused elsewhere and went for it. My fault. Sigh...
"Oh, honey, please try to be a quiet truck. It's very important to be nice to the people downstairs and let them sleep."
"OK, Mama. I not be a truck." Hmm... that was easy!
"WEEEEE-OOOOOO! (repeat. over and over. and over)
"Shhhhh! Man... Look, you really have to be quiet. Look outside, the sun still isn't even awake yet. And I thought you said you weren't going to be a truck anymore."
Bemused look on Little Guy's face, "Oh, Mama! I not truck! I firetruck! WEEEEE-OOOOOO! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
"I'm sorry, honey. You really just cannot be a firetruck yet. Firetrucks are very loud and we can't be loud right now, remember?"
"Oh, I fordot. I be a diff'rent thing."
"OK, think of something that's quiet, please."
"WEEEEE-OOOO! WEEEEE-OOOOO!" As I go over to have yet another talk, he quickly says, "I not firetruck, Mama! I bein' a amblalance! Ha ha ha ha!" Yeah, he got me. Silly, silly boy.

It went on like that forever. We finally decided on pretending to be things like fish and elevators. Quiet things. It's not easy to think of quiet things to imitate on just a few hours of sleep and not even a full cup of coffee. I used to get so frustrated over this kind of thing. I used to assume that he was trying to get on my nerves. Just pushing my buttons. But, I know that he's just happy. He wants to express that happiness and he does it by imitating his favorite thing - mainly, anything on wheels - traffic. I used to just shush him, threaten to turn off his show, slam things around (like THAT was showing him how to be quiet!) All he wanted was a little mama time. And, once I got into trying to find things to imitate that are quiet, he calmed right down and played along with me. Even the teen stepped in and pretended to be a chocolate chip cookie on a plate while I ran to the bathroom! There was no power struggle - if he detects one, all bets are off and he will win or we'll have a very, very loud and angry tantrum going on. And who wants to start their very early day on that kind of note? Not me!

I'd rather start my day 
as a tall tree whose leaves 
are being blown away 
by the autumn wind.