Remember that “day in the life” feature, where Kveller contributing editors were writing their “typical” days so as to reveal “how we do it?” Well, I decided to try my hand at writing one–and then I quit. I quit because everything that happens in my house BEFORE SEVEN F*CKING AM TOOK OVER ONE SINGLE-SPACED PAGE. It was then I realized that I need help. Specifically, your help.
To the outside world, I may seem like I have my proverbial shit comparatively together. I’m happily married, I have four healthy and terrific kids, I’m pregnant with another girl due this fall, and am a generally grateful person. And yes, it’s true, things are pretty great around here.
Is it too much to ask that all that greatness not start before 6 a.m.?
But I’ll ask anyway.
See, I just got back from a week’s vacation away with my husband–the boys stayed with their dad, the girls stayed with my parents. And it was amazing. I missed the kids very much, and my husband and I spent lots of time talking about how much we love them, how cute they are, etc. But you know when I didn’t miss those kids? At 5 a.m. BECAUSE I WAS SLEEPING, LIKE A NORMAL PERSON.
In fairness, not all the kids are the problem. The two boys, going into third and fourth grade, are just crossing over to that point where they are tired from all of their growing and want to sleep late. Even the baby is a champ: she sleeps from 6:30 p.m. or so through the night (pu pu pu, amiright Lili Kalisch Gersch?), and if she isn’t disturbed by anyone, will wake up around 6:15 a.m., a completely legitimate time for a baby to get up.
You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned one child.
G, newly-minted 2-year-old extraordinaire, is a delight. She has a lot of personality. That personality makes our days full of joy. Apparently there is just too much joy to be contained during the day, and it needs to emerge during the night as well–and, 100% of the time, it comes out before the first rays of dawn.
And I can’t take it anymore. I have started actually talking to myself–out loud–as I drive my car, getting angry with random strangers, and other behaviors that belong more to people struggling with sanity than they ever previously did to me.
Night sleep is really okay. She goes to bed between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., and until around 2:30 or so, all is good. Then we sometimes get paged between 2:30 and 4:30: “Daddy? DADDY? DADDY?” (Always “Daddy,” never “Mommy.” Somehow she knows that I would not be at my best at those times. Clever girl.) He goes in and goes through the usual: “It’s nighttime, you need your sleep, we love you, we’re right next to you, go to sleep sweetie, here’s your blanket,” blah blah blah. She goes back to bed.
Sometimes it starts again at 4:30. Other times she waits a bit, but never past 5:15: “DADDY? DADDY? DADDY? DADDY?”
This “DADDY?” calling is at a very high volume. So high, in fact, that it not only wakes us up, but the other children as well. Usually the most innocent of the group, the baby, bears the brunt of the wakeup call.
WHAT DO WE DO? “Cry it out,” people have said to me, including our pediatrician. “How long?” I asked. “Let her just keep yelling till 7,” my pediatrician said. Seriously? I’m not sure that I really conveyed to our pediatrician just how determined this little girl is…or how much sound apparently carries in our old house.
There are times when I think, “Well, this is just part of being a parent–I happen to have one kid who is a pathologically early riser.” But then I think of how I really don’t like having to go to bed right after my elementary school kids in order to be functional during the day. Oh, and as I mentioned before, I’m pregnant–so I’m more tired than I usually would be (being of Advanced Maternal Age and all) from my day with work and four kids. I am also pretty convinced that when this kid pops out, my nights are going to be pretty brutal, and therefore I should get sleep when I can. Which should be now.