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Too Dang Early

In a perfect world, my kids will sleep like angels from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Disclosure: This is not an advice post about what to do if your kids wake up too early. This is a vent post about the fact that my kids are waking up too dang early. I have listed solutions that I have tried, but have not worked.

Daylight Savings Time fall back is not agreeing with my children. For most adults, we prefer to fall back because it typically means, “Yay! I get an extra hour of sleep!” I used to love to fall back, especially as work intensified at school. October/November tends to be normally stressful for teachers because it marks the start of crunch time for midyear exams. Anyways, try as I might, explaining to my children that they get to sleep an extra hour is fruitless. 

“Sleep? Why would I want to sleep? I want to PLAY!” their actions scream.

Their evening/bedtime routine is (or was before the Daylight Savings this year) dinner at 5, turns taking baths (the one not bathing enjoys one-on-one daddy-daughter time), read books, snuggles on the couch as a family, and at 7:30 p.m., I take whoever looks sleepiest up the bedroom to rock and put to bed. I’ve found that taking both of them isn’t ideal because, like siblings, they’ll try to annoy one another while we’re rocking for bed which can sometimes generate a second wind. If Andy has a late-night, that’s unavoidable, but luckily, that’s usually on Thursdays. On a good night, I return downstairs with kid number one sleeping soundly in bed to find kid number two snoring softly in Daddy’s arms. By 8 p.m., both kids are down and wake up between 5 to 6. Early, yes, but okay for us. 

The 4 a.m. wake up is not okay. For me, 4 a.m. is my favorite time of the day because I love my hour of solitude to write, sip my coffee, pray, and meditate. With the kids waking up at 4, that eliminates my morning routine. Me getting up at 3 for an hour of quiet alone time is simply too early, even if I end up falling asleep with the kids.

The obvious solution, I think, is to keep the kids up later than 7:30 p.m. Sometimes, they simply can’t stay up after 7:30 p.m. 

Maggie’s seizures will sometimes jack up bedtime, like last night. Most of Maggie’s seizures tend to be in the morning. Not always but sometimes, she will fall asleep afterward. I have no earthly idea what she feels having never had a seizure myself. Since she’s nonverbal, she can’t tell me so I all I can go off are inferences based on behavior. I imagine the seizures exhaust her. If she falls asleep in the late evening, it is extremely difficult to get her to go to sleep at bedtime. She will bounce around after recovery as if she’s had a couple of shots of Cuban coffee making it difficult for Hazel to fall asleep if I’m putting the kids down on my own. 

Other solutions that I have found are:

  • Getting an alarm clock and taping over the minutes with the hour I want them to wake up. I’m teaching them about numbers and time, but they don’t understand it yet. When they do, this will be a solution I try with them;

  • Telling them to stay in their bed until wake up time. Yeah, easier said than done. They have both outgrown cribs and unless we invest in the hospital crib that’s tented and zipped from the outside, they will get up when they want to;

  • Keep them in their bedroom until it’s time to wake up; doesn’t work because we room share. The layout of this house has two bedrooms upstairs. As much as I would LOVE for the girls to share the other upstairs bedroom (which currently functions as a playroom/guest room with a daybed), the girls can’t be left alone together. Maggie can be aggressive with Hazel if left unsupervised so they aren’t ready to be roommates, yet. The third bedroom is an office in the basement. I have no intention of having anyone sleep that far away from the rest of the family. 

I’m just a tired mom who wants to sleep for 7-8 hours per night, who wants her kids to sleep through the night, who wants her kids to ideally wake up at 7 but I’ll settle for 6 a.m. If anyone has any solutions not previously mentioned, I’d love to hear it. 

After refusing to rock or stay in bed, Hazel falls asleep on the floor.


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