I was fascinated at the beginning of parenthood to learn how your baby is supposed to know when to sleep.
What I mean is, I knew they’d sleep when tired, in their basic hedonistic existence, but why should they sleep longer when it is dark, rather than when it isn’t? It is all the same when you close your eyes.
It also made for one of my more interesting questions at our birthing classes.
But it wasn’t the only one I stumped the health professional with and raised cackle amongst the other soon-to-be parents in our class.
Some children take to the ‘normal’ pattern of being awake in the day, and having your longest sleep during moon-lit hours, very quickly.
Ours did not.
He was not a complete disaster, and would be quite easy to settle; initially he just liked a feed in the night, and thereafter a nightly disagreement with his father, usually around 2am.
By his second birthday he was generally sleeping through, and has since been fairly consistence with his sleeping time, if not location.
The timing of his routine has always been proudly adhered to with military precision.
Changes have been made as he has grown, and as the situation dictates.
I’ve always thought through each one, sought comparison, and information from parents of children of a similar age and inclination.
One of the things I was amazed that worked was bringing his bed time forward, to make him sleep longer into the following day.
Before he dropped a day time nap all together, he would sleep from 8pm till about 6.30 – 7.00am, but get tired after our various mornings exploits, and be back in bed, often before lunch.
Now, I find the closer to 7.00pm the better, when he starts to get over-tired, he is perversely more reluctant to settle, and he still gets up at the same time the next morning, so we both pay for a late night.
Then there is the daylight saving adjustment, which we just had last weekend.
I really don’t get this, as we shouldn’t be wasting day light at any time of the year, not just the ones when the hours of day light available are deemed short.
And if I don’t get it, you can sure as hell not explain it to a soon-to-be four-year-old.
The start of half-term is probably the best time to change, errrm, the time.
There is no school or nursery bell to fight against, and any adjustment can be worked in over a week before we become slaves to the timetable again.
Our personal adjustment didn’t start well, as Max was in bed extra early on Saturday night, he was absolutely cream crackered.
He woke at god-knows O’Clock, as I hadn’t changed all our clocks. Some are automatic, some aren’t, what is that all about?
After accepting him into my bed, and convincing him to drop back off, I eventually answered yes to his recurring:
“Can we get up now?”
Then yesterday I started the subtle change of hour, bath at six instead of half past, and in bed just before 7.
He slept till the ‘new’ 7.15am this morning, which I never thought he would.
And I get the feel by the end of this week, this might be nearer our new norm.