Monday, 27 October 2008

What Time Is It?

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.

By bringing his bedtime forward by half an hour, I found he would actually sleep to more like 7.00 to 7.30am, so he was getting the extra hour he needed, and the regular day-time nap went.

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.

But before then I will have varying degrees of panic attack, as I'm shocked by each unadjusted clock I encounter.


harassedmomsramblings said...

I am not sure I would cope with the time change - maybe cos we havent had to I can say that!

I am a flexible parent EXCEPT for bedtime! We moved Camerons down 30 minutes and they now both go down at 7h00! They wake anywhere between 5 and 6h30 - both have always been early risers irrespective of their bed time!

Snickollet said...

I have one awesome sleeper (Maddie) and one Insanely Early Riser (Riley).

Am dreading the US time change this coming weekend.

Mama Nabi said...

Yes, that whole automatic clock changing thing is weird. I was visiting and the host's clock had automatically changed - except we don't change until this weekend. Could have been disastrous, i.e. miss my plane, etc..

You know, LN does that too! No matter how much I try, her wake-up time seems to be late. And we're always late to school since she never wants to wake up early enough. I've moved up the bedtime and still she wakes up late. Hmmm.

Penelope said...

I think I find the clock change more of a hassle than my kids do! Master P (14) will sleep for 20 out of 24 hours given a chance and Lil Miss P will be up at anytime between 6.30am and 7am no matter whether she was in bed at 9pm (bed time) or midnight (special occasion). I'm starting to wonder if we won't soon reach a time when they are going to bed later than I am!

Tismee2 said...

My youngest thinks that if it's light he should be up and if it's dark he should be up!

It's a constant battle to get him to stay in one place long enough to go to sleep.

Single Parent Dad said...

Harassedmom - Lucky you.Well not getting up at 5!

Snick - Yours is this weekend? Enjoy.

Mama Nabi - It is a strange body clock thing, but at least with the earlier bed-time they'll have more energy for the school time they do manage to attend.

Penelope - That time doesn't sound very far away.

Tismee - Have you tried strobe lighting?

dadshouse said...

My kids are older, and they fight like crazy to stay up as late as possible, and often are up 15 minutes later than they are supposed to be. Of course, the next morning they are tired! I remind them that if they'd go to bed at their bedtime, they'd get the sleep they need. But come that next night, they forget their tiredness and fight to stay up late again...

Single Parent Dad said...

Dadshouse - So you are saying the stupid doesn't subside as they 'mature'? said...

I am amazed at how you can keep track with your kid's sleep routine. When my kids were younger, I used to count the number of hours they get sleeping. Now that they are older, they are the ones who count for themselves.

Single Parent Dad said...

Blended-Families - It is less counting, more realising the day after he has not had enough the day before!

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