i have been told that my blog has scared people away from wanting to have children. i have also been told that i do a little too much complaining on my blog. i can totally see why people would say this. i've said before that i have a hard time being anything but perfectly honest on here. i have always found writing to be a great way of venting for me. even as a young girl, i would rarely write in my diary unless something completely riveting or completely devastating had happened. to tell you the truth, most of my diaries are filled with tear stained words of heartbreak and sadness, not because i was sad all of the time, but because that's when i was most inclined to put my feelings to words. for those that dislike my honest and complaining posts, feel free to stop reading here because i have something going on that i absolutely HAVE to get off of my chest!
yes, it involves my son. and oh! it just so happens to involve sleep as well! some people seem to manage fine on just 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night, but i've always been a girl who needs my 8 hours in order to function properly. this, i believe, is why tristan's "sleep issues" have been such a thorn in my side. presently, my dear son goes to sleep without my presence, usually at around 7:30pm. he awakens in a decently good mood and goes back down for a nap somewhere around noon-ish. this nap usually lasts 2 hours. all of this sounds pretty normal except for the fact that he almost never sleeps past 6am.
tristan is definitely classified as an early riser. he is wide awake in the wee hours of the morning and seems to function fine on only 9 hours of sleep per night. when he wakes up after 5am, i breathe a sigh of relief. when he wakes up before 5am, which has been the case most of the time lately, i feel like crying. for some reason, when the alarm clock shows a 4 in the front, it seems much more of an unearthly hour that when it shows a 5. this is all psychological, i understand, and i've been trying to fight my hatred of the 4:30 mornings. in a recent chat with my husband, we both agreed that this has been going on for so long (over 6 months, i believe) and we have tried so many different ways to change it, that it is time to just accept the early mornings. i try really hard to think of how some people do get up that early to go to work. and, being that i'm a stay at home mom, tristan is my "job", so i just so happen to have an occupation that requires me to get up early. i also frequently remind myself of all of the women who would gladly wake up at 2am every morning if it meant they could have a child to call their own. or those moms who care for sick or handicapped children who are required to sacrifice much of their sleep for their little one's needs.
these thoughts guilt me into halting my mind's continuous quest for new answers that may solve the early waking habit. this morning, it was 4:05 when tristan and i came downstairs. i had wanted to spend more time with josh last night, so had gone to bed later than my usual 9:00. i was tired and grumpy. but i turned the tv on to the wiggles, kissed my little boy's head, and opened the novel i'm reading to the bookmarked page. soon the wiggles waved bye-bye, which led to painfully sad cries from my son. then emily yeung came on and he was momentarily distracted by emily picking strawberries. silly me, i encouraged the distraction by saying "ooooh, tristan look at those yummy strawberries!" before i knew it, he was on his feet, pulling me from my comfy place on the couch, into the kitchen and pointing franticaly to the fridge where, 2 days ago a bowl of strawberries from gran's garden had sat. of course he had already polished those off, but he still wanted me to open the fridge. he pointed to every container in there and i obligingly opened every one saying "see, no strawberries! tristan ate them all." when every container had been opened, he melted into a puddle on the kitchen floor and cried his little eyes out. i scooped him up into my arms and walked back to the living room fighting tired tears myself. jealous thoughts of other people's kids who sleep from 7:30pm-7:30am and then nap for 3 hours haunted my brain while i kept trying to banish them. and then i was reminded of that looming event coming up that could make 4am wake-ups seem like a lovely dream: Daylight Savings Time.
i knew right then and there that i would be posting a "help me" blog. i need suggestions that i haven't tried yet, or perhaps i need to re-try some things i've already tried. i need to somehow push this little boy's timetable forward by only an hour or so. because i cannot imagine how i would cope with a series of 3am morning times.
i'll give you a bit of an idea of how tristan's day goes so you can suggest changes: i'll pretend that he is awake at 4:30. he is in his crib, chatting/crying, but not seemingly tired. if i leave his room to let him cry it out, he doesn't stop and his cries wake up josh and possibly the neighbors on the other side of our wall. if i sit in the room with him, he calls for daddy. he will not sleep in our bed, we've tried that as well. no matter what, he refuses to let me lay him back down in his crib. once he's up he's UP! so we go downstairs and we do breakfast and wait and wait for the sun to rise and for daddy to wake up. by 9:30 or 10:00 he is really quite tired. in fact, if we're in the car at that time he will definitely fall asleep, so i try not to be driving at that time. my intention is to "stretch him" to a more normal nap time so that he won't be over tired at his bedtime. he naps from 11:30-1:30 and most often does not wake up happy. if he happens to nap for over 2 hours, he is much happier. in the evening, he gets a big burst of energy after dinner and before his bath time. we let him run around outside or else he wrestles with daddy in order to get some of that energy out. then its bath time and bedtime and asleep nearly always by 7:30.
yesterday he awoke at 5am (HOORAY!) and napped from 12-2:15. he was a very happy, well rested boy in the afternoon, so i thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try a later bedtime. he was asleep by 8pm last night, not over-tired at all. and then up at 4am today. that's only 8 hours of sleep. surely that isn't enough for a child his age??!! last week, while josh was gone he was so tired one evening that i decided to put him to bed early, at 7pm. he slept until 5, so the next day i did the same thing and he slept till 5:45! i was thrilled. the third day i kept his nap and bedtime at precisely the same time and.....he was wide awake at 4:30.
i understand that my child is not a machine that can be programmed to give the same results every day. i understand that how much sleep he needs depends on a lot of things, such as how long his nap was, or how much energy he spent during the day. but surely 8pm-4am isn't quite normal?? there have been days where he hasn't fallen asleep until 8:30 or even 9:00, and he is usually up at the same time anyhow, just much more cranky.
one thing i will NOT try again is to let him cry it out in the mornings. he just isn't tired enough then, plain and simple and i know i wouldn't have the heart to stick with it. other than that, please comment any suggestions you can think of. i appreciate it so much.
p.s. after the strawberry meltdown, he ate an entire apple and then at 5:10 i brought him upstairs, read him a storybook and said goodnights just like i do for naptime. he is fast asleep and it is 6:10. i've never tried this before, and am thrilled that it worked....hoping that perhaps i can use the later wake-up this morning to shift both his nap and bedtime even later tonight just to see if that will help?? of course it could completely backfire on me again and we could have an even earlier morning tomorrow...