If you follow my Facebook page, then it probably hasn’t escaped your notice that the 2 year olds (Trouble & Not Quite So Much Trouble) have been making the most of the (very) long summer days. You may also have noticed that I haven’t been coping with this particularly well. In fact this morning I found myself driving to work with exhausted tears streaming down my face, then realised I was attracting some strange looks from other drivers.
For the last six weeks or so, Trouble and Not-Quite-So-Much-Trouble have been awake any time from 5am or, joyfully, even before. I am quite resigned to the fact that with multiples, there is little you can do about this. One wakes the other up by somersaulting into his bed and landing on top of him. They then play, chat and keep each other entertained. They don’t need to scream for our attention because they have a playmate, which is very useful. To a certain extent I can ignore them. Except for the fact that their hysterical chatter and laughter wakes me up, and probably their big brother too. All in all, I’d rather they were doing their playing at a more civilised hour.
More recently, the early waking has taken on a new twist. Not only are they awake and up for the day; but they have now realised it is much more fun if they escape from their room and rampage around upstairs. Sprint relays up and down the landing are particularly enjoyable.
The Great Escape can happen at any time from 4.30 onwards and has made me realise a few things:
a) that, when consistently deprived of at least an hour’s sleep a night, I am unspeakably grumpy and even more likely than previously to burst in tears at any moment over any given thing; thus making life even more of a challenge for my husband. He’ll happily tell you life was more than challenging enough already.
b) that 6am starts are the stuff of dreams.
c) that, now they have discovered the fun of escaping not only from their beds but also from their rooms, I am completely powerless in my own home. I could quite feasibly find a child roaming around upstairs any time of night. This really hit home one morning this week when I woke up to find Not-Quite-So-Much-Trouble sitting by my bed opening and closing drawers.
Not only do we have rampaging children to look forward to in the mornings, but we now also have the added excitement of escapees at bedtime. Sometimes they will lull us into a false sense of security by going quiet for 30 minutes or so, only for us then to hear feet storming across the landing. My children have never caused a problem at bedtime before – this is all new, and I’m not enjoying it one bit.
Somehow, nothing we have tried so far has managed to quash their desire to complete their sprint training either first thing in the morning or immediately before bed, and we have attempted all of the following (with not at all successful results):
Put children back into bed immediately and with little fuss. Do not engage or make conversation.
It is more than a little disheartening when you can hear one already getting back out the moment you put the other back in.
Put a stairgate at their door.
HA!! This has made the escape an even more attractive prospect. Not only is there running to be done, but the excitement of hurdles as well.
5 minutes was all it took for them to realise that the stairgate, in which I had invested all my hope, posed them absolutely no problems at all.
A Groclock. It’s difficult for children to grasp when is an appropriate time to get up in the summer, I understand that. It is starting to get light in their room, they think it’s time to get up. Sometimes it is time to get up, and other times a rage-filled mummy appears saying it’s time to go back to sleep. How are they supposed to know? The solution, obviously, is the Groclock. Super simple for children – if they can see the stars, it’s still night time. When the sun comes up, it’s morning time.
HA HA HA!!!! If we’re awake and there’s hurdling to be done, then we’re up. Did you really think we were likely to check for a sun on a clock first?!
What I would like to know is this – who is this very considerate child quoted on the box who apparently pops in to ask ‘Is it time to get up yet?’ If you have one of these children, rather than one who storms into your room insisting it’s morning time, please let me in on your secret.
Well-meaning people ask what time they go to bed – perhaps we should put them down later, they suggest. Occasionally, they do go to bed later – sometimes because we’ve been busy, and other times because they have spent an hour on their hurdling/sprint relay training. Which you would think would make them tired.
An even earlier start. Of course. A lose-lose situation.
So clearly I need to accept this as a temporary situation and get myself to bed earlier; however this is something I seem unable to do, even when I have the best intentions. When you’re already exhausted, getting ready for bed is just one more exhausting task to complete. Quite frankly, anything is more appealing than having to drag myself upstairs to go through the tedious process I’ve just been through with three children. So instead of doing the sensible thing, I keep myself going doing nothing-at-all-productive until my eyes are unable to stay open any longer.
And if you’re still reading this then I apologise: I have never been a fan of lack of sleep posts. Everyone knows parents of young children are permanently exhuasted – it’s what we signed up for isn’t it? As long as our children are healthy and happy, that’s what matters.
And of course that’s what matters – I am hugely grateful for my three boys.
But I definitely appreciate them more after 6am.