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A night owl in a morning glory family

Once upon my misspent youth, nights were young at 9:00 pm.

Anything earlier was blue-plate territory, better left for senior citizens and defeated people with small children.

At this point in my life, I’d happily go to bed at 8:15pm if I could. Sometimes, I covet my little ones’ footie pajamas, too. And? I wish I could hear a story and fall to sleep as someone who loves me sings sweet songs.

Instead, I go to bed with bags under my eyes with ratty t-shirts and sweats for pajamas. My bedtime stories have titles like, “The Big Bad List of Things to Do Tomorrow!” and “Let’s Worry About Christmas.” I tell them to myself. Nobody sings.

Years of being a mom to many, many children have trained me to be a morning person. I have no choice. They have school and needs which must be met when the sun is still yawning. Coffee helps. Rallying the kids around a common goal, to get out the door on time, is slightly exhilarating. Being smug for 10 minutes after the on-time drop off gets me to mid morning.

If my van could skip, it would.

Thankfully, our kids have been on the same wavelength. They’ve always been early risers and early snoozers. Until Archie.

Archie, who will be 10 months this week, thinks 11:00 pm is a good time to play with phonebooks in the kitchen. It’s prime time to crawl and cruise, to empty boxes and to overturn laundry baskets.

I don’t know how he got on this schedule because the other 8 of us do not operate well under those conditions. He was born into an established routine, but he’s blown raspberries at our nice respectable bedtime.

I laugh at advice to put him down when he’s drowsy or showing signs of fatigue. He doesn’t get drowsy or fatigued. Sometimes, he will fall asleep around 7pm, but he wakes up after about 10 minutes, completely refreshed and ready for 4+ hours of romping, puppy-style play.

I’d really, really, really love to put him to bed with the rest of the gang who appreciate lights-out by 9pm at the very latest. Aidan stays up reading beyond 9pm, and I’m fine with that. I like knowing they are all tucked away, cozy, poised for dreaming dreams of dreamy things. Having all 7 of them in their beds would let my husband and I have more time to hang out and chat, something that is hard to do when we are chasing and preventing stitches and thwarting and redirecting.

When he’s going at 100%, he does not tolerate rocking, reading, singing, or any other let’s-chill-out-buddy activities. He wants down. He has an appointment with the dog water bowl in the next room.

Any ideas on changing what appears to be an in-born love for the nightlife? Do you believe there are night people and day people? I changed! Why can’t Archie?

11 comments to A night owl in a morning glory family

  • I was JUST talking with a friend about this very thing. Well, sleep anyway. And whether I can change my EXTREMELY early riser. I WANT ANSWERS. I’m terrified that there aren’t any…

    .-= Heather of the EO´s last blog ..Go Bananas =-.

  • I have no help for you. My almost 10 month old woke up eight times last night. EIGHT!!!

    .-= Kimberly´s last blog ..Cloth Diapering, most of the time. =-.

  • I have no answers.

    But I do believe some of us are wired for early mornings and some for late nights.

    And for the record, I don’t think you’ve changed. You’ve just adapted. Which is what Archie will eventually do. (Until he gets to college, anyway.)
    .-= Kelly @ Love Well´s last blog ..Let The Sun Shine In =-.

  • Oh this is funny!!! Our first born is a night owl – actually he never sleeps – EVER… I remember sleeping in a sort of bleary state while he sat in bed “reading” me Richard Scarry’s when he was about ten months old. I eventually cured his sleep deprivation experiment, that he was performing on me… when he was about eleven years old (call it lack of sleep but I never figured it out before) – every time he woke me up I gave him two pages of trigonometry … after three nights I was sleeping through – aaaahhhh! All the best to you, your trouble may take a while to resolve!!!
    .-= se7en´s last blog ..Sunday Snippet: A Christmas GiveAway… =-.

  • I don’t know what you tell you, Gretchen! I am a Night Owl, through and through. I’ve been blessed with a little girl who lets us all sleep in. (I’ve been forced to be a morning person at times in my past, and I did it. I didn’t like it, but I did it.)

    I agree with Kelly. I don’t think you’ve truly changed. You are who you are, but you’ve adapted to fit the needs of the group. Archie is too small to do that. (I mean, how many times have we ALL wanted to throw a temper-tantrum when we’re hungry or impatient…but we don’t. We pretend to be more civilized.)

    Good luck!!
    .-= The Casual Perfectionist´s last blog ..Confessions of a Casual Perfectionist: Day 2 =-.

  • I can’t believe that I’m actually trying to give advice to someone with as many children as you have and me only having one but…. bear with me. If you want him in bed by a certain time just do it whether he’s tired or not. If you have a space that is separate from the other kids room even better. (You could warn them of the possibility of some noise) It will be a little hard at first but eventually he’ll understand that that’s the program and he’ll amuse himself in his crib until he falls asleep.
    I did this with my son and just stuck to it no matter what. If he cried I would set the timer for myself and wait out 5 or 10 min. depending on my patience/sanity that night. Then I would go in, tell him it was nighty night time and kiss him and go out. Then I’d wait a little longer the next time and so on until the routine was clear.
    Some nights were easier than others but I just stuck to the idea that I didn’t care if he was tired or not, it was bed time. Now, he is a great sleeper and if he’s not tired he’ll just play, sing or talk to himself until he falls asleep. Sometimes that’s not until pretty late! But I get time with my hubby and I don’t feel ruled by him. I’m the Queen! =0)
    .-= Gretchen´s last blog ..Future Boy Scout =-.

  • mombrud

    We have sunshine child in our family. In other words if there is the slightest hint of a ray of sunshine he is awake and running, yelling, etc. Unfortunately, it is not appreciated by the rest of the family, especially in the summer when those first rays are peaking out around 5 am! I finally ended up making blackout curtains for his bedroom window which kept him in bed until 6:30 or 7. Wish I had a solution for your little guy!

  • amy

    Henry is our night owl. He is groggy in the afternoon, but not ready for bed then nor does he nap, I can just see his energy level is down. Then, around 7pm, adrenaline kicks in, or something, and he WILL NOT FALL ASLEEP until around 9:30 or 10, which is late for a little guy. He slept at 7:00 as a baby, but starting at around 2.5 he became a night person and it’s been the same for a year. If he had his own room, I would make him stay in it and not worry too much about it, but because he shares with Josie, who is ready for sleep nice and early, it’s a source of constant concern.

  • Amy

    I don’t have any advice other than to jokingly say, “Benedryl” or “Motrin.”

    I do, however, believe that there are day people and night people. I am a night owl that desperately wants to be an early riser. My son, who is eight, is a day person. Each morning it is by sheer will power that I am able to drag my lifeless self from the bed to make sure that my boy is fed, clean and dressed before school. A giant cup of coffee ensures that I am a somewhat functioning member of society.

    I have tried going to bed early, but it doesn’t help. It makes me more sleepy. I assumed that something would just click or that rising early would become a habit. It hasn’t. I have risen between 6-7 a.m. for the past 8 years. My body clock still tells me that bedtime should be sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight and that I should wake up at 9 a.m.. Maybe someday.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Of a Cricked Neck, Storm Troopers and Mountains of Candy =-.

  • I so love the way you write. You are so talented. I wish I had your gift with words. Anyway, I am a complete night owl and can’t even get my brain in a creative place until after 10pm. I agree with what others have said. You are either a night person or a day person and the fact that you’ve adapted to being a day person is what impresses me the most. Almost 3 years of being a mother and I still can’t get myself to bed at a reasonable hour so I’m not paying for it the next day!

    I don’t know if this will be helpful to you, but could it be just a matter of adjusting his nap schedule? We had trouble getting Reagan to nap at all until she was 8 months old and someone gave me “The SleepEasy Solution” CDs from It was amazing the difference it made.

    Good luck to you, my friend!
    .-= Mama Bird´s last blog ..Home for Halloween =-.

  • edj

    I don’t believe you have really changed. 😉 I think you will revert to night owl, given the chance. But yes, as we age things do change to a certain extent, and part of growing up and becoming adults and mothers mean we become more flexible.
    I hope Archie figures this out soon 😉 Does he still take a nap? Can he learn to entertain himself in his crib between 9 and midnight, before he falls asleep? Because you don’t care if he is actually ASLEEP, right? Just as long as he is confined and quiet?
    I guess there’s got to be one in every 7! 😉
    And I liked my kids being night owls…it meant they slept in! I would much rather have a late sleeper than a early-to-bed child. But I only have 3 and they are very close together; I never dealt with the age range you’ve got.
    .-= edj´s last blog ..With its head cut off =-.

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