Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Baby Nuthouse: whooo are you calling a night owl?

For a long time, I’ve had this idea in my head that I ought to get up very early in the morning, before the rest of the family is awake. There are so many ways I could use that time. I could start my day off right with some exercise. Maybe I could try a little meditation. In the quiet of the pre-dawn hours, I could write, read, or just think in peace.

There’s only one problem. When I do wake up early, here is what happens:

Me: Okay, clock says 5:00 a.m. Time to get up.
My Brain: Gah?
My Body: More...sleep...please....
Me: No, seriously, it’s time to get up now.
My Brain: Er?
My Body: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Then there’s the flip side of this coin. In order to wake up early, I would probably want to try going to bed early.

This doesn’t work so well, either.

I am by nature a night owl, and my brain--though never operating at anywhere near 100 percent--works much better in the evening than it does in the morning or afternoon. This is why I’m usually a lot more fun to hang out with at night than during the rest of the day. In the morning my brain struggles to create coherent thoughts, and whatever I do come up with is usually interrupted, mid-sentence, by one or more of my children.

My ideal day would begin sometime after 10:00 a.m. The only reason I get up at 6:30 or 7:00 is because my daughter can’t get out of her crib without my assistance. At that point I always bring her to my bed and invite her to snuggle with me, hoping she will fall back to sleep. So far it has never worked. She either stands up on the bed and jumps on me, or she slides off the side of the bed and says “Bye, Mama,” as she runs out the door. Usually by this time the boys are up, too, and they all head downstairs to play.

The only reason I don’t go right back to sleep is pure fear. Fear that the children will eat all the ice cream for breakfast. Fear that they will turn on the computer and watch inappropriate YouTube videos. Fear that they might go outside in their underwear and play in the street. And above all, the very reasonable fear that if I don’t get up, one of them is bound to come in and jump on me.

And so, I get up. I drag myself out of bed, splash water on my face, and stretch. Once downstairs, I start making something for breakfast. I fill the teakettle and put it on the stove, because caffeine intake must not be delayed.

By the end of the day, after hours of having my thoughts interrupted and cutting sandwiches diagonally and wiping faces and breaking up fights and trying to listen to three people talk at once, I am ready for a little down time. Whether it’s time to myself, hanging out with my husband, or the occasional outing with friends, I tend to catch my second wind after the kids are in bed.

I might as well face facts: that peaceful morning ritual I envision will probably never happen. I’m not sure if a night owl can transform into an early bird, and I’m not sure that one is necessarily better than the other. But for the time being anyway, this owl will keep on posting blogs at midnight. And in the morning, I’ll savor every minute of precious sleep I can get before the early bird wakes me up.


samara said...

there's this great website that if found that has tons of helpful information to make the everyday topics of a mothers life seem a bit less overwhelming...http://hrbaby.com/

Maureen said...

WOW! I could have written this post, as I have said similar things over and over again. "I should train myself to be a morning person....what a great start to the day." "I could get a lot done if I get up earlier than the girls." "Why does the baby have to wake me up at 7:00? Why can't she sleep until 8:00 or 9:00 like the others did at this age? Why doesn't she want to snuggle and fall back to sleep with me?" I could go on and on, your story is shared sista'!

BTW- the night is so much better than the day. I think because you went through the day already, you can appreciate it. Whereas, you might be bitter if you had your time first thing, dealt with the day, and then went to bed shortly after the children.