Monday, October 17, 2005


Simon, the human alarm clock

I'm a morning person. In the first half of the day I'm at my most productive, my most energetic. I like waking up, knowing a fresh day stretches out before me. Most mornings, all I need is a cup of coffee and a couple of minutes to shake the cobwebs from my head, and I'm ready to go. On the fairly rare occassions when I sleep in, it's never any later than 8:00 am.

But I've met my match. There's early, in a birds-are-singing and sun-is-shining kind of way, and then there is "oh no, you can't be serious - it's two hours until sunrise!" kind of early. Could someone please explain that to Simon? It's a good think he's so damn adorable, else I would have locked him in a crate in the basement by now.

I can't remember the last time my alarm, set for 5:45, actually woke me up. This morning, I was profoundly asleep at a little past five when Simon's whimpering "Mummy? Mummy?" wafted down the hall. I woke up with that sickening feeling of being yanked to the surface of an ocean from some incredible depth beyond the reach of daylight, where only eyeless fish live in thermal vents.

I've given up on trying to coax Simon back to sleep most mornings. IfWhen he wakes up between 4 and 6 am, I try sticking his soother back in his mouth and patting him back to sleep, which never works. If it's really early, I'll try rocking him a bit and turning his CD lullaby back on, which never works. I've begged, pleaded, cajoled and ignored, none of which ever work. Mostly, I just pick him up and carry him into our bed, where he flops about like a landed trout while I try to convince myself I don't need more than six hours of sleep a night. He crawls around on our bed, sticking his fingers in our ears and pulling my hair and kneeling on my nipples (at least I can say that the rest of the day is guaranteed to be an improvement from having someone kneeling on my nipple) until either one of us gives up and brings him downstairs or, more likely, Tristan wanders in and crawls on to the bed, too.

This morning, even though as soon as Simon saw me he began to dance in his crib and chatter cheerfully "All done, Mummy. Up! Up! All done!" while holding out his soother to me like a prize, I stubbornly refused to give up hope that this might be the morning Simon curled up in my still-warm bed to fall blissfully back to sleep. I picked him up, berating myself for my spinelessness - and felt something warm and wet soaking into my t-shirt. He'd peed through his diaper, two layers of jammies, a blanket and his crib sheet. I stripped him and his bed, piled everything in a corner, and dressed him for the day, all without turning on a light or opening my left eye. I think he's wearing brown and khaki cords with a red sweatshirt over a lime green t-shirt. He'll never remember when he grows up, I'm sure.

I was still debating hauling him into bed and using our combined body weight to pin him under the duvet when Tristan wandered in, rubbing his eyes and whimpering. Tristan, who has had virtually no accidents in the two months since potty week, had peed through his pull-up, jammies and sheets. I reassured him that everyone has accidents, dried and dressed him and stripped his bed - just in time to hear my alarm go off.

Every morning for weeks I've written a blog post in my head, pleading for help from the blogosphere on how to get Simon to sleep until - let alone past - 6 am. I've thought about it as I rocked him (unsuccessfully), ignored his cries (unsuccessfully), tried to get him to sleep in my bed (unsuccessfully) and given up and just gotten up with him (unhappily). For all the time I've spent thinking about this post, it's an incoherent mess, isn't it?

Any thoughts, bloggy friends? We've tried keeping him up later, or putting him down earlier. I've tinkered with naps. No matter what I do, they both rise before sparrow's first fart. It's been almost a year since we relented to CIO sleep training to get Simon to sleep at night, and I have absolutely no problems putting him down for naps or at bedtime - in fact, it's one of the best times of our day. But how, for the love of god HOW do I get him to sleep just a little bit later?

If you need me, I'll be the one standing in the kitchen, trying to get the coffeemaker to drip directly into my mouth.