Bedtime is a time that most parents look forward to, cherish even. I’m talking about the kids bedtime although my own is pretty sacred too. Mine comes with conditions though. It is dictated by my shifts at work and at home by whether the little man is asleep or awake, his mum is asleep or awake and whether I have got the chores to a moderately sustainable level as to not be too scared to wake up the next day. If I’m not going to work that is.
I have long since said that the days are too short and time moves too quickly. I know I’m preaching to the converted but I think a day should be 28 hours long. I would spend each of those extra 240 minutes asleep. Sleep, through necessity, has descended the order of priority and as a result, ironically, its importance grows greater. I am lucky to have the ability to fall asleep quickly and wherever I choose. I just don’t get to choose when. This is a skill that I seemed to have partially passed on to the little man, who as I type this is fast asleep in his car seat outside the kitchen window having falling asleep on the way home from the doctors. Yesterday it was in the swing. I say partially because he, as am I, is currently under the weather. A very rare occurrence for the little man who is a regular David Dunn (touch wood). Ordinarily he has a pretty regimented sleep routine. Having said that, it is getting skewed the older he gets as his need for naps diminishes.
So, he falls asleep to routine and is not too fussy where. So where’s the battle? The battle is this and it is a battle within. Little Man’s bed time is 10pm. We’ve tried bringing it forward to conform with what our friends do and what seems to be normal but it always seems to migrate back to 10pm. Even when the clocks changed we thought we’d seize the opportunity to get him back to at least 9 but ideally 8:30. We tried but before we knew it we were back at 10. We have friends whose kids are asleep, ASLEEP by 6:30. But similarly they wake up shortly after 5am sometimes earlier. Other friends have theirs in bed by 7pm and when I inquired as to why they said “So we can have an evening ourselves.”
Okay forget my work shifts which are all over the place, Mummy, when working from her office isn’t home until 6 at the absolute earliest. She needs her little man time too, especially as often I’m on my way to work as she comes home. Our evenings are spent relaxing, playing, chatting about our day and watching Postman Pat or Bing on catchup. We have the antics hour at about 7 when any left over energy is expended after that it’s supper, books, stickers, puzzles then bath time then bed. He will then sleep through until at least 8am, later on weekends. He usually has a two hour nap so he is getting enough sleep. So if we’re happy with this arrangement, I ask myself again, where’s the battle? We get to spend a maximum amount of time with him during the day and he does not raise us at the ungodlies. Yet for some reason we both still feel guilty. So guilty in fact then when we are asked we usually say he’s asleep by 9 which is still late by most standards. I know this will have to be adjusted when he nears school age but for now, I’d be lost in my evenings without him and my wife would be very lonely and bored when I’m at work and would hardly see him. Is this just another sign of the differences with modern working families? Do others do the same? I’ve received some funny looks when we’ve been going around the supermarket at 8pm with a very lively (albeit well behaved) toddler. The thing is he’s probably only been awake for a few hours at that point.
I suppose I had better go and wake him up…