Before I had kids, this was my reaction when I realized I got to set my clocks back and gain an hour of sleep:
Of course, back then I wasn’t really in need of an extra hour of sleep because I could sleep whenever I wanted – provided it wasn’t at work. Fast forward a few years and this is now my reaction to daylight savings:
Seriously, a glass case of emotion, people! And not just me, it’s my kids who are all jacked up on emotions too.
Remember before the kids when you heard about these mythical things known as ‘routines’ and ‘sleep schedules?’ Well it turns out, they are very real and not in the least bit mythical. I’m not trying to harp on the before kids and after kids subject, but there are some significant changes and while the vast majority are positive, there is no such thing as an extra hour of sleep in my world.
The Saturday night when the clocks are to be changed, there is always the inevitable conversation, “So, should we keep the kids up a little longer tonight? Or are we just going put them to bed at the same time?”
Here’s the deal – every parent knows that it would make sense for kids to sleep in longer if they stay up later, but that’s not the way it works. In fact, if I put my kids to bed later, they are usually up earlier. Joke’s on you, Mom. That’s why I opted to put them to bed at the same time this year – preserving our routine and my alone time. Not that I don’t love the extra snuggles, but in the name of honesty, there are nights that as soon as I get the kids to bed I jump around and pump my fists in the air much like Rocky when he reaches the top of the art museum stairs.
Hey, honey – do you want to watch a movie? Normally it would be too late for us to consider such a thing, but technically instead of 9pm, its 8pm and we are still cool enough to start a movie at this time. After the movie, we go to bed and hope for the best when it comes to the little ones’ wake up times.
At 6am, I hear the creak of his door followed by the sound of his voice yelling, “Mom!” My oldest is up. He says he has an important question to ask me and I tell him to go ahead and ask. “Mom, can our TV still pause movies?” Ummm, yes. And this couldn’t have waited another hour and a half to be asked? I tell him just to crawl into bed with us and lay down.
Thirty seconds later he rolls over and asks me if I’m awake. In the process of rolling over, he round-house kicked me in the spleen so I answer through gritted teeth that yes, I’m awake. Thankfully, my husband offers to get up with him so that I can continue to sleep.
Three minutes later I hear our youngest stir in his crib. Suddenly he is doing his best Stewie Griffin impersonation – “Mom, Mommy, Mommy, Mama, Moooom, Mommy, Mama, Mommy!!!!” I get up and go over to his room. He greets me with a hug and a smile and shows off the new words he has been learning by saying, “Good morning!” I’m tired, but it’s still precious.
We all make our way downstairs, get some breakfast and ready ourselves for church. We are ready an hour early – a milestone. Sundays mess with the routine enough as it is, but today is twice as nice.
After church, I can tell that the boys are fading on the ride home. We make some lunch and change our clothes. When it’s time for their naps they go down easily (thank you, Lord!) and I can get some things done.
As I’m working, I see the sun setting and then I look at the clock. Just then, my oldest gets up from his nap and immediately I see the confusion on his face. He thinks he has slept until nighttime. Then he says to me, “You tricked me!” I ask him why and he says that it’s my fault I let him sleep all day when I knew that he wanted to play outside. I try to explain the time change and the fact that it will get darker earlier now, which is a completely fruitless waste of time because he’s three. He still got to play outside.
The next morning, there was another 6am wake-up call. This is when my husband and I do that thing where we slap each other back and forth with limp arms as we declare to the other one that it’s “your turn.” When no one takes the bait on that, we sometimes up the ante. “I’ll get up tomorrow if you get up today.” That doesn’t work on me because I get up earlier than he does to get ready for work. “I’ll get you Dunkin Donuts coffee if you get up.” Annnnd I’m up and taking on the day.
The week continues with early risers and other adjustments. The suppertime darkness is really throwing the kids off. Over dinner I say that I hate winter and can’t wait until spring. The boys jump on it and make me apologize for saying ‘hate.’ I say I’m sorry and that I ‘intentionally dislike’ winter while my youngest is in his high chair yelling, “no hate, no hate!”
To me, that is really why daylight savings is the worst – it signals the start of a long and chilly season. I miss my summer nights spent out on the deck. I miss the warm weather and the walks we can take with the boys. I miss jumping in the creek and swinging on our swing set. It’s all over so quickly, but winter seems to drag on and on.
But, we can make new memories during winter, too. The boys cannot wait until it snows. We now have a hill perfect for sled riding and a yard primed for a snowman. Plus, who doesn’t love a good cup of hot chocolate while watching a peaceful snow fall to the ground?
So long, summer and hello, winter! Our routine will eventually be back to normal, just in time for the holidays to mess it up again!