Wednesday, August 20, 2008

4:50 a.m.

I was in a deep sleep in the middle of a pleasant dream. Then I heard the sound of footsteps in the living room, right below my bedroom, ending the dream as quickly as the remote shuts off the TV. Quickly followed by, the sound of furniture being scraped across the hardwood floor.

That woke me up. I listened for a second and the first thought into my head was, "Are we being robbed?". Sounds from the living room in the middle of the night are not a regular occurance in our home.

Just then, I heard voices, and multiple sets of feet on the floor. I was awake more then. I opened my eyes. It was still pitch black in the room, the sun was not even up yet.

Then a thought popped into my head: "Oh, that's right, the kids are having a sleepover in the living room."

Voices getting louder. I can’t believe they are up and so noisy in the middle of the night! What time is is? I sit up and put my glasses on, check my husband's alarm clock to see that it is 4:50 a.m.!

This is a new record for early waking during a sleepover.

Next I hear a sound. They have turned the TV on! I hear the sound of their favorite video game, bass tones vibrating right up into my bedroom, then I hear talking, loud talking (definitely not whispers), and then laughter.

That's it. This has gone too far. Waking up before dawn to play video games is definately not a good idea. I’ll admit, I was annoyed well, because they woke me up and now there is no way I'll get back to sleep. That means that by the end of the day I will be completely exhausted. Actually by late afternoon I may be completely shot. And being the stay at home mom with no break in child care I will have no way to take a nap. Also from experience I know that by the end of the day one or both of my kids will have a huge breakdown of some sort due to complete exhaustion. Yet both will resist going to bed early, claiming they are not tired. Well at least the next day we have no morning plans so they can sleep in!

I did address the situation though. Right then and there. I told the kids that waking up before the sun has risen is not acceptable. I told them they woke me up and were being loud. I said to shut off the video game and television, get back into their sleeping bags, shut all the lights down (the room and kitchen were ablaze in light when I went to address the situation). I told them they are not allowed to talk and should try to fall back to sleep. And that it was ridiculous that they were all awake at that time of the day and trying to play video games.

I plodded back to bed. I was not able to fall back to sleep. I finished reading a book instead.

I found out later they did indeed all fall back to sleep for a while. I got out of bed after six and as soon as they heard my footsteps above them they were up and talking and playing the video game.

My older son’s meltdown occurred at 11:30 in the morning. Actually a very silly sounding recurring statement was said that revealed to me that it might be more serious than we’ve ever taken it before. The statement was first said when he was six years old and it seemed like a big joke back then, hilarious actually. In thinking about this minutes after it happened, I had an epiphany that it may be something more real and not a joke and the root cause (which is pretty deep) came to me out of the blue. I guess something good came of it as now we can deal with the bigger issue. This is another moment when I’m stretching in my parenting ability. Another hurdle has presented itself that I must figure out how to address and how to meet the needs of my child. This means more growth for me (and him) and this won’t be easy.

Younger son had his overtired acting out issue too. It presented itself with a power struggle issue over dinner. He decided to turn down the two different main courses we served, the soup, and three vegetable side dishes. We offered fruit and raw veggies and a salad he could make himself as an alterative. None were acceptable, he declared. Since we were visiting the delicious family run farm based ice cream stand that night right after dinner the deal was: no dinner, no ice cream. This stubborn holding of his position on the matter ensued through the entire meal and after I left the table to do something I needed to get done. By the time I finished the task and my husband was done washing the dinner dishes he had eaten half of a hot dog, tried one new vegetable dish, tasted the farm fresh corn on the cob, and he’d eaten some grapes. Then we went for ice cream. Younger son fell asleep in the car on the way home (but woke up when we exited the car).

The day was not over yet though as one last project with our foreign exchange student was that we made tie dye shirts. They had to sit for over 24 hours which meant after ice cream we had to rinse them out and then machine wash them. I was dog tired and to boot, my contact lenses were drying out and getting stuck my eyes during the rinsing. I couldn’t even see clearly (everything was in soft focus.) I was too tired to remove them and put my glasses on though. I was surprised and happy to find that my younger son wanted to take over the rinsing job. Being so beat I skimped on my own two t-shirts and cut corners on rinsing some of them (the rainbow spirals were taking forever to rinse out). It was taking a ridiculous amount of water and well over an hour to rinse the 15 shirts we made. So I threw them in the washing machine, started the load, and called it a day. It was one of those times when I was asleep less than thirty seconds after the lights went out. (Factoid: Dr. Mehmet Oz says that means the person is sleep deprived when that happens.)

This morning when my husband was kissing me goodbye I mumbled the request that he throw the wet laundry into the dryer, then I went back to sleep. I woke up later, due to a low flying airplane which was very loud for a long time—mental note, check to see if my town is affected by the FAA flight pattern changes. I was so curious to see how the shirts came out that I groggily got out of bed to retrieve the finished shirts. Most came out great, one of the sleepover friend’s shirts is not so great due to the bad rinsing job but his other shirt is one of the best in the batch. Our foreign exchange student’s shirts all look great, thank goodness. Both of my shirts are wrecked due to the poor rinsing. It is a shame as one had a lot of the white shirt and then yellow and red with some orange. Now the white shirt parts are an ugly purple color. Oh well. They are still useful for pajama tops, which is what I was going to use them for anyway.

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1 comment:

admin said...

Video games have intruded into our lives to such an extent that they give us sleepless nights as you have experienced. I believe we should maintain a healthy balance of online and real world games and strictly enforce deadlines for kids.
I found some interesting info on kids games on goodparenting.co.in