My daughter is growing at a phenomenal rate these days. One week a pair of pants will fit perfectly; the next week they are too short. All of this growth requires energy, and all of this energy requires sleep. So, when we started having meltdowns at “wake time” every morning and I started getting reports again of my daughter being teary and tired until nap time at school, my husband and I moved her bedtime up 30 minutes.
Now bedtime is far more pleasant. Tooth brushing and pottying go far more smoothly and she handles limits on story time without fuss. She’s usually asleep within 5 minutes of nighttime prayers, and there are far fewer issues with “Get back in bed, young lady.”
However, now that she is going to bed 30 minutes earlier, she is waking up 1 hour earlier. So much for getting her more sleep.
We are not having any more problems with meltdowns at wake time, solved that issue. But, now instead of having to wait for the teacher to comment on tiredness and teariness at school, I see it first hand. She falls asleep in the less than 5-minute car ride to school and is bleary-eyed and teary-eyed when she arrives. Aghh.
I’m sticking with the 30-minutes earlier bedtime regimen though, because I have a feeling it’s the right thing and that in a few days, she’ll be sleeping until she hears my voice gently call her name in the early morning light.
That last sentence suddenly reminded me of my mom. I remember when I was in grammar and high school, every morning she would open the door to my room and softly say, “Michele, Michele, it’s time to get up.” And that is how I would start my day, to the gentle sound of my mother’s voice. No blaring alarms or loud music or bad news broadcast from the radio, just my mother’s voice gently telling me “it’s time to wake up.” I sure miss my mother.
So often I have looked in the mirror and said with dismay “Aghh, I’m turning into my mother!” But in writing this essay I have realized that I have unconsciously picked up one of her habits, gently waking my daughter each morning; that was one of the most wonderful things she did for me.
Many parents expect their children to wake up via alarm clock, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But my mom always took the time, right up until I left for college, to come into my room and wake me gently with her voice. And that was a good thing. Because of her, my days started gently, even if they didn’t always stay gentle (adolescence is often not gentle), and because of her I learned that I could wake to gentle music on my radio every morning and not be late for college classes or, later, work. To this day I cherish quiet mornings as precious gifts, gifts that Mom first gave to me.
So yes, parenting is certainly a lesson in humility, especially when suddenly you discover that your mom was really smart and that it’s not such a bad thing to turn into her, at least in some ways.
© 2010 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.