Early Birds

Well, we are just steeped in descriptive cliches here in the Welsch residence these days. Not only are our kids movers and shakers, they are early wakers. But you already know this, right? The early wake up is part of our sleep story, as is the sleep training and the early bedtimes and the extreme adherence to naps (well, at least for the first two kids. sorry, Lincoln!). Our sleep story also includes shared rooms and we worried when we moved the big kids into together that we were going to have major problems with them waking each other up, but actually it has continued to be just been Ben and I who have taken the brunt of that.

To recap, until Baby Sis came along, Harrison was an awesome 7-7 sleeper. Sometimes 7:30 even, which to me, two years later, seems like it would be the best Christmas present EVER to get that even one day much less all. the. time! Once he was no longer in the crib, though, our problems began and while we eventually figured out how to keep him in his bed to go to sleep at night, potty training officially ruined our sleeping lives because how do you tell a kid, no you can’t come out of your bed even if you have to pee? Kind of defeats the purpose, right? To his credit, he doesn’t use the potty chip very often during the night (knock on wood) but there are plenty of early mornings when he comes in our room to use the upstairs bathroom that is, sadly, attached to our room. Technically he can get there through the hallway but what fun is there in that?

Enough of these early morning bathroom runs have occurred over the months that I now believe HD’s internal alarm has reset itself. In the 5s! And not just 5:50. I can actually handle 5:50. But the 5:30s or 5:20s? Seriously, please, NO! Someone make it stop! Especially on the nights when Lincoln nurses in the 2s or 3s, this early wake up call seems just wrong.

The problem in the last month or so, is that in order to preserve RL’s morning sleep, we started letting HD stay in our room, at least once the clock said 6. But then he started coming in every morning, half zombie-fied/sleep walking, not to pee but to see if the clock said 6. And crying loudly when it wasn’t and he was sent back to his room. It didn’t take long for me to realize that we had just created a new beast for our little problem and that something had to be done.

Earlier this year we bought a little nightlight thing called the Sleep Buddy from Amazon that is programmed to turn off (or in our cave-needing kids’ case, turn on) when it is OK to get up out of bed. We tried it a few months ago and had a similar problem. Harrison kept coming in to ask when the blue light was going to come on (WTG?!). I’m sure it works for some people, so if you think your kid is one of them and you want ours, let me know because after three days of those shenanigans, we gave up on it.

This time we decided to try a trick I saw at a friend’s house – a digital clock with dark tape over everything but the hour indicating number. For inquisitive little ones like Harrison, this is perfect because he knows his numbers but he thinks that if he sees a 6 anywhere in the clock readout, he’s golden and good to go. So 3:06 or 4:26? Those would all be viable options if we left him with a whole clock to view. But thanks to LMZ (shout out!), we learned the tape over the clock trick and came up with this last Tuesday:

I know. You’re wondering when I married MacGyver who decides to tape clocks to lamps, not to mention, where did we find that awesome lamp?! What can I say? Ben is handy like that and when you combine my soft spot for really unique lamps and Ben’s Grandma Louise’s skills at auctions, you just get awesomeness such as this.

Obviously we were hopeful that Night One of the awesomeness would be a success. It was not. Ben explained the whole concept to HD and he was totally on board, but then his bladder got in the way and he came in during the mid-5s to pee. And then again before 6 to say that the 6 wasn’t there yet. Oh, child of mine! Really?! Unlike our Sleep Buddy attempt, we decided to keep going though (because, frankly, we had no other options/ideas).

Night Two was even worse. Ben had to leave the children unattended for a bit during bedtime to change LT’s diaper and wouldn’t you know it? They messed with the clock. At 12:20 a.m., HD came into our room to tell us, “The clock’s making funny noises in my room” at which point, yes, we could hear the alarm going off and his sister crying! Oh, me. REALLY?!

We stayed the course, however, through the still-too-early risings of Night Three and Night Four and finally, finally! on Night Five we had success! Harrison did not come in until our clock read 6:02! Pardon me while I have a little dance party in honor of his accomplishment………

Of course we have no idea where this will go from here or what holiday travel might to do our sleep in general, but this has me so hopeful that maybe we can retrain his body to wait for the 6s. And do I dare to dream? Perhaps, someday far, far away, a return to the 7s?!

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