We have gone from one extreme to the other in our household. Liam, non-sleeper numero uno, has gone from not sleeping for the better part of his life, to sleeping like a teenager. I honestly did not think that I’d see the day when I’d have to rip the curtains open… and then shut them again… and then open them again REALLY enthusiastically to stir him out of his slumber, all the while singing “Good morning, good morning, good morning to the whole wide world” in my best Barney voice. I wouldn’t mind this ritual – if it worked. But it doesn’t. Here’s how it usually goes….
I bounce into his room, singing Barney wakey wakey songs – nothing, I do my curtain pulling trick – nothing, I take his clothes out of the wardrobe very noisily (still singing) – nothing. I do incy wincy spider on his back, I tickle his toes, this usually elicits a few unhappy groans but his eyes remain closed and his thumb remains in his mouth. My patience starts to wane at this point because I hear the hubby yelling from downstairs that we are going to be late if I sing one more stupid Barney song instead of just yanking the kid awake. This from a man who isn’t a morning person either, can you tell? I wouldn’t like to be yanked out of my sleep, so I do try and make the transition from sleeping to waking as pleasant as possible for Liam, but he really makes it difficult. So with hubby on my back, I pump up the jam and start undressing Liam while he is still asleep. His automatic response is to curl up into the foetal position, so I have to stretch him out and THAT is when the real drama actually unfolds. Out come the waterworks, along with some kicking and screaming for my theatrical pleasure. Then HE pumps up the jam and goes into a full blown tantrum, and quite honestly, the last thing a person wants first thing in the morning, is to deal with a tantrum. So I get worked up and annoyed, I threaten him with all sorts of things, I try and dress him while belting out threats and dodging flailing arms and kicking legs. All this commotion wakes Hannah, who IS a morning person generally, but her chirpiness soon turns to irritation because Liam is just being so darn noisy and irritating that we are all thrown into an unpleasant mood. I manage to get his bottoms on, but the top is a bit more difficult because he won’t sit up and he does that floppy break-dance-man move AND he won’t take his thumb out of his mouth (yes, my wonder boy can scream and throw a tantrum with his thumb in his mouth – beat that!) and well I have to basically straddle him to make it work. Once he is dressed, he sort of settles down because now he is fully awake – awake but still grumpy. He drags himself to the bathroom where I first have to let him brush his own teeth which is time consuming but necessary unless I want another tantrum. He has one of those toothbrushes that light up and sing for the duration of the time you are supposed to brush your teeth, I think it’s two minutes. I thought this was quite nifty and I spent a lot of time explaining to Liam that we needed to brush for that long to make sure that our teeth were sparkly clean and that we got rid of all the germs so that our teeth wouldn’t fall out. Worked like a charm. But of course the things you tell your children always come back to bite you in the gum… He insists that I let him brush for the WHOLE song time, just like I told him too, even though I go over his brushing myself. It’s hard to go back on my word and tell him that we are late and that his teeth won’t rot if we brush for less than two minutes for just one darn day! THE.LONGEST.TWO.MINUTES.OF.MY.LIFE. Oh, and the toothbrush doesn’t have a battery, I have checked.
So I touch up his teeth, we wash face and hands, brush hair and apply sun block. And it’s at this point that I finally see my real son – the happy go lucky talkative Liam – emerge from under that sleepy veil. By the time the real Liam emerges, I am tired and fed up, my makeup is already melting due to the fine sweat I have worked up while trying to wake my son up and I feel like how Liam probably felt when he was woken from his slumber.
This whole saga is partly our fault. On the weekends, Liam sleeps until about 7h30am and wakes up smiling and happy. During the week, because we live so far from school and where we work, he has to wake up at 5h45am. I do feel bad for him and we are in the process of finding a home closer to work and school, but for now this is our lot. Unfortunately there are many people who have to wake up early and get going in the mornings because we are not all fortunate to live a stone’s throw away from where we need to be everyday, other people have to use public transport and this means they too have to be up at sparrow’s fart. That’s life. But you can’t exactly explain that to a toddler, so almost every morning (because there are days when he surprises us and plays his part) our day starts like this. Most people who see me first thing in the morning at work, look at me sadly and ask if I had a bad night with the babies… they look taken aback when I explain that every morning my toddler morphs into a teenager who loves his sleep. And I’m too tired to bother explaining further than that.
You gotta love those old wives… when they said you should never wake a sleeping baby, they were not telling tales.