It is summer and with summer comes a desire by children to stay up later. Sometimes they even get to stay up past their usual bedtime. While it is true that school is out for the summer and they don’t have to get up early to get ready for school, it is also true that letting them stay up later cramps our style as parents seeking relief from children who are awake. This week I have encountered two new excuses why it was necessary to be awake past their bedtime.
Earlier this week I had gone up to check on the girls and find out why two sleeping girls were making so much noise. Of course, they were awake, clamouring for “fresh” water and reading books. I am all for reading books and I am pretty enthusiastic that they want to look at and read books on their own. Our six year old has recently discovered after much practice and prodding by her father that she can in fact read a book. So I was quite excited to discover her reading in bed without my encouragement to do so.
She was quite cooperative when I asked her to put the books away and lie down with her eyes closed. She listens to the same “Quiet Time Raffi” CD every night and has done so for years. I don’t think she even actually hears it anymore other than to notice when it is not on. She has some specific bed time routines that are required, including us singing Baby Beluga to her – every night. On a number of occasions lately I have been accused of forgetting to sing to her before she goes to sleep. This was not actually the case. It is so routine for her that sometimes she doesn’t notice that I am singing to her. She is busy thinking about something else. For that reason I periodically switch up the words and throw some nonsense into the song to see if she is paying attention. Plus it makes it more interesting for me since I often forget where I am in the song, I have sung it so many times.
Our four year old, on the other hand… I can’t remember exactly what she was doing, but she was also awake and rejecting the concept of sleeping while in bed after her bed time. I asked her to lie down, close her eyes and listen to her music. She told me that wouldn’t work because it was too hard to close her eyes. Of course she is right. I am pretty sure that this was one of the Herculean tasks. I told her I would be back in ten minutes and I expected to see her with her eyes closed. She was of course asleep when I returned – with her eyes closed.
Tonight Laura and I were taking advantage of the warm summer evening without humidity and sitting in the backyard after putting the girls to bed. After a while I realized I could hear someone talking who should have been sleeping. I went in to check on the girls and heard scampering feet as I climbed the stairs. They were both wide-awake sitting up in their beds. The six-year old told me the four-year old was lonely. The four-year old was sitting up in bed reading. I told them both to lie down and close their eyes. In response the four-year old gave me her best excuse for not sleeping yet – ” I’m too tired to lie down.”
Really, how can I argue with that?