"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Everett, anxieties, and midnight math

Everett is 6 1/2 at the time of this writing.  He is energetic, passionate, and affectionate.  He is also one of the happiest kids I know.... except when he isn't.  The past few months have been difficult for him, in a few different ways, and we are slowly and carefully navigating our way through to what we hope will be a calmer year for him. 

One of the areas that has given him trouble lately has been sleeping (an area in which, as most of you know, I can well relate!)  We've had an odd dynamic to our nighttime routine the past several weeks, but I think we are finally settling into a temporary solution that is working for everyone.  I say 'temporary' because if there's one thing I can count on with our young kids and sleeping arrangements, it is their fluidity.  As they grow and change, their needs change too.  We just try to stay flexible enough to keep up with them.

Prior to recently, Everett - along with his brothers - would go to bed as soon as he was tired, and would have no trouble going to sleep.  Lately though, he's really been having issues going to sleep, and doesn't want to be in his bedroom alone (which was creating a problem, given the fact that his 10 year old roommate generally stays up quite a bit later)  I couldn't stay with him, because nine times out of ten I'm laying down with the girl in our bed at the same time.  Mike couldn't stay with him either, because nine times out of ten he's in bed too, being the only one to have to rise at 5 in the morning.  And so..... now our nights look like this:

I usually go to bed with the girl whenever she is ready, and Mike joins us shortly thereafter.  Everett comes into our bed too,  and lays with us (king sized bed = best piece of "children's" furniture we ever invested in).  Spencer generally goes to bed next, and stops in to say goodnight when he's near our room to brush his teeth.  Paxton, an introvert  like his mom who really relishes his nightly time alone, is the last to turn in.  He stops in our room to collect Everett - who is sleeping by then - and the two of them head to their room together.

It works. 

And the bonus is that after Tegan's sleeping, and the room is dark and quiet, it's just another chance for a one-on-one late night connection with me and Everett as he quiets his mind enough to go to sleep.  Last night, just as I was about to drift off myself, we had a conversation that went something like this:

E:  Mommy?
Me:  Yes honey
E:  You know what I just realized?
Me:  What?
E:  Ten plus ten equals twenty.
Me:  You're right.


E: Mommy?
Me: Yes
E:  You know how I know?
Me:  How?
E:  I was counting by fives.  Two fives is ten, and four fives is twenty.  You can make twenty with four groups of fives, or with two groups of ten.
Me:  You're right.  That's multiplication.
E:  It is?
Me:  Yep.
E:  Cool.  Goodnight Mommy.

Thirty seconds later, he was out.  And he was happy.


Jessica said...

My Six Year Old says mathematical things like that, too. Love it.

Okay, so here's where I admit that we're not very "Radical" in our bedtimes. We do actually "put" our boys to bed, though the time varies. My husband reads the bible to them every night in the form of storytelling as they lay in bed. But the time varies from anywhere from 8:00 to 10:00. Four year old almost always falls asleep mid story, and Six Year Old is happy to stay in bed after that. However, if two year old has snagged a nap during the day, he's never tired yet and will wander back out after the lights have been turned out. This really frustrates my husband because he sees it as disobeying, but I've been working on him a lot the last few months to realize this is just a season in our life. When the other kids were two, they stayed up later, too. And he won't be 2 forever. One day he'll be big and gone. :(

I let my Ten Year Old stay up later though. She loves the time alone in her room at night without brothers. She's a night owl, and I think she would stay up past midnight every night if I "let" her. But I do ask her to get up every morning at 8:00 to take her dog out to use the bathroom (the responsibility she inherited from begging for a dog for so many years :) So I worry that if she stayed up too late she wouldn't get enough sleep. So by 10:00 or 11:00 I recommend that she get some sleep. And she does.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. :)

jen said...

Jessica, my husband is not quite on the same page as me when it comes to the kids and nighttime too. But we're getting closer :-)

One of the reasons that I'm okay with everyone sort of following their own sleep schedule is that because of our lifestyle, most days they can sleep in as long as they need to. 10yo is on a pattern right of going to bed at about 1:00, and getting up at maybe 11:00. And it works for us. 14yo is the one who feeds/lets out the dog and chickens in the morning, mostly because he was always an early riser. Now that he's a teen, he sleeps quite a bit later... but the animals have adjusted ;-)

Jessica said...

Our dog's version of adjusting is peeing on the bathroom rug. :)

jen said...

Yikes... yeah, pee on the floor would be a good motivation to get someone up by 8!


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