Archive for the ‘Sleep’ Category

Experiments in parenting

Posted: December 7, 2012 in Sleep, Stay At Home Dad

Max and I have accidently been conducting an experiment this week. It has not gone well.

As most of you that know me will know, I am not a morning person. I may have said before that being a stay at home dad, has forced me to change some of my sleep habits. But even when I’m up, I’m not really awake until around noon. So, needless to say, mornings can be kind of crazy.

Anyway. Last week I heard someone talking about how their kids were horrible brats when they watched TV in the mornings, and the behavior continued the rest of the day. This behavior sounded all to familiar to me and was how we’ve been spending an every growing amount of time lately. So, last Sunday Max and I got up in the morning and started playing. There were a few times that he asked about the TV, but when I said no, he would just keep on playing and forget about it. After a few hours of playing I turned on the football games, but continued to play with him and interact more with him. He was by no means perfect. But, at least to me, it seemed like a different kid in many ways.

Monday Jennifer had to stay home because I’d been up pretty much all night and needed to rest. So, things were a little different that day. But we pretty much did the same thing. More interaction and less TV. Even some more time to play Starfall educational games on the computer.

I continued this on Tuesday, with pretty much the same results. He was a much calmer kid and listened to me. It was great.

But then I hit a wall Tuesday night. I can’t even remember exactly what happened, but I didn’t get enough sleep, or at least restful sleep. So, I was exhausted Wednesday morning. I had no energy to play with Max at all. It was all I could do just to stay awake. So, I went back to the old ways. I turned on the TV and tuned out. And so did Max. He changed almost instantly. He kept asking me to play with him, but like the selfish person I can be when I’m tired, I would tell him no, or later, which means no to him. It was hard to watch. But I had no energy to do anything about it. I just told myself that tomorrow would be better. I’d get some good sleep and everything would be better.

As you can probably guess, I haven’t slept well the rest of the week and it’s all fallen apart. The only evidence there is of the beginning of the week, is that Max now asks me to play more than normal. I know that not all of his actions can be placed on the TV or less interaction. I know that there are going to be days where neither one of us are going to be up for much. But I know that I don’t have patience when I’m tired. And so, I’m sure I don’t treat him the best. It’s hard to see, because I know he is a good kid. But he’s learning my bad habits. My moodiness. My selfishness. I see all of these things reflected back to me in my son.

I know that I need to find a way to get normal sleep. He really wants to play with me now. Who knows how long he’ll keep wanting to, if I keep saying no.



Posted: July 30, 2012 in Sleep, Stay At Home Dad

If you know much about me, you know that I have always had a problem with sleep. Not that I don’t like sleep. I love sleep. I just have never been able to get enough. In fact if you look at the times that I’ve been posting blogs lately, you might think that I’ve timed them to go out in the middle of the night. Unfortunately that is no the case. Every one of these blogs has been posted right after writing it.

I truly think that something is wrong with my inner clock. It seems like it’s on a different cycle then everyone else’s. I’ll be fine for a while. Than all of a sudden I won’t be able to sleep for a night. Which leads to some interesting times while taking care of the kids. But then I have to go to bed early that night. And it leads to my days and nights being switched.

Before we had kids I actually thought some of this would help me. Most of my life, I’ve been able to function on very little sleep. In college most of my papers were written in the middle of the night. It’s always been when I do my best thinking. For some reason, my mind thinks a whole lot clearer with little sleep. Maybe that’s another reason these blogs are written in the middle of the night.

But, as it turns out, kids take so much more energy to raise then sitting through a class, or stumbling through another day at work. Max is up and ready to take on the world most days at 6 AM. Before kids, the only time I saw 6 AM was on the end of an all-nighter.

Part of the problem might be that I’m a night person, and in order to be up and moving at 6, I have to go to bed way before my body would normally want to. Plus, after the kids go to bed is the only time I actually get to hang out with just Jennifer. So, it’s not like I just want to rush to sleep as soon as the kids are down. But most nights I’m not too far behind them.

Then it seems like a night will come along, and my body will rebel against this trend and keep me up. Even if I’m in bed. Than the whole cycle gets screwed up, and I’m just trying to tread water to keep up with my kids all day.

Another part of the problem is that I’m getting older and cannot go as long without sleep as I used to. My body knows this and will eventually give out. But my mind hasn’t fully wrapped itself around this idea yet. So, I go into a night like I’ve had the last few nights, where I’ve slept for a good portion of the day, and think I’ll just stay up and then all day tomorrow and I’ll be fine. I might have to go to bed a little early, but nothing major. Then morning rolls around and Jennifer and the kids are wanting to do something, and I’m a zombie sitting in the chair. So, I will eventually head to bed and then I’m up all night again.

Yeah, not a very good way to live. But until my body and my mind both realize that I’m not in my twenties anymore and need to sleep when normal people sleep, I guess this is how it will have to be.