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Redefining The Routine

My whole life, I’ve been a night
person. People knew that to call me before 10 a.m. meant to risk
disinheritance – or even dismemberment. When I became a mom,
I didn’t understand why everyone got up so early in the
morning with kids. I swore I wouldn’t be that way, and put
Maddie to bed at 9 p.m. from infancy. When Cora was born and Maddie
was two, Maddie was still sleeping until 9 or 10 a.m. every

Cora, of course, is the Incredible Non-Sleeping Girl, but while
she’s kept me up many nights, she still had the decency to
not get up as early as some of my friends’ kids (5:30. In the
morning.) With Cora, I crabbed if she got up at 7:30, and when
Maddie started preschool and had to get up at 7:45 to be at school
at 9, I thought the world had turned inside out. Where was every
shred of human civility?

Then we had our kindergarten orientation
night, and one parent said, “Exactly when does school start
in the morning?” The teacher smiled and said,

“In the MORNING?” I blurted out. True story.

So it was clear we’d need to revamp our routine, and the past
two weeks we’ve been working on it. Our 9 p.m. bedtime moved
back to 8:30, then 8:15 during preschool, and over the last several
days it’s been pushed back to 7 p.m. I know, right?
I’ve rediscovered all this grown-up time after the kids go to
bed. It’s awesome.

The flip side is that we’ve got to practice getting up in the
morning, too, and that’s not been so fun. We’ve been
gradually scooching it back from the lazy days of summer, when the
girls slept until 8:30 or even 9. Yesterday we hit 7 a.m., and this
morning was the first at 6:50 a.m. The girls are relatively
good-natured about it, since they’re going to bed in (to me)
the middle of the afternoon.

With this sleep shift, everything else has to move too. Our 12:30
or 1 p.m. lunches have given way to 11:30 or so, with my girls
starving by then. And dinner at 6:30 doesn’t work when
bedtime is 7, and we’ve begun to face the new reality that
Daddy may not be home in time for the start of dinner each night.

Finally, nap time is changing for both girls. Yes, Maddie is five
and still takes a nap time. It’s quiet time now, though
she’ll sleep maybe once a week when she’s pooped. But
we’re working to transition to quiet devotional time for her,
and she definitely needs emotional alone time each day to recharge.
Cora – well, she’s been playing games during quiet time
for months. As long as she stays in her room (no guarantee) I live
with it.

My hope is that Cora’s quiet time will shift from 2:30 to
1:30, and end in time to pick Maddie up at school. Maddie will have
half an hour in her room with Bible stories on CD before she starts
the rest of her day. I know for the first few weeks she’ll
probably fall asleep from exhaustion with this new routine, but
I’ll have to wake her in order to make sure she goes to sleep
early enough for me to wake her the next day.


I guess there’s no such thing as a Mommy night owl with
school-age kids.


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