Friday, November 02, 2007


Circle of life...

When we brought home our first little bundle of joy, we realised pretty quickly, as expected, that the accustomed 'us' time of an evening was going to be disrupted. For some years at least - especially when we had another two babies after that one!

We are pretty fortunate to have had reasonably good sleepers... compared to many horror stories I've heard. We had occasional 'issues', but nothing like ongoing reflux or the like to deal with.

Our first child, in particular, seemed to have inherited our 'night owl' genes - it was difficult to put her to bed at night, but once she was asleep we'd get a good 10 hours out of her, and consequently the luxury of sleeping in. Swings and roundabouts, as they say. We could cope with that. Even if , when she hit toddler age, we went through a period of having to lock her in her bedroom listening to her scream till she fell asleep. She used to climb out of her cot.. and later the bed... and then fall asleep on the floor - on one occasion right up against the door! (I promise there were no scratch marks on the door!) The 'tough love' worked and we gradually got our evenings back again.

Being the disorganised person that I am, even as the kids were older, I was never capable of getting them to bed as early as 6 or 7pm like some people, so I probably did myself out of a fair bit of 'potential 'no kids' time. The flipside was that they have never woken us at the crack of dawn, so we were ok with that. And once they were old enough, we were always guaranteed some 'us' time for a few hours. Probably we started going to bed later and later just to get that 'no kids' time in the evening after they'd finally gone to bed, but still.

Wind on the years. I always feared that #1's sleeping habits would come back to bite us, and so they have. Even before she was a teenager she was a shocker to get out of bed in the morning. Payback time for all those times we smugly slept in on weekend mornings - people who rang at 8 am and woke us could not believe it was possible! - "But you have a baby!" they cried in disbelief.)

Now we have to all but drag her out of bed by 7.45 - in time for her to catch the school bus at 8.15. She resents any attempts to wake her any earlier than that, and we've had a few ding dong arguments over that. (Along the lines of "I am not your maid. If it suits me to wake you at 7.30 so I can get on with what I need to do, then I will wake you at 7.30.")

We are coping with that. An uneasy truce, you'd call it. (And hilariously she's just taken on a paper run two days a fortnight, and so has to get herself up before 6.30! - Love it.)

The worst bit is the inclination for them to stay up later and later. Both the 14 and 12 year old are shockers to get to bed. They dilly dally, and, inexplicably, often manage to take an hour between being sent to bed, and actually getting between the sheets. They sneak down the stairs and watch tv shows from behind our backs. (Then the reading addiction kicks in, which is another problem, but at least they aren't downstairs with me.) Why they do this constantly amazes me, because all they get is one cranky mother. They even joke about me turning into The Woodpecker - which is the type of kiss they get when they finally manage to say their goodnights. A hard peck born of the frustration of umpteen "GO TO BED"s. Get the picture?

Last night Ms 14 was dragging her heels on a school assignment.. She was still working on it at 10.30, and as I got stroppier and stroppier I realised that it was more than just annoyance that she'd wasted time in the afternoon when she should have been doing her homework. THIS was intruding into my downtime with Marc. Again. It's slightly more precious downtime too, given the years he worked away so much and I only had myself for company every night.

Having to share this evening time with one's offspring is going to become even more commonplace - particularly when we have the computers in the loungeroom. (I am loathe, however, to succumb to allowing her computer/internet access in her room - though how we are going to manage that when she is in senior high school I'm not sure.)

And so we come full circle, and I am going to have to get used to a phase of parenting where we lose our ''us' time again. Either that or build a bigger house, give them unfettered internet access in their rooms.. or start counting down till they move out.

Am I awful that I want and need that 'no kids' time with the Daddy of my children?

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No you're definitely not awful - I say every night that if Ben wants a story it has to be finished before 8pm, as after that I'm not available. (Hannah is generally in bed before then).
Unless they're ill of course.
But they'd have to be pretty damn ill, as in throwing up, not just a tummy ache.
I'm dreading when they get old enough to legitimately stay downstairs later than that!
Absolutely not. I am a SAHM too and ample "no kid time" is essential to my overall sanity!!!!
I require that my kids go to bed at a decent hour, which is a struggle with Mister who con't seem to get it together until 8:30 - 9pm.I woudl be happy if they were in bed asleep by 8pm.
I too have fears about when they are teens and going to bed at 9pm is uncool, I would be happy to have them be in their rooms by 9pm reading until they were tired though - lights out 10:30pm. Oh in an ideal world hey!
I agree with no computers in rooms, you hear so many chatroom horror stories involving predators and unsuspecting kids.

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