posts tagged with 'sleep'

tonight I'm sleeping instead of writing

If you read this blog via an RSS feed or check in regularly—not likely, I know!—you will have noticed that recent posts have been showing up late. The fact is, I'm behind in my writing. I have lots of things I want to write about, but I keep failing to finish posts on time. The last couple nights I stayed up late to catch up from last week—that is, when I wasn't staying up late to get ready for a birthday party. I was delighted to get all that stuff about the end of school and Harvey's birthday down, dated retroactively... but now, after a full day, I find myself behind again! And so very, very tired. So instead of staying up past ten for a fourth night in a row, I'm leaving this note here—low content, but on time!—and I'll try and use tomorrow's writing time for the story about our trip under the highway, or the two waterslides the boys have experienced in the last week. As long as I don't have to take all of it helping the younger writers, that is. We've got a lot going on over here!

the status quo in sleeping

As exciting as the arrival of warmer weather is to all of us, there are things that I find myself missing about winter. Last night, for example, I missed the cold in the bedroom because I had to take off a layer of blankets. That's hard, hard for me to do. See, I love the coziness of our bed, and to me coziness is a product of the fluffiness and weight of the blankets above me. For most of the winter I've had three blankets on me, which was fine. But a couple weeks ago the boys were playing and left a comforter on the floor; passing by, I picked it up and threw it on the bed. There it stayed until bedtime, and when I went to bed it was dark and I didn't want to put it away, so I just went under it. Of course it made the bed even cozier than before! So it's been there ever since. Only... last night I had to throw it off in the middle of the night because I got too warm. So sad.

I'm not the only one in our family who gets used to the situation in their bed and has a hard time changing it; nor the only one who appreciates coziness. Harvey and Elijah both have four blankets. Zion has at least four, plus three or four pillows, a sleeping bag, and infinite stuffed animals. Additionally, Zion also has his fan going every night: he needs the white noise, and also claims he needs the breeze. When it's below 50°F in the boys' room I have a hard time understanding that desire, but last night, when I was forced to give up a precious blanket, I decided he might be on to something...

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is it my bedtime?

One minor benefit of blogging regularly for so many years is that it lets me see how well I've been managing my sleep schedule. Writing is often the very last thing I do in a day, so by checking the date posts are published I can see how long I've been keeping myself up. And it's been pretty late the last couple weeks! There are good reasons to stay up late—it's the only time I get a moment to myself, a moment to think without being assailed by the constant noise of our lovely household—but overall I think I'm better when I manage to retire at a reasonable hour. When I'm up til all hours I'm tired the next day, and then things don't go well and I get frustrated, and then I need even more time the following evening to calm down and collect myself. A vicious cycle.

Even worse, I don't even get to share the evening time with the one member of the family I'd actually like to hang out with by that point. Leah needs to go to bed early; most nights she barely manages to stay awake longer than the kids (in fact, often she doesn't even do that!). So really, I ought to go to bed early and get my quiet alone time in the morning when I'm not collapsing from tiredness. I'm going to try it... keep an eye on those post times if you want to know how I'm doing!

lying down with dogs

I kind of thought that with Leah gone I'd have a little more room in the bed at night. But somehow that hasn't been the case at all—in fact, I think last night I had even less! And it's not the kids' fault: they all stayed in their own beds, as they almost always do nowadays, until Lijah came in a little before first light. No, the problem is the dogs. I think they have spots that they like in the bed, so even without Leah there they're still trying to claim space right in the middle. And even worse, I think they appreciate pressing up against somebody as they sleep, so while they started in the middle by morning I was clinging to a thin sliver of bed, unable to move or roll over lest I tumble off. It wasn't the most restful night.

Add to that the problem of sticking with my usual bedtime—or missing it, rather, because of needing time to be quiet after a long day with the boys—and waking up on Leah and the dogs' schedule. That's at four AM if you're keeping score at home. At least they don't make me walk them at that hour (Leah does, usually). I just let them out for a bit, and then they calm down until six or so and I try to go back to sleep. Unless of course Lijah joins me in the bed... It's a miracle I'm conscious at all!

still napping after all these years

Lijah turns three in a few days, so every afternoon at nap time I have a moment of doubt about whether he's actually going to fall asleep. Not that three is a magical age; I'm told that plenty of kids are still napping well into their fourth year. It's just that Harvey and Zion both gave up any pretense of sleeping during the day when they turned two. Not Lijah! He's still going strong.

Lijah napping, bare feet tucked up under stripey butt

expert napper

Of course, he's always needed more sleep than his brothers do: we noticed that when he was just a month old. And then we also figured out some things about parenting as we practiced on our first couple children. I figured out that, if a boy needs to sleep, I need to make him sleep whether he wants to or not! And with Lijah the key to doing that at nap time is music by the Youngblood Brass Band.

When I wrote about his affection for the group back in 2015 I noted that the soporific effect their tunes had on him was wearing off. But then Leah started working more hours and, in an effort to keep our homeschooling days sane, I instituted a hard line on nap time based on mandatory listening. It works! (I wrote about the first day of the program, before I knew it was going to be a thing.)

Lijah's reaction to the prospect of napping goes in phases. At first, fully cognizant of how tired he is mid-afternoon, he was happy to relax and fall asleep. Then he started to push back some, by whining or by trying to start a conversation. With the magic music backing me up, I could indulge him a little—with the reminder that we were going to listen to our three or four songs regardless. Lately, I just turn on the songs and give him some time to finish up what he's doing; before too long he comes right over for me to pick him up. It's kind of nice! (it also helps that the other two boys have their own rest time routine down pat).

Not everything is lovely and easy. As ever, there are many ways in which he is horrible, or at least ridiculous. But I love him a lot, especially when he's had enough sleep. So I'm glad that part's still working out!

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at least we have asparagus

As seems to be the case most of the time, we're feeling pretty busy and exhausted around here. I've had many moments during the day when I blinked and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep for a couple seconds. Which is why it was even more frustrating than usual when, at the beginning of the week, I had a couple nights where I was up for what felt like a considerable amount of time, too stressed to fall asleep. What was I stressed about? Oh, work, some; and homeschooling; but mostly the garden. There's so much that I should have done and haven't! Amateur farming is hard work. Luckily, there's always the asparagus.

a bundle of asparagus on the kitchen table

one day's take

I think I planted our asparagus patch back in 2008 or so (and then I added some more plants in 2011). As I've mentioned before, it was a little work to get set up, but now we just sit back and let the deliciousness pour in. It's lovely, and all the sweeter when I see how much asparagus goes for in the stores. I think I've picked about $40 worth so far, and it's still coming in! Do you have an asparagus patch in your yard? You should!

(In researching for this post I find I write nearly the same things almost every year. I don't remember any of it. Must be memory loss from never sleeping. Stay tuned: more excitement about asparagus coming May 2017!!!)

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chicken alarm

I've had some very productive mornings lately, thanks to my ever-reliable (at least at this time of year) feathered alarm clocks:

the chickens scratching in the garden before sunrise

chickens in the gloaming

I'm not sure whether their behavior is learned or innate, but by making an unholy racket every morning the hens get me up at an ever-earlier hour to let them out into the yard and give them a handful of scratch—at which point they mostly shut up for an hour or two.

There's certainly the possibility that, left unchecked, their predawn noise would wake up the kids in our house; but actually I'm more concerned about the neighbors. Our kids are up at 6 anyways most days, but I'm sure that our immediate neighbors keep more civilized hours. They're nice folks, and I wouldn't want them to take against us and our livestock any more than they already have.

Not that I've had any evidence that they've ever heard the early-morning chorus. In fact, a couple days ago our neighbors on one side had a problem with their car alarm, which went off at around 5:15—and kept sounding for long enough for Leah to get up, go next door, and ring the bell. They didn't hear the alarm, but at least they responded to the doorbell.

My post on facebook about the incident might have seemed a little grumpy—might even have seemed to suggest I'd let the hens make some noise in order to get back at those neighbors. Far from it! I only meant that I'd be less worried about chicken sounds now that I know a car alarm immediately under their bedroom window doesn't bother them. I'm still going to let the hens out though, just in case. And it's not so bad, getting to read or garden in the crepuscular peace.

Especially if I manage to get to bed before 10. Still working on that part.

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truth

Can't write, sleeping.

underslept

OK, so it wasn't only bread that took so much of my time last week. Work and hospitality also played a big role in keeping me away from the writing desk. But I can assure you that getting any extra sleep had no role in my lack of blogging time: I haven't made it to bed before 10:30 in close to a week. And before you scoff, if you're a young person who keeps more fashionable hours: I regularly get woken up in the night for tuck-in service, and then I'm up at 6:00. That's not enough sleeping. Yet I keep not going to bed. There's so much to do around here!

dark for sleeping

Despite the fact that it's really warm again, there's one big way it's feeling wintery around here: light levels. A week and a half before the time change it's dark before too long after dinner, and dark well after it's time to wake up. It's a little frustrating from the point of getting things done outside. On the other hand, it's great for the sleeping! This evening the boys were all quiet in bed by 7:15, and Leah followed within an hour. I don't want to say anything to jinx it, but we may be ready to start chipping away at our gigantic summer sleep debt!

After we get back from the church retreat this weekend, that is.