Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jackson Standard Time

We have really been doing the Lord's work trying to get Jackson to sleep like a normal human. The first 9 months, he didn't really sleep (at all), but for a while thereafter we seemed to be on the right track, going to bed at a reasonable hour and with reasonable effort, making it through the night, waking up around 6:30 or even 7 on the occasional weekend. But then, a month or two before Caroline was born he just started waking up earlier and earlier, to the point where a couple of weeks ago he rose at a dawn best determined by, say, Newfoundland time (GMT -2:30), demanding that breakfast be served RIGHT NOW. We've tried bringing him to bed with us (Fail), leaving him in there to scream (not much better), and everything in between.

Just a week or two ago, my brilliant wife Doc had the great idea of getting a binary image clock, with a picture of a sleeping bunny tucked soundly in bed that is illuminated during the night, and then a waking playing bunny that lights up when it is "OK" to get up. We've had mild success training him to (more or less) stay quiet and lay down until the waking bunny lights up, at which point in time he proudly leaps to his feet, shouts "UP!", and starts screaming if relief doesn't promptly appear. We've already convinced him that the kitchen doesn't open until 6:30 regardless of when he gets up, but he seems happy to catch 30 minutes of Sesame Street on the couch pre-Cheerios, while Dad nods off until Elmo shows up (c'mon: I challenge you to find anyone that can actually sleep through Elmo. I am a much bigger fan of Cookie and Snuffy, myself).

But then there comes along the timeless enemy of Daylight Savings Time. Or rather, it's evil twin Eastern Standard Time. Not that one is better or worse than the other, actually - it is just the changeup that throws us for a loop. How do you explain to a toddler that 6am is now just 5am? I have no idea.

So we gave it our best shot, changed the clocks over about halfway through UNC's miraculously lucky win over FSU, and instead of getting an hour of extra sleep (or bar time) like we used to in years gone by, we all had an extra hour of afternoon.  Then off to bed to await the impending disaster, the bunny clock faithfully set for the "new" 6am. And wouldn't you know it, he popped up at 5am and started screaming, but 3 minutes later quieted down and slept (or was at least quiet) until I walked in to check on him at 6:15 - or was it 7:15? (I am already losing track). Needless to say, I was surprised, and have absolutely no expectations about Monday morning. Whatever happens, we are apparently not in charge - we're all just on Jackson Standard Time.

UPDATE: Much to our amazement (and frustration, since our alarm still went off at 5:50), intrepid young Jack slept until 6:45 this morning. Great parenting or Luck o'the Irish? We'll let you decide.

You know, writing this blog post made me wonder a bit just how important Daylight Savings Time is. I mean, I would keep it around (if I didn't have children) but only for reasons of nostalgia, not anything approaching practicality. But it is funny how much we adults have just come to accept its strangeness, almost by rote force of habit. In the Fall, we say "sweet, another hour of sleep (or bar time), and in the Spring we grumble but we know that is the penance we pay for staying at Top of the Hill until 3am instead of 2. So we go forth and don't even consider for a minute "not playing along." Ah, the innocence of youth.

1 comment:

Meredith Daniels said...

I shouldn't laugh at your lack of sleep but you are such an entertaining writer! I'm glad I don't have to live on Jackson Standard Time :) Good luck tomorrow morning!