"Words like violence break the silence.... Can't you understand, oh my little girl?" -Depeche Mode, "Enjoy the Silence"
You're sound asleep. Not a care in the world. This is the rare, precious time that peace and tranquility reign in your mind and in your home. You half wake up without opening your eyes just to shift into a more comfortable position. And you fall right back asleep.
Only a few moments seem to pass when... you hear it in the distance.
The creak of the floorboards underneath shuffling footsteps. A door slowly creeps open, hissing ever so slightly. Then more footsteps: slow, methodical, somewhat staggered.... accompanied by the familiar rattle of the Lammie.
She makes her way down the hallway, stalking you. She enters your room. Then she speaks.
"Mommy, may I watch something?"
Are you serious? It's six in the morning. On Saturday. This is ridiculous.
"Sure, come on in," my wife answers as she welcomes our daughter into our bed. Then delivers the all-important caveat: "But you have to be quiet so mommy and daddy can sleep more."
So my wife moves closer to me to make room for the peanut. The television comes alive with Sprout. Our quiet dawn is shattered with the annoying sounds of Blues Clues and God knows what else as we try to muster another hour of sleep. Some days, my daughter will say she wants to go downstairs... and she wants one of us to go with her. And we say just a few more minutes.
This is our new normal. And it's all our fault because the first time it happened, we weren't prepared and we just let her in the bed. Now it's a thing.
What happened? Why is she doing this to us? She's always been such a good sleeper. She's been sleeping through the night since she was three months old. And she's woken up at eight, sometimes nine o'clock.... especially on the weekends. She naps... every day... two to three hours a day.
That's it... maybe she can't nap anymore.
So now we are confronted with a choice: give up the nap, and the two or so hours of productivity or rest or both that comes with it. Or keep with the dawn wake-ups.
The one thing I remember hearing the most as expectant parents was about sleep deprivation. "Rest up now," these unhelpful oracles would warn us as if we could bank sleep before the baby comes and use it on those restless nights. I wrote about that, among other things, in my first-ever post here.
More than four years later, we're finally paying our dues. I know we're spoiled, but it doesn't make it any less of a rude awakening.
By the way, this is probably why I Need a Nap, as I wrote here a couple of weeks ago.