Monday, July 6, 2009

Night Owl

When my son was born 21 years ago, it soon became clear that this little baby had his days and nights mixed up.  He was a night owl.  I tried to no avail to change his schedule.  I read books to teach myself how to train him to sleep at night so that we could have some kiddy free time and, possibly, a life during the day.  No matter what tactics I used, it was an impossible parenting task.

His bedtime used to be torture for the entire family.  We'd start preparing him around 8 PM and by 9, we'd put him in his room and shut the door.  He would cry and cry until I finally got him up to do whatever it was he felt he couldn't miss.  In desperation, I bought a book titled, "Help Your Child to Sleep at Night."  I took the author's recommendations seriously:
  1. Start dropping hints that bedtime was approaching.
  2. Develop a bedtime routine like a warm bath followed by a calming book to read.
  3. If the little brat sweet little thing cries when you lay him in bed, pull up a chair and sit next to him until he falls asleep, but don't interact with him-just be there.  Each night, move your chair further and further away from the bed until finally, it's outside the door, and so are you.
  4. Once asleep, ignore your inner voice to let the sleeping dog lie, and awaken the crabby little babe earlier and earlier each day.  This will give you a tired little thing by bedtime.
  5. Have a little faith that with practice, your sweet little bundle of joy will learn to sleep at night so that you can get a little shuteye yourself.
  6. Under no circumstances should you sprinkle melatonin on his ice cream at night.  He'll learn to go to sleep on his own in a drug free manner.  Eventually.
Needless to say, none of the above helped, but I did find if I sprinkled the melatonin in my own dish of ice cream, I slept well.  

To this day, my son doesn't begin to function until noon, and stays up way into the wee hours on a nightly basis.  He isn't alone though-I'm right there with him.  He is hardwired to be this way, and he got it from me.  I got it from my dad and it's the main reason I feel my best when I'm working a night shift.  I stay up late and sleep in a little later than most.  It's nearly impossible to fight nature, isn't it?

I'm reminiscing about sleep disturbances today because the painters woke me up.  Again.  It was at the butt-crack of dawn which would not have been bad if I hadn't stayed up watching movies until 3 AM with my son.  They're so meticulous and slow that one would think they're painting the Sistene Chapel and not a 1,400 square foot bungalo.  Every single weekday evening, I think to myself that they must be close to done only to be awakened at 8 AM by the loud mouth from hell.  

I officially hate Ronnie and find myself wishing for him to be struck by vocal cord paralysis that will last the length of his job across the street.  Once again, I've emailed the dolts and today, I left them a voicemail that perhaps they could experiment using their indoor voices that early in the morning.  Maybe I could take them a snack sprinkled with melatonin...


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry! I shouldn't laugh; but I'm wondering what in the world these guys are THINKING! You should make them FEAR you !!! LMAO

Winifred said...

I had one of those sons too. Problem was he never slept at all despite having a quite serious heart defect. You would imagine that these children would rest more. He drove me mad because I used to worry so much. Well until he got to about 18 and he started going to the pub. After that it was like trying to wake the dead!

I have to admit he takes after me, I'm a night owl too.

What a pain those painters are for you. They're obviously spinning out the work. Here we have a saying it's like painting The Forth Bridge, (it's in Scotland). That's because when they get to the end, they start all over again. Maybe that's their ploy. Might be worth saying to your neighbours, that it must be costing them a fortune!

Silliyak said...

They may be flushed with pride at the thought of working on the Cistern Chapel!

Pyzahn said...

I suppose it's all part of a master plan that some folks are night owls. Otherwise there would be no one to work the late shift. And in your line of work, the late shift is very important.

Do you want me to send my Uncle Guido to deal with Ronnie?

Jane said...

You poor thing. I think my kids must feel the same as you. I've been the painter at our house and have got started every day way before any healthy teenager is up in the morning!

Renie Burghardt said...

Well, all three of my kids were early to bed, early to rise-ers, from little on, and still are. So am I. So no problems there. Have you tried ear plugs, Rudee? Or a threat of bodily harm to Ronnie, if he doesn't pipe down? Haha.

Gail said...

Have you seen the commercial where they glue the hammer to the ceiling? Maybe something along that line might quiet them down a little.

It is difficult to let a child cry himself to sleep. I was a softie and just worked around their schedule. Now I could not do that.

Rositta said...

Maybe those painters are being paid by the hour instead of a fixed price. That would explain the snail's pace. I'm a night owl too as is my son. My husband on the other hand, heads off to bed by ten at the latest...ciao

Anonymous said...

Man that early morning painting is for the birds. Night work is probably just right for you, but those early morning are a no no.

Brenda said...

Maybe you could pay the dancing bikini gals to start their party at 8am to distract the painter. Those ear plugs worked for the snoring hubby. Have ya tried those? I am guessing you have and he is just too loud and so his his hammer.
My son didn't let us get a nights sleep until he was about 3. The pediatrician told me to lock him in his room until he got the message. He said a child psychologist would tell me the same thing. Lunatics.

Kathleen said...

Well, I thought I'd conquered the nightowliness, until I discovered blogging. Good God! What has happened to me?

Grrrr....I think you need to have a word with Ronnie. Before you brush your teeth. Get right in his face and let him have it! (That's what I'd do if I had any guts!)

Our neighbor had a lovely stone entry way put in a couple summers ago. OMG, talk about loud. Like waking up next to a chain gang.

At least when they blasted music, it was music I liked.

Poetikat said...

What movies were you watching?


Lisa L said...

You are just the opposite of soon as I sit/lie on the couch to watch a movie? I'm out. Like the proverbial light. Drives me insane, but cannot help it. Anything past 10p is considered a late night :)

Sandy said...

My youngest son and I are the same way. He can't even begin to fall asleep until 5 in the morning. I'm okay until about 2 but lately I turn in earlier. Now on to catch up.