Baby, I was born this way.

Lately, we’ve been a little worried about Matthew, because since school started a few weeks ago, he’s been having a little trouble falling asleep at night.

I should, by the way, preface this by saying that he’s our first-born, so while we pretend that we know how to parent an adolescent 7th grader, he’s really our practice child.  We hope to have it down by the time we get to the next one.

But, back to the problem.

It seems that whatever is on his mind seems to crop up after the sun goes down.  He’s a perfectly cheerful, goofy, seemingly well-adjusted child until then.  And then suddenly after about 8:00 p.m., he worries that he’s going to fail a math test, miss the bus, misplace his soccer cleats, lose his phone, or never get into college.

Last night, I was wondering why this only happens at night.  And then I remembered back to when Matthew was 9, and when he was 3, and when he was born, and realized this has kind of always been just who he is.

A pacifier

We brought Matthew home from the hospital after he was born, and I have some really super memories of Dave swinging him around in that little car seat carrier thing inside the house, trying to get him to go to sleep.  And I remember doing some serious time in the glider with Matthew in my lap, trying to get him to go to sleep.  I remember driving him around at naptime, trying to get him to go to sleep.  In fact, the majority of my memories from Matthew’s infancy revolve around trying to get him to go to sleep.

Finally, when Matthew was about a year old, he could fall asleep on his own, but only with a pacifier.  Out of desperation for some sleep, we would leave 3 or 4 pacifiers in his crib every night, so he could always find one and get himself back to sleep.  He perfected what we started referring to as the “pacifier derby,” where he’d try all of them until he found the one that was just perfect. This worked out well, until we eventually realized that if we didn’t someday make him learn to sleep without a pacifier, he’d need to take a bunch to college with him.  So we started the painstaking process of taking them away, one at a time, until he could fall asleep without it.

To help Matthew get through the lonely nights without a pacifier, we started putting some classical music on the CD player in his room, to soothe him to sleep.  This was a brilliant idea, we thought, until a few weeks later, when he started waking up around midnight, crying for us because the music had turned off.  Every night.  Like I said, he’s our practice kid, so we didn’t really know this was going to happen.

Fast-forward a few years.  Matthew was 9 years old, and finally falling asleep on his own without the help of any props.  We were doing some construction on our house and had to move out for a few months.  We were fortunate to find a nice apartment in our town where Dave and I had a bedroom and the boys had their own loft space upstairs.  Unfortunately, the room wasn’t an exact replica of Matthew’s bedroom at home.  He could hear his little brother snoring in the bed next to him.  Occasionally, the guy who lived downstairs would cook something that smelled weird late at night.  And so it started again.  And unfortunately, by this point, Matthew was too big for a pacifier or a rocking chair, so it just took a lot of patience on our part.  Eventually, we moved back home, and Matthew happily slept in his own bed, with only the need for complete darkness to fall asleep.  That, I can work with.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that we’ve all got our personality traits and our quirks.  And while I do think that sometimes our environment affects how we turn out, if we think about it just a little bit, sometimes we can chalk it up to just coming into this world a certain way.


Holy crap, I’m tired.

Ever have one of those days where you look longingly at your bed in the morning as you’re making the bed and fluffing the pillows, thinking, “Just a few more hours, my darling, and we shall meet again?”  And I’m not talking about those days when you just want to lay down for a few more minutes.  I mean those days when the thought of another full night’s sleep is appealing by 8 a.m.

I sometimes have days where for no apparent reason, I’m just tired for a lot of the day.  I don’t remember being this way in my 20s, and probably not in my 30s either.  And I know there are things I could be doing (aside from making coffee my immediate priority when I wake up in the morning) that would allegedly provide me with more energy.

English: A pile of pillows.

English: A pile of pillows. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hear that exercise can help.  But frankly, when I’m this tired, who has the energy to work out?  It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

And unfortunately, I’m just not a napper.  When I do nap, which is rare, I wake up in worse shape than I fell asleep in, and it takes hours for me to shake that groggy feeling.  And besides, I don’t know many people who have that much time on their hands where they can curl up with a blankie for a while in the middle of the day.  Maybe when I’m retired.  Or the next time I get the flu.

In the meantime, ugh.


HOW late is it??!

I like to think I’m fun to be around.  But really only until about 9:00 p.m.

Tonight, we went out to dinner with some new friends – a few families with their kids.  We finished at the restaurant around 8:00, and everyone else went back to one house so the kids could play and the adults could hang out.  We, on the other hand, came home so we could get a tired 8-year-old to bed at a reasonable time, to do our best to not start off the weekend with a sleep deficit.


This is really nothing new for me, or my family.  In college, I was one of the few people I knew who could actually manage an 8:00 a.m. class (mostly because by 11:00, I’d be knocking on my neighbor’s dorm room door, asking her to turn down her music).  Back then, on most Sunday mornings, no matter how late I’d been out on Saturday, I’d be up by 9:00, doing laundry and hoping that someone else would wake up so I’d have somebody to accompany me to the dining hall for brunch before I crumpled in a heap on the laundry room floor.

With a few late-night exceptions, my life has continued along happily this way.  I was able to find myself a great guy who also doesn’t love late nights (When we celebrated our 15th anniversary last year, a friend chalked the success of our marriage up to the fact that we are both often asleep by 10:00).  And I guess some of this is genetic, because our kids are just like us.  When Matthew was a baby, we tried our best to keep him on what I think now was a pretty complicated sleep schedule, because if we veered off course by more than about 30 minutes in either direction, it could get ugly.  Switching the clocks for daylight savings time was a nightmare.  Both kids have gotten a lot more flexible as they’ve gotten older, but usually, we all would still would rather go to bed early.

As I’ve grown into adulthood, I’ve realized that I just came this way, and that’s okay with me; I consider it part of my charm.  I can take the jokes from friends and have learned to laugh at myself.  But please don’t call me after 9.