This New Year’s Eve will go down in history as the first time either of my kids made it to midnight. Both of them did it, actually, by the skin of their teeth. In fact, by the time we hit about 11:30, my husband and I were actively trying to keep the girls awake.
Well, by that time, it would have been a shame for them to miss that ball dropping, right?
Lady Gaga and Mayor Bloomberg pushed the button, the ball fell, we all exchanged cheers in my best crystal (yes, even the almost four year old), we all exchanged Happy New Year Kisses and then I trundled both my little New Year babies off to bed.
Obviously, we let them sleep just as late as they wanted to the next morning, and after about ten hours of sleep, I thought we might be okay.
I was wrong.
For kids, it’s not just about the amount of sleep, or even the quality of sleep. It’s also about timing. In fact, timing is everything. When the girls are off their normal sleep routines, bad things happen.
What kinds of bad things? Let’s suffice it to say that there has been more whining, unfounded tears, judgments on my fairness quotient, and fighting in the past few days than in my entire career as a mother, thus far.
And we haven’t quite recovered just yet.
Kimmie is doing better. She hasn’t broken any glasses by shrieking in at least four hours.
Joey is still acting possessed. In fact, one of the teachers in her school asked me if something happened on the way to school this morning. Apparently, my daughter usually greets Mrs. K with a cheerful “Good MORNING!” Today, she barely made eye contact and grunted as she walked past.
No, nothing happened. She’s just off schedule. And going back to school hasn’t helped.
Well, it hasn’t helped her. It’s helped me immensely.
So what have I learned from this latest mistake in my mothering decisions? I’ve learned that I shouldn’t let my kids stay up till midnight. I’ve learned, as I mentioned, that routine is important.
I’ve also learned that I have some truly genius friends. When I was wondering just how I was going to work out not letting the girls stay up again next year, one of my besties suggested changing all the clocks and showing a DVR’d copy of Australia’s New Year’s festivities.
I’m so totally doing that.
In the meantime, how do we get back on track from sleep disturbances? The truth is, there’s not much we can do. Time heals all wounds, including the sleepy ones.
Sleep routines get disrupted for any number of reasons throughout the year. The first thing that springs to mind is Daylight Savings Time. It seems that we’re just getting used to having that extra hour of daylight when we lose it again.
Then there’s the stuff we don’t always consider, like vacations, or even weekends. Any time our kids either hit the sack at a different time, or roll out of bed later (or earlier) than usual, they are going to have some challenges.
Consider, these people are growing, and when do our bodies grow? When we’re sleeping. Also, if we’re talking about a significant difference in timing, we may also be talking about the timing of meals. For example, my girls were noshing on finger foods with me and my husband right up to midnight, and then slept straight through their normal breakfast time the next day.
Sleep disturbances for kids result in more than just being tired; their entire lttle systems get thrown out of whack.
Now that we’re getting back into our normal daily routines, I expect the fall out from our midnight party will start clearing up fairly quickly. In fact, by bedtime last night, both my girls seemed to be feeling closer to their normal sunny selves.
I can tell you, though, that I will definitely think twice before letting the girls stay up for next New Year’s Eve. I’ll also be paying closer attention to what times we’re sleeping on vacations and weekends, and making a concerted effort to make any changes to our routines gradually.
And I’m surely taping Australia’s 2013 party.