Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The need for sleep

Not me, but Mayhem.

I’m not sure what time he is waking up but it’s around 5am most days I think. I can always tell when he has an early morning because by 5pm he’s a bundle of tired just waiting for an excuse to freak the heck out. The littlest thing can trigger it.

Sunday I made pot roast for dinner. He watched me put the meat & the veggies in the crock pot. We talked about potatoes, carrots & turnips & why I was peeling them. He knew what all encompasses the phrase ‘pot roast’, that it is meat & vegetables.

But, when 5:30 rolled around he decided he didn’t want any vegetables, just meat. DH said he had to eat a  bite of carrot and the white veg (no way of knowing if it was turnip or potato) and Mayhem lost his little mind. He screamed and he cried and he had hysterics at the thought of having to eat a bite of carrot and turnip. Both of which he has eaten – in pot roast – as recently as two weeks ago, with no complaints. In between the sobs he says over and over “but what if I hate it?”. Then you swallow, drink some juice and rejoice that it is over. It is one bite. And you like it. But he couldn’t calm down & couldn’t be reasoned with and so was taken to his room and put in bed, where 5 minutes later he was asleep.

Monday was a red eyed hysterical sobbing fit about wanting to go to McDonalds after TKD at 5:45. Even though he had been told before we left for TKD that there would be no McD’s, but mac & cheese instead and he had asked for Spongebob mac & cheese & was perfectly happy with the plan at 4:30.

Tuesday’s melt down was because there was no dessert. There isn’t always a dessert. Desserts are a random reward for good behavior during the day and at mealtimes. Trashing your bedroom & failing to clean it up despite repeated reminders before dinner is not good behavior. Havoc took this setback with his usual sulking & blaming others. Mayhem threw himself on his bench and wailed as though I had thrown all his toys away. Screaming “I not doing my homework now since you are being mean to me!!!!” in between sobs. He spent about a half hour on this fit, screaming, crying, protesting the unfairness of it, accusing me of being mean & not loving him and generally being really really annoying. I ignored most of it , only sending him back to the table whenever his fit carried him out of the room and eventually his homework was completed.

Then he says “I really tired Mama. I am going to bed now.” it was 7:15.

When he sleeps until 6 or 6:30 this behavior rarely happens. I don’t know why they are both suddenly up at all hours. Havoc came in our room at 1am the other night & said Mayhem was keeping him awake & could he sleep with us? DH went back and Mayhem had apparently gotten up, went in the living room, got his DS, took it back to his room and was playing Mario Party. He said he wasn’t tired. We’ve made them stop sharing a bed  to minimize waking one another up. We’ve shut their door so the cats don’t go in and wake them up. Reminded them of the rule that they are not allowed out of bed until 6:00. Talked about ways to go back to sleep if they wake up early.

In two weeks the time changes, which will at least make it 6 when they wake up and not 5, so I am hoping that I only have two more weeks of this.

Mayhem is so sweet and loving and such a snuggly, cuddly little boy, except when he becomes a lack of sleep monster and I feel bad there is nothing I can do to help him with it.

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humel said...

Poor you, and poor him! Hope the time change does help. I totally relate, The Girl is an early riser (unlike the rest of us. The Boy definitely takes after me and loves to lie in of a morning!) Sometimes early can mean 5am. ACK!! But she won't then go to bed early, she'll just strop and freak and tantrum her way through the afternoon and evening...

SciFi Dad said...

Of course, the day you install it, email notifications are down. ;)

We go through the same thing at our house, except that she's usually up around 5.30a, but when she's up earlier (like 4.00a - FOR THE DAY) evenings can be a nightmare. We've tried the happy thoughts and the reading in bed and whatever, but none of it works. And there's little solace in the fact that she'll sleep until noon when she's a teenager - that's too far off.

Rinda said...

Being a mom is so tough! But the rewards are awesome.

LizzieMade said...

It doesn't sound as if you let them watch tv in the evening, but I do find that this or computer games /DS/Wii etc can affect J's sleep pattern - either making it hard for him to switch off and go to sleep, or giving him an unsettled night, so he wakes too early. We have now banned tv or computers/video games after dinner time.
He has always been an early riser and early to bed - which means he has often been ready for his bed way before his friends, but he sleeps well as long as he has a wind-down period before bed-time.
He finds it easier to tackle homework in the mornings now - though he is now old enough (12) to organise his own homework and do much of it unsupported (and save his questions til I come down at 7am). It's more of a problem with younger kids, as they probably need an adult there to keep an eye on them and provide some support, even if not any active help.

Another thing that can upset J's sleep is growing. Boys tend to grow in "spurts" and most of it happens overnight. That can disturb their sleep and make them dead on their feet in the day time. Could Mayhem be having one of these growth periods? I'm not sure how old he is (younger than J I think... 9 perhaps?), but another possibility is pre-teen hormonal changes, which can start as early as 8 or 9 years old, depending on the child and their physical maturity. You could try altering his diet, to include more "B" vitamins and zinc... also the homeopathic remedy "Sepia" can help with hormone balance, though you would need "Sepia 6" rather than the adult version (Sepia 30 I think). You'd need to check up about when to give him this, but I was advised to give it to J. when he was having a "look at me sideways and I'll burst into tears" phase etc, rather than all the time.

If the answer is "none of the above", I suppose you could try a visit to the doctor/ paediatrician/ practice nurse, if he doesn't settle down again soon. Or try imposing an early night policy for a week or so, to give him some extra re-charge time?

Good luck! x

ptooie said...

I'm voting some weird planetary phenomenon. My little one keeps getting out of bed for the first couple hours after bedtime, and the couple days where bigger one gets up early for school, little one will come staggering downstairs moments later.
Naturally, we can always tell the days one or both girls fail to nap at Grammy's, too, by who has a tantrum right about dinner time.

Creative Junkie said...

Ugh - this sounds so familiar. My youngest is pretty much growing out of it, but omg ... there were times when she's be exhausted - like the day after a sleepover or something - and it was all I could do not to sell her to the gypsies. Any little thing, no matter how inconsequential, would set her off and the meltdown would just be horrendous.

TooManyHats said...

Oh that sounds like no fun at all. I sure hope the time change helps if it isn't resolved before that. If you are closing their door, so the cat isn't in the room, is there anyway the cat is on the outside trying to get in? I only ask because recently our dd has started sleeping with her door closed and whether or not the cat starts in or out of her room at abour 2am, the cat is scratching and banging at the door to get in or out depending.