A few weeks back I mentioned that Mayhem was getting up at all hours of the night suddenly. He’d wake up at 2am and come in our room wanting to chat. Or he’d wake up at midnight and play his DS until Havoc came in our room and complained about the noise. Then he spent a week or so getting up at 5am. My children are already up at the crack of dawn as it is, getting up even EARLIER is not an endearing quality.
We wondered at the time what was up with this behavior but focused on preventing it rather than analyzing it. This is our standard reaction to children going through sudden periods of wakefulness. It’s a 6 year old habit at this point. We more or less know what is going on in general so we ignore it in favor of encouraging sleep.
What is going on is the child is making a developmental leap in some area and it’s keeping their brain too busy to sleep. We first noticed it right before Havoc started crawling, though the connection wasn’t made until after he started crawling because there is usually a lag of a couple weeks between the sleeplessness and the manifestation of the new skill. He did it again before walking and before speaking multiple word phrases, etc and by the time Mayhem was doing it we’d realized the pattern. Since we don’t know what their mind is working on we can’t help so we focus on the sleep issue instead.
Mayhem’s latest developmental leap is with reading. He’s always been able to read better than he lets on because Mayhem is a bit of perfectionist and doesn’t like to share his skill until he is sure he has perfected it. He was rolling over for weeks before anyone actually caught him in the act and was stealth walking as well. The minute he saw anyone watching him take a step he would sit down and not attempt another one. But if you hid around the corner where he couldn’t see you he’d get up and take a few steps. Then one day he ran across the kitchen in full view of everyone.
I’ve always maintained that one day I’d just look over and he’d be reading Dostoyevsky instead of the Cat in the Hat.
Not quite, but still, a leap has been made.
For the last couple weeks he has been insisting on reading his bedtime story to us. The idea that you can choose to read words as well as what words you read, not just read what Mom & Dad and the teachers give you, has grown in his mind. And he likes it. He enjoys choosing his very own books and reading at his pace.
This weekend I learned that he has also discovered that words are EVERYWHERE! And he can READ THEM! Plus, he can sound them out to himself. He now knows he can read in his head like Mommy does & doesn’t have to say it all out loud and this delights the perfectionist in him. He can get it right in his mind and then share it!
We were at Target and he pointed a couple signs out to me and read them without pausing to sound them out. I was impressed. I watched him as he looked at all the words that were around him, seeing him shape the sounds silently with his mouth over and over until he was sure and then he would announce “Buy More! Spend Less! Mama” and point to that sign. He was so pleased with himself. I was pleased too. Right up until we reached the check out and his eye was caught by this magazine headline
He managed “The, sex, we, can’t, here” but needed help with ‘article and describe” and since I had been helping him with words for the past half hour I couldn’t just stop now. Bad enough having your barely 6 year old shout “The sex article we can’t describe here” loudly in the check out line. Even worse when he then asks, just as loudly, “what does that mean mama? Why can’t they tell us?”
I’m no prude. Really. I’m not. But honestly, didn’t they used to put Cosmo behind a shield so you couldn’t read it’s headlines? Or was that only when it said things like “Oral sex techniques you both will enjoy!”?