Monday, July 30, 2012

To sleep. Or not.

We're on vacation right now, which has been lovely. Especially when the grandparents are around to play with, distract, chase, cuddle, read to and help clean up after our two balls of energy. I am missing our small apartment, with its baby proofing and door locks and my ability to see or hear them wherever I am. This big beach house we are in has so many doors! Lily, especially, finds this highly amusing. I don't know why I packed any toys, when they mostly just want to open, run through, and slam doors all day long.

Chasing Lily through a big house is one reason this first summer vacation with children has proven vastly different.  The other is our (is just mine?) children's different ideas about vacation sleeping.  Andrew and I love to sleep in, especially on vacation.  Or as we say now, "sleep in". (because 6:30AM is not really other people's idea of sleeping in. Except maybe fishermen or farmers.)  Our kids, on the other hand, normally get up early, and when we are on vacation they get up extra early. I mean, there is just so much to do! And what do you mean we can't go to the beach at 6AM?  Lily's record this week is 4:30AM.  Vainly we tried to get her to snuggle in our bed with us, read a quiet book, maybe whisper a quiet song... nope. She's up! And she wants everyone else to be UP!

Which means that we are putting our exhausted, sandy, grass in the hair, mosquito bitten, tired and happy kids to sleep while the sun is still high in the sky and the heat shimmering in the windows.

I've gotten a lot of raised eyebrows and laughs, even criticism from others when they found out our kids' sleep schedule.  I brush them off, because, really as parents we need to stop being so critical of each other, and anyway... you don't live in my house, so what do you care?!

When we first planned for our adoption and did our required reading, sleep was a big concern for me. I like and need my sleep, and don't function well when over-tired. I read horror stories about traumatized, newly brought home adoptees who screamed and cried through the night.  We were prepared to sleep on our kids' floor, set whatever schedules they needed... we braced ourselves for the worst.

Lucky, lucky us. Jet lag worked in our favor. The first day we came home we bathed, fed and settled the kids in, and they were both sound asleep at 5:30PM.  Slowly we inched our way into our own time zone, but we never made it much further.  Daniel sleeps from about 7:30PM to 6:30AM, and Lily sleeps from about 7PM to about 6AM (plus a 2 hour nap), give or take a few horrible sleepless nights around daylight savings time or illnesses.

"What!?" You ask, "they sleep that much?!!!" Yes, yes they do. Because being adopted is exhausting.

Hearing and learning a brand new language all day is exhausting. Being with and learning a whole new family is really, really, exhausting. Navigating a new culture and social norms is exhausting.  Daniel, especially, sleeps like a rock. He once fell out of his bed, and (hearing a thud) I picked him up and tucked him back in and he never even cracked an eyelid.

So enjoy your late night dinners, your sunset cruises, your moonlit walks. We will continue to pull our light blocking shades all the way down and get some rest.  We've got an early morning alarm clock and she doesn't have a snooze button.

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