Ava, now 2.5 years old, has taken to waking, regularly, at 5:30am. Well, sometimes it is 5:17am or 5:34am. She pads into our room, Bumpies in hand (her favorite blankets - that's another post), in the dark, carefully navigating
the stuff stacked around the edges of our junk room our bedroom, coming to my side of the bed, saying "Mommy...I want some cereal. And some milk. Beside it." It is still dark. I have either gone to bed at midnight (damn computer, sucking me in) or at 8:30pm, after a string of nights of 4-5 hours of sleep, probably not all at one stretch, because she has woken up and her covers have come off or Lily has had a bad dream or I have tried (and failed) to get Ben to come out of the top bunk and go pee in the middle of the night. Isn't it a joy having children who don't sleep in cribs anymore and are potty trained?
Sometimes I can convince her to be pulled in to bed beside me, often not to completely go back to sleep, but at least not to have to emerge from the warmth and darkness. Sometimes she tantrums and I give in and crawl out, poor her cereal and milk and lay down again on the couch. Sometimes she sees that I am still out of it and pads back out, not to her bed usually, but to the living room, where she can stretch up on her tippytoes and turn on some lights and curl up with her Bumpies on the couch. And sometimes, if she's lucky, Big Sister Lily will hear her and get up to.
Big Sister Lily loves to be in charge during these times, whispering to Ava to "Be quiiiiet. We don't want to wake anyone up." They will make up some games. Lily will get her a bowl and some Cheerios. I don't actually know what they do. See, I'm still asleep. It is lovely. Until, of course, Ava doesn't obey Lily "1....2....if I get to 3, something will happen....3. 1....2....3. 1...2...3. Waaaaaa!!! Mommy!" Then all bets are off and I reluctantly get out of bed. Today, though, it lasted a good hour, so I was able to stay in bed until 6:34. I can handle that.
There have been some...incidents. Like the time (I was actually gone for this one, having gone to my The Dailey Method class - ahh....joy) that Jeff woke up to find Ava with a purple marker, happily decorating the walls and kitchen cabinets. I arrived home at 7:15am to find Jeff scrubbing the walls. It wouldn't come off the cabinets. That's when we discovered Magic Eraser, which I had bought on a whim a long time ago, thinking "someday, I will probably need this" - it actually works really well. And it has Mr. Clean on it, a favorite of Ben and Lily's. Bonus. However, do keep out of reach of children (we do).
So far we are lucky. My twin sister, Robin - who I'm going to see next Friday and then am coming back here with her and her kids for 6 weeks or so (yippee!) - told me one day last week she and Mark were sleeping in while Hannah (5) and Sam (3) bustled around in the kitchen. From time to time they would come in to ask for things - "Can I have an apple?" "I need a posicle stick." Mommy and Daddy told them where to find these things, still in their snuggly, spoony bed. "Thank you!" When Mommy and Daddy finally got up, they discovered the kids had made a candy store - yay! Let me describe the scene - the featured item was Candied Apples. They had selected apples, stabbed them with popsicle sticks, covered them in caramel sauce (from the fridge - on a shelf they can reach, apparently) and hung them from the kitchen cabinets. Oh it was a messy morning. But very creative. I can only hope my kids aspire to this level of inventiveness. Give them time and opportunity and I'm sure they will.