Caroline and Liam are so alike in so many ways. The mannerisms and phrases that they share do not go unnoticed. But one big difference about them is how they handle going to bed and waking up.
Caroline is a fantastic sleeper. She has been for a long time. I won’t pretend that we never have trouble getting her to bed, because in truth it was less than a year ago that Jeff and I were serenaded by Miss Caroline with an hour plus of moaning at night. Moaning has faded away to singing and playing and talking. And lots of requests for tucking the blankets in tight. (She prefers the way Jeff does it.) Some nights she is up until 9:30, waiting and listening for us to walk by her room on our way to bed. (And yes, I am not afraid to admit that I go to bed at 9:30!) But once she is asleep—she is out!
There are things that Liam does at nearly two and a half years old that Caroline did….multiple trips to the potty, needing a drink, wanting a story, requesting an extra hug. But there are things he does that she never did. Like leaving the room. Multiple times. He’s stubborn but most nights he just doesn’t have the stamina to fight sleep like his big sister does. And lately, he has been better about not leaving the room. We are now working on not opening the door at night. It’s not going so well, but I haven’t given up hope. I’d like to say once he’s asleep, he’s asleep, but I still hear him over the monitor a few times a week. He calls for mom or says no or just kind of cries. If I drag myself out of bed to check on him, I usually find he is actually still sleeping, just upside down on the bed. Feet on the pillows, no blanket. Sometimes he’s wide awake and asking for pancakes. I won’t even talk about that except to say yes, I have given my child pancakes at 4 am in the morning. Please don’t tell my mother.
So whereas Caroline is a night owl, Liam is the early bird. Asleep by 8:15 means awake and up at 5:30. Always with a “I’m not tired” even if he still is. Or sometimes we get an excited “The sun is up!” Either way, once he is awake, Liam wants one of two things: food or play. He takes his dad like that.
Caroline would lounge in bed all morning if she wasn’t so afraid of missing something important. Like t.v. or trains. She likes to wake up slow, just like her mom. Back when I had to use an alarm clock, I would hit snooze. A lot. Caroline’s favorite thing to do first thing in the morning is to climb into our bed and snuggle (but only if it is still occupied). She is happy to lay beside you, suck her thumb, and twirl your hair. No big deal if you are mom, but ask Jeff what it feels like when she tries twirling his! Once she is awake and moving, the first thing she wants is books and more hugs. Don’t even think about mentioning food until she has been out of bed for a good half hour.
It was a rare occassion last week when Caroline was up at six and Liam slept until 7:30 (thanks to Aunt Mary for the idea of putting up light blocking curtains!). She took advantage of the alone time with mom. We read books, drew pictures and played with the blocks. She wanted to build a huge tower using each and every block. So we did. You can tell by the pictures that she was having a grand time because she usually isn’t so playful for the camera!
The next morning things were back to normal. Liam was up at 5:30 and wanted to play storytime while Caroline enjoyed the comforts of her cozy bed. Some mornings, while I am waiting for my coffee to brew, I wonder what they will be like when they are 15 and 16. Will Jeff and I be sitting at the kitchen table, griping about whose turn it is to drag them out of bed? Will Caroline be like me, reading until past midnight on a school night, too tired to get up in the morning? Will Liam still bound out of bed, ready to start the day? Whatever their sleep patterns are like then, I’m looking forward running into their rooms, throwing open the curtains and singing “Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey!”