Thursday, December 8, 2011

In Which I Expose My Neurosis

I am feeling agitated lately.  Upset and nervous.  Worried and bothered.  You get the idea.  I haven't talked about it much, because I know it will expose the truth- that I am neurotic with a side of crazy.   But, what is a blog for, if not for over sharing?

In just a few short weeks, Abigail will be 8.  That means she will be getting baptized.  I'm very excited for that.  I went through "my baby is too old" last year when she was 7, so I'm surprisingly calm and happy about the upcoming event. 

*However*.  That age-of-eight also means that she will be invited to attend "Activity Day Girls", which is a group of girls age 8-11 who meet twice a month for a little activity.  Sounds great, doesn't it?  Yes, I agree that she is ready for such a thing.  She will love it, and it will be good for her.  Yes, in theory, it is wonderful.

But the reality is... they don't meet until 7:30.  PM!  Yes, you heard me.  The activity doesn't even START until she is supposed to be snoozing away in her comfy bed.  Bedtime.  I am fanatical about bedtime.  FANATICAL, I tell you! 

I try to be a permissive parent.  I let them play in mud at the park.  I take them on adventures.  If they want to watch TV or make a mess of my fabric, I generally let them.  The one thing I am fanatical about is bedtime.  I wasn't always this way.  When Abigail was a baby, there was no such thing as "bedtime".  But when we had a one year old who needed a schedule and 2 nine-month old babies who were still waking every 2 hours, we needed to change something.  I read the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child", and my entire world changed.  Within 3 days all 3 were sleeping through the night and taking long, regular naps.  I became sane again.  I stopped leaving the house, because Jack and Aidan would nap 9-11 and 1-4.   Abigail would nap 12-2, and bedtime for all was 6.  Yes, 6 pm. 

It was wonderful.  I turned into the sleep fanatic.  I would not go ANYWHERE if it interfered with naps.  No family parties, no trips to the store, no park, no nothing.  We stayed home and slept.  That started about 6 years ago, and I haven't really changed all that much.  Yes, we eventually gave up naps (although mine took naps much longer than most of our friends), but bedtime has remained pretty constant.  Until just this year, we have put our kids to bed at 6:30. 

This year, under great pressure from Kydon, we have delayed bedtime until 7:30, but that means they are generally in bed by 7:15 and hopefully asleep by 7:30.  I greatly resisted this change.  What in the world do you do with kids who are awake after dinner?  It has been about 6 months, and I am still baffled by that time frame.  I will admit that usually once a week I just can't take it and they go to bed at 6:30.  They all keep asking me when I will relent and let them stay up later, and I honestly can't say.  I was calling for a babysitter the other night, and at 9 pm all the teenagers were still awake!  I worried about it all night! 

And now, just because she is having a birthday, they want me to keep her up until 9 pm on a regular basis??  On a school night?  That bothers me on SO many levels (not the least of which is that I can see immediate changes in behavior based on what time they go to bed, and I know I can expect to deal with increased whining and bad behavior the next day). 

I tried floating the idea of changing it to an afternoon schedule, but that went over like a lead brick.  Not gonna happen.  So, now I have to decide.... do I stick to my guns and keep bedtime (something that I KNOW is good for the kids and good for our family in general), or do I cave to peer pressure and allow her to stay up twice a month?

I received no medication as a sponsor of this post.  All idiotic neurosis are the sole property of my own head.  I've tried to talk about this with real people, and get only baffled looks and "what is the big deal", so I'm giving it to the internet because I can't see computers roll their eyes.


Meg said...

I know im not a parent but my experience with my sister who doesn't go to bed at a regular time i tired in the morning and cranky all day. for example my sister didnt get to sleep until 11pm and i woke her up at 6:30am she was sleeping the whole ride to school. I think you should stick to your guns. You could make your own Activity Girls Night for her like on a Friday or Saturday in place of not going to Activity Girls Night.

Julie P said...

It's so rare I find another mom who has the same view of sleep as I do! So, first, I would throw a major fit. Kindly at first. And then maybe not super kindly? Is that terrible? I don't know the girls in your area - are there just a few of them, and the ones who are older can only do it at that time? Can the leader only do it at that time? Because if it's the leader, maybe they need a new one.

It's easy to tell you what I think you should do. :) But what would *I* do? You know, I'd start with being nice and begging them to change, then throwing a bit of a fit (really, it's not good for any 8 year old to be up til 9!). And volunteering to be the leader if that was the problem. If no one gave in, I probably would (yikes). I'd give it a month, two times. And just see how it goes. Good luck. That stinks. I'm curious to know how it's going to go down, so update!

Savannah said...

I'm not a parent either, but I say stick to your guns. You talked about the misery before established bed times and the joy and sanity that came after bed times. You have to be able to function and more importantly, Abigail needs to be able to function. Have you tried talking to just a few other parents of kids in the activity days group. Maybe if you can get a few in support you can go back and try again to get it moved to an earlier time. Cause wow, 7:30 seems so late to start an activity for school aged children.

Katie said...

Really, what is wrong with your ward? With bed times, every parent is different, but an 8 year old should not be out of the house late at night, especially on school nights. That's crazy. Tell them that the devil comes out after dinner, and you need to have her home before that. If that doesn't work ask the bishop's wife to watch her the day after. I think after a couple of times you'll see some results. :)

Melinda said...

I feel your pain--I felt lucky with Caroline because she could do afternoons until she was 10...but now Carter (8) has scouts every week from 7-8. I hate it and I hate that my other kids sometimes have to go to bed late because of it (like you, up until this summer, 6:30 was bedtime). But, the benefit of the activity and the relationship she builds with the girls will be good enough in the long run to deal with the late nights 2 times a month...but I would also keep asking for an earlier time--does your YM/YW start at 7:30? ours starts at 7.

Kelly said...

As a fellow mother of twins, I can understand the sleep neurosis. It is the only thing that keeps you from going to the looney bin.

But with that aside, I think she should go to Activity Days. I hate the time too, but you know as a parent you have to be flexible. You can't get the time back, and it is such a wonderful program. She will never be 8 again. As she gets older, her body will adjust. Perspective here, Shanna. It is only twice a month. I am sure you guys will manage just fine.

You asked, so I am giving you my two-cents. Good luck making it work or not work.

ali said...

What?? You let them mess up your fabric??!! Are you insane woman?

7:30 is a ridiculous time for activity days, I would throw a conniption! Gabe is 9 and he still goes to bed at 7:30 especially on a school night. I'm really strict about sleep too, i think its the only thing Ive ever been consistent and unwavering about. Really, you are the only mother that is concerned about that? Sounds like you need a new ward. I wish I had better advice for you, but will you settle for I totally understand where you are coming from?

....except about the fabric, you're alone on that one my friend. My kids even look at my sewing room and I take a pound of their flesh.

erika said...

7:30 is way too late! It's called Activity DAYS, not Activity NIGHTS! :) I would make a stink to at least have it start at 7. Can't they do it after school every other week?

erika said...

One more idea, maybe you should become the new Activity Days leader.

Gretta said...

I am the activity day leader for our ward. We meet from 7-8:15 pm. Which I am very strict on being done at 8:15pm (not like the YM/YW who are supposed to be done at that time but it is usually 8:30 pm). The reason why we meet at that time is because that is when the YW/YM and cub scouts meet. It is easier on the parents. It would be very hard to find leaders who can do it during the day without having to bring a few extra children with them or who don't work. I have been one of the leaders for almost 2 years now and this is the first time I have been asked if we can change it to an earlier time.
This is the main reason why I have chosen to put my elementary age kids to bed at 8:30 pm because I don't want them to miss out on these important things in their life. That and I don't want to get up at 5:30 am with them.
If you aren't worried enough already, what are you going to do next year when your boys will be in cub scouts they meet at the same time 3 times a month?