Friday, June 12, 2015

My One Night Owl

Mary (6-1/2) has always been a night owl and, in addition, not needed as much sleep as the other children. She's the one that, even though many times I've gone on campaigns of waking her early to try to "reset her clock," she still would stay awake later than I wanted, and my plan didn't work like it would on most children. Sometimes I admire the idea of strict sleeping routines for children, but I always wonder: what do those parents do with children who don't fit averages?

Mary is the one of ours who was done with naps forever at 18 months, happily not looking back.

She didn't need as much overall sleep at any age so far as was typical.

Because she is a night owl, she sleeps in later than the other early birds who start joining me downstairs at 5:30 or 6:00. It is very difficult to wake Mary early and one good rule to keep in mind is not to talk to her before she's been awake for about half an hour.

One reason she gets so much reading accomplished (like recently finishing "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH" in 24 hours) is because she stays up reading a couple of hours past the others . . . and as long as she stays in her room so I can be done for the day, I don't much mind!

Anyway, all of this was on my mind because the other night I saw such a striking example of what it means to be biologically a Night Owl. For once, Mary didn't have a book that was really gripping her. Daddy was out at an event, I was beached in bed, keeping my swollen feet up, and Mary was wandering about the quiet house.

First, she read for an hour. This did not relax her like usual.

Second, she emptied all the trash cans in the house. Still bored.

Next, she thoroughly cleaned the hallway bathroom. Still not tired.

Now past nine o'clock, she next did one hundred push-ups to try to tire herself out. Nope, didn't work.

Last, she launched into and completed a needlework project, stitching with yarn a pink flower for me.

By then it was ten o'clock and she finally could fall asleep.

Mary must surely get this Night Owl makeup from her Daddy's side. The other kids and I will continue to be up bright and early, catching our worms, ready to talk a mile-a-minute, start school, think clearly, or dream up big projects as the sun rises.


  1. The very night I posted this, I came downstairs after the children were all in bed, hearing clanking in the kitchen and wanting to talk to Chris. Turns out the clanking was Mary having emptied the clean dishes from the dishwasher! She then asked permission to wash and load the dirty dishes in the sink. Um, sure? At 9:30, I asked Chris to really go find that Night Owl and make her go to bed. He found in the disaster area that is the Bonus Room, having almost entirely cleaned it up. She begged to finish but we told her no, it was time to be asleep and we tucked her in. Then when Chris came to bed at 12:30, he couldn't find Mary anywhere. He and I searched high and low. Finally, he checked the Bonus Room . . . where she had sneaked back silently (we call her The Ninja) to finish cleaning it and had fallen asleep up there. (Yes, she will get a consequence for disobeying.)

  2. Oh this is funny! I can relate to the burst of energy at night. But in the early morning hours I can barely think. :-)

  3. What consequence did you end up doling out?

  4. Priscilla: I am suffering Pregnancy Brain so badly right now (which, pregnant ladies know, puts one into a muddled fog) that I realized about two days later that I'd forgotten to give her the consequence in the morning. I had intended to assign her writing sentences about obedience. But I decided to let the matter drop because it was so delayed, due to my own fault. This turn of events would have horrified me as an early parent. :)