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.