Monday, June 04, 2007

Night owls disturb Curmudgeon's roosting habits

Oldest Son moved out this weekend -- he's taken an apartment in Lincoln Park and he's started his new job and, we hope, all will be well for him.

But that leaves two teens and a post-teen at home for the Summer. And I'm increasingly sleep deprived.

The kids want to stay up late. They want to stay out late. Sometimes, they want to go out late, as Oldest Son did Friday night. He had to wake me up to tell me he was leaving.

I truly believe that kids are wired differently. Kids naturally want to doze the day away and stay up all night. My observations in this regard are supported by research which suggest that early school start times may be wonderful for teachers but not at all conducive to learning. No, I'm not providing a link; this is one of those things I read some time ago and I could probably find it, or something similar, if I spent the morning looking for it... but I have too much work to do this morning to indulge in the luxury of clicking around the Internet in search of an article I surely read the old-fashioned way, on paper, in a magazine.

Yesterday was fairly typical. After Mass, Youngest Son took off for the park with his friends. Younger Daughter went to work. Middle Son slept until Oldest Son shanghaied him into helping with the move.

Youngest Son is essentially through with 8th grade; this is basically a party week -- a ceremony today, a trip to an amusement park tomorrow, a dinner dance on Wednesday. So it was not surprising that he'd want to stay up late. It was even less surprising given that he returned from the park in the mid-afternoon, stretched out on the couch, and napped for three hours.

And Younger Daughter has finals this week, so she got permission to leave work early and come home in the middle of the afternoon... whereupon she promptly fell asleep.

Remember: These are the same people who, as toddlers, would not take naps no matter how hard we tried to get them down, feeling guilty all the while because we had failed to follow the best advice of expert pediatricians (paging Dr. Spock, paging Dr. Brazelton).

Fast forward to last night, around 10:00 pm. I was trying to store up enough energy to get out of the recliner and head up the stairs to bed. Long Suffering Spouse had already surrendered herself into the arms of Morpheus (somehow she'd gotten hold of the couch in an unguarded moment). Youngest Son tried to sneak a movie into the DVD player -- I parried that thrust -- but then Younger Daughter came down from "studying" and said she "needed a break" -- and signed on dial-up. She couldn't use the cable modem because Middle Son was conducting a spirited discourse with multiple AIM correspondents.

What happened next is spotty because I was drifting in and out of consciousness at this point, but somehow over the next half hour or so I shooed the younger two upstairs. "Why?" asked Youngest Son. "I won't be able to sleep; I'll just be staring at the ceiling." I was not sympathetic. And when Long Suffering Spouse and I eventually straggled up the stairs an hour or so later, lights were still on and teenagers were still moving about.

And when I complained that I would like the house to be quiet before I retire for the evening, I was informed in no uncertain terms that I was being entirely unreasonable.

Was I really?

13 comments:

Fran said...

Unreasonable, no. Is is going to make any difference.....NO! I think every father is feeling this same thing right now. You sound just like my husband did a few years back. It would just burn him up! But it is just the nature of the beast.....you know....the one we created! I do have a solution for you though! Do you remember my complaint about the heat in an unairconditioned house in Maine? Well, my husband bought one of those tower type fans (tall, skinny) that is for use in garages, gyms.... Well, it is kind of loud, but the first night we used it in our bedroom a bomb could have gone off and we would not have heard it. I woke up thinking this is just what we needed when we had all the kids coming home in the summer. Just an idea to help keep your sanity.....you are still sane, right?

Shelby said...

oh you have my sympathy. I understand. My son especially thinks I am unreasonable. Toddlers were easier than teenagers. It keeps getting more complicated by the hour.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

but curmy, so soon they are gone. our nest is empty now and all we have is our silly selves to entertain us. but somehow we manage to do so (and it is grand!)

now be a good boy and go take your vitamin!

smiles, bee

Lahdeedah said...

My tween stays up later than me...

I hear her rustling pages in a book, playing with dolls, etc etc. I may break down and buy her a night light so she can at least not go blind trying to read by the light of the moon....

I am, however, absolutely anti-television after a certain point of the night, and she'll NEVER win that one... Never...stomping foot... ever....

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Isn't your place going to start to get increasingly quiet?

susan said...

Seems entirely reasonable to me!

Patti said...

I totally hear you on this one. We beg and cajole, but the two large children in our house never want to go to bed at a reasonable hour any more.

You were being entirely reasonable, I'd say. ;-)

rdl said...

not unreasonable but do you have a basement that you can finish/ban the beasts to. I can't wait to do mine!

Linda said...

I always go to bed before Amanda no matter what night of the week it is, it seems. Even though I tell her she'd be less tired in the morning and maybe do better in school were she to go to bed no later than 10 p.m. I might as well be talking to the walls for all the listening she does. There's always just "one more thing" to do or "she forgot" or something else.

I'm tired all the time - ah, the joys of being old - and I'm tired of telling her she should be tired, too. One of these days she'll figure it out!

Anonymous said...

The elusive thing called sleep... When you can finally turn in early for "a long winter's nap" (thanks to am empty nest), age starts playing those wicked tricks called insomnia...just one of the joys...

Good night! :-D)

landgirl said...

Cur, not unreasonable to ask them to be quiet or to need sleep, but my grandson is 5000 miles away and I think I would like to hear him even in the middle of the night.
My daughter never seemed to sleep very much but she learned to take naps--at least be quiet in her crib for a while--so I could take mine and amuse herself in bed in the early morning hours. She had a breif spell of refusing to sleep in her bed, which usually meant finding her curled in a ball on the rug next to her bed but at least she was quiet and sleeping in her own rhythms.

may said...

teenagers redefine everything. even the word unreasonable. hang in there:)

Ellee said...

I shall dread the day when my two sons fly the nest. I was wondering what to replace them with and thought I might buy a dog to pamper and take for long walks.