Times Change

"Ha ha, Mommy! I don't sleep!"

I usually write about gratitude for Thanksgiving. I’m grateful for many many things, but this time I’m going to write about something I could easily do without.

I’ve often poked fun at people who have a difficult first child and go on to have a second. I should never have opened my mouth because it’s coming back to bite me in the butt. In our case, Rose was a great sleeper. She slept through the night at four months and, aside from one cry-it-out session after a long trip to the East Coast, always let us sleep. So naturally we thought we’d have another good sleeper. Not so. When Christian came along, he didn’t sleep through the night until about six months, with little consistency. Christian is fourteen months old now and he’s still waking in the middle of the night. Not every night, but enough to run Matt ragged. Matt wakes up with him because I’m not at all good at losing sleep, so there’s the token thing I’m grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving.

Christian’s pattern is this: He will sleep through the night, waking up between 6 and 7:30 a.m. for a few days or a week or just long enough for us to think he’s going to sleep all night from now on. Then something happens – teething or growth spurt or whatever – and he’s back to waking in the middle of the night, and again, we’re disappointed. And exhausted. By the way, regarding teething, if anyone out there is a dental researcher, you might try to discover something that will make all of a kid’s teeth come in at once. Mark my words, everyone will want it.

Christian was in just one of these patterns two weeks ago. He was sleeping through the night fairly consistently for about a week. And, bonus, he was sleeping to the ripe old hour of 7 or 7:30 a.m. We were ecstatic. And then it happened. We turned the f-ing clocks back.

Now Christian was following the same sleep pattern, but he was waking at 6 or 6:30 a.m. because the damn clocks were turned back. Matt was grumpy. I was grumpy, and we blamed Christian. But after about a week, when we had adjusted a bit, we realized that Christian wasn’t killing us, Pacific Standard Time was.

I have always hated changing the clocks. It takes me a good two weeks to adjust in the spring and during that time I can barely function. Curiously, I recover from jet lag much faster. I always liked to fall back initially, because I got an extra hour of sleep, or, when I was younger, an extra hour of partying, but then I hated that it got dark so early. I thought I knew what true daylight suffering time was. Then I moved to Seattle.

Because we’re so far north here, we get tons of light in the summer. At its peak, the sun comes up about 5:30 a.m., and sets at almost 10 p.m. Christian was waking up really early during the spring before we realized we’d left his blinds open and his room got light at 5:30 a.m. After we closed the blinds, he slept later. Anyway it is nice to have all that daylight in the summer, although it sucks for 4th of July because they don’t start fireworks until about 10:30 p.m.

Longer summer days mean shorter winter days, though. Before we turned the clocks back, the sun was coming up about 7 a.m. and setting about 6 p.m. Once we turned the clocks back, the sun started coming up closer to six, but soon held out longer. Because we have such extreme differences in daylight between the seasons, our daylight changes faster than it does at lower latitudes. Right now the sun comes up about 7:30 a.m. and sets about 4:30 p.m. and it sucks. Gone are the days when I’d go out in the world after Rose’s nap at 4:30. By that time it’s cold and rainy and dark and I just want to hunker down and watch movies.

I did some research for this post, and it seems that there are some compelling arguments for changing the clocks, including energy conservation, reduced numbers of car accidents and a reduction in crime. But as I was reading about it, it seemed that none of those perceived benefits were conclusive. Just as I thought. No compelling reason for changing the clocks. And nowhere did it say anything about messing up sleep training. Bastards. Hopefully by next year, I won’t have to worry about fall back affecting Christian’s sleep, but until then, I’m still going to hate changing the clocks.