Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunrise, sunset.

Most people have probably heard the phrase, "Do not let the sun go down on your anger". It is, in fact, a Bible verse from the book of Ephesians. It is also very wise counsel. I am a very flawed individual, but I don't usually find myself in a situation where I go to bed angry because usually my evenings are fairly peaceful and quiet. No, sunset is a blessed time of day for me, as that is when we put our three boys to bed and calm once again descends upon this household. That is when I finally get to let out that sigh of relief and collapse in a heap after a day of confiscating stolen food, removing my 18 month old from the oven (yes, he likes the oven right now and it is a constant worry, and I'm talking about the inside of the oven, not the stove top), administering time outs, making and remaking beds and other furniture as it is repeatedly disassembled, changing diapers, mediating fights...well, you get the picture.

No, evenings are not the problem. I'm afraid I'm having more of an issue with the sunrise. Every morning is an exercise in ever-intensifying rage as the older two boys get up earlier and earlier. This morning it was 5:17 a.m. Okay, you say, what is the big deal if they wake up early? Nothing. If they just woke up, I wouldn't care. Here's where I have a problem. First of all, the first thing either one of them does when they wake up is barge into our room. "Barge" is an exaggeration. It is more of a badly botched attempt at sneaking in. You see, they want to steal the iPad or the iPod or the iPhone or the iAnythingtheycanfind. The sneaking is loud and clumsy, and goes on for at least a half hour straight despite being reprimanded and at times yelled at every single time. Then, whoever got up first invariably wakes up his roommate (Cody and Jamie share a room, for anyone who is unaware), and the action begins. Jamie does multiple food runs into the kitchen, whereby he either raids the fridge, the pantry, or both, and brings load after load of forbidden food back to his room to share with his not-so-silent partner. After they snack, often on chocolate chips or some other expensive baking goods, one of two things happens. They either get hyper and very, very loud, or the fight and get even louder. Cody has the loudest voice in the universe, even when simply talking, and Jamie has a wicked scream when he is offended, hurt, or stolen from. Usually the fight happens right outside of our doorway, and the screaming makes our blood boil...or it makes mine boil anyway. And of course, that places them right outside of Micah's door too. Then he wakes up and begins wailing in the monitor, which is conveniently located inside of our bedroom so we can't possibly miss any of the commotion. I'm telling you, today I was so angry I was in tears before I even crawled out of bed. This happens daily, though today was much worse because of the obscene hour.

I was thinking about it this morning and wondering exactly what we can do about this. Our discipline of choice is a specific method of time-outs, and they work very well during the day. Confiscating objects of great affection is a secondary method that we use for back-up. I have to wonder, how exactly am I supposed to give a time-out at 5:17 a.m.? Am I really going to get out of bed and put them in a chair in the kitchen and sit there for the designated number of minutes? Like they are really going to care. It is SO maddening. I just feel like the only thing that will work is to spank them, but that is not an option at this point. I am strongly considering separating them so that one shares a room with Micah and one has his own room. I feel bad about it, as I think it will make them both really sad (though Micah would be thrilled), but I am SO sick of being woken up this way every single day. If anyone has any brilliant ideas for me, feel free to comment.

For now, the sun comes up every single day on my anger, and it is a very negative way to start my day.


Jo said...

I honestly have no idea.
We had the occasional waking up super early and being rotten type behavior. Normally, with talking we could get them to settle into bed with a book until the clock said "7 am" or whatever. Then they could come out. They could only come out to pee, puke etc.
Do they like charts and stickers? If they make 3 days in a row of not waking you up before _ AM, they get a privilege? Make a fort in the basement, etc? Popcorn? If they are actually hungry at that time of morning, are they eating enough before bed? Are their metabolisms just really high? Do they have an unknown food allergy? You could separate them...
Our girls were good at the ole' being considerate talk...Mommy is a better Mommy when we all wake up nicely. What is waking up nicely for Mommy? Can we all try to do that? Etc. Guess this too shall pass, hopefully sooner than later.HUGS

CAT said...

Yeah, it's tough. We've tried talking to them about it. Every day, actually. We've left food out for them, wrapped at their places at the table, but they ignored it and went for the "good stuff" anyway. Cody is starting to be able to be reasoned with, but Jamie just turned three and he has no concept of anything beyond the moment. I was thinking of getting them an alarm clock and setting the alarm for 7 a.m. and telling them they are not allowed out of their room until the alarm goes. Not sure whether that would work or not. It might backfire and wake one of them up, but let's face it, they are never asleep at 7 a.m. so it would be very low risk. I do think they have high metabolisms. They are ALWAYS hungry. We don't do bedtime snacks because they go to bed within an hour or an hour and a half of supper so it seems unnecessary.

I just wonder if we're going to have to ride this out. Not sure. We've tried taking away privileges when they do this, but haven't tried the incentive version where they get to earn privileges. Maybe we should give that a shot. Again, Jamie might be a lost cause, but it might work on Cody.