How much sleep do kids need?
I know that isn’t the right question. The real question is: how much sleep do my kids need? And the answer seems to be: a lot less than I’d like.
I’ve accepted the fact that Justin likes to get up early. Most of the men (though not the women) in my family seem to think the day is wasted if you’re not up and about before dawn. My dad used to play 18 holes of golf before going off to his 9-to-5 job. My younger brother considers it a good night if he gets five hours of sleep. It’s in the genes.
But the flip side of getting up early used to mean going to bed early as well. Sure, Justin might be up at 5:30 a.m., but he’d usually go down by 7:30 or 8:00 at night. I could live with the early mornings if it meant I got an evening to myself.
But he’s eight now. And he’s just not tired at 8:00 anymore. No matter what time we put him to bed, he generally doesn’t fall asleep until 9. Which, coincidentally, is roughly the same time I go to bed. And he wakes up at 6. Which is also when I get up.
I always knew the time would come when my kids would keep longer hours than me. And it’s not like they’re toddlers who need Mom to tend to their needs. But I’m mourning the days when I could put them to bed and get on with an adult-only evening. When I could open a bag of chips without having to share. Or watch a non-animated TV show without worrying about who was peeking around the corner.
They’re growing up. Dang it.