The early bird catches tiredness


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

A year ago it was not uncommon for Éamon to sleep past midday, meaning a 16 hour night for him. We knew we were blessed then and we realise it even more now.
He might stir at 8am or 9am but we would just turn on the music on his musical mobile and he’d nod off again.
It meant that his daytime nap disappeared well before Frankie’s had but you couldn’t complain about that for a second.
Frankie was napping during the day right until she started naíonra, basically two months shy of her third birthday.
Éamon stopped napping well before his second birthday.
The long sleep came back until he was waking at 9am. Still a great sleep and there was no tiredness in him during the day so no nap was needed.
He still isn’t tired during the day so the nap is long gone, even if he is waking at 6am a lot of mornings these days.
Yup, he’s gone from 16 hour sleeps to ten and we’re not sure how or why.
We heard from other couples of 6am starts and used to shudder at the thought. Now we’re living that experience.
He will wake at 6am and is in no mood for going back to sleep. Urgings do not tend to work as he can be quite stubborn and you cannot risk him being too loud and waking the other kids.
Some days he might treat you to a 7am lie in … if you’re lucky.
He’s going to naíonra now himself and while that should wear him out and have him needing plenty of sleep, he’s managing just fine without it.
I’m not sure myself and Aisling can say the same.
Séimí is inclined to get up early these days and while Frankie is more inclined to sleep until the respectable hour of 7am or 7.30am, the boys tend to make enough noise to wake her up too.
I’m not unfamiliar with that hour of the day. I used to go to a 6.45am gym class but the great thing about that is when I was doing it, pre-lockdown, I was home, showered and had my breakfast eaten before Frankie or Éamon were awake.
Indeed, a lot of mornings for naíonra I would have to wake Frankie.
Being up at 6am with Éamon and/or Séimí brings challenges. Lots of them. It is very early and you have to try keep them quiet if Frankie is still asleep because, trust me, minding two kids at that ungodly hour is easier than minding three of them.
The other issue then is fatigue. It is a long day when you’re starting at 6am. So bed now is around 10pm/11pm.
The evening time, after the kids go down at 8pm, is one of the best chances in the day to get bits and bobs done, being it jobs around the house, a bit of work, maybe a bit of dinner in peace and a chance to maybe sit down together and watch some TV.
That evening/night window has constricted considerably.
Maybe it is just a phase. Please let it be just a phase.

In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.