"I know I shouldn't be so angry with him," I said to CV as I staggered around the kitchen in an vengeful delirium. "It's not like he knows it's so early. He just knows he's awake and ready to get up."
"It's those things you can't control that are the hardest to deal with," remarked my wise housemate. So true, so true.
Riley has never been a great sleeper. I don't think he needs as much sleep as the average toddler, for starters; he certainly doesn't need as much sleep as Maddie. He also takes a long time to fall asleep and wakes up early. If Riley sleeps past 6:00 a.m., it's a very good day indeed.
But Riley's sleep issues aren't really the problem here. At issue is my inability to control the anger that his early wakings incite. I know that yelling at him to go back to sleep doesn't help, yet that's what I do because I don't know what else to do. Sometimes I take him into bed with me, but he just talks and pulls my hair and asks questions and as endearing as I want to find that, if it's anytime before 6:00 a.m., I just find it annoying. Eventually, his talking wakes up N and Maddie, and that's just not OK since both of them need more sleep than Riley.
I'm planning to get a timer for a night-light and experiment with telling Riley that if the light has not come on yet, then it's not time to talk and wake others up, it's time to sleep. Hopefully that will help. Hopefully I will be able to control my anger; I hate carrying that feeling around all morning, and I hate the guilt I feel for having yelled at the little man for something that is not in his control. It's not like he bit another kid or deliberately broke something or did something "naughty." He's just listening to his body clock, which runs on a much different timer than the rest of our household's, and a much different timer than I'd like it to.
I know I can't control this. I can only control my reaction. I need to write that down though, see it transfer from my hand to the computer screen, and create a record of it, because just thinking it is clearly not enough. I can't control this, I can only control my reaction. I don't like the way I feel when I yell and get angry. Tomorrow morning, no matter how early, I will be calm, and explain to Riley that it's still night and that his talking is going to wake the other kids. Then I will ask him if he wants to snuggle with me. And even if his presence in my bed keeps me awake, I will think about our meditation from church last week. I don't remember the specific words, but it had to do with peace and accepting each moment in life for what it is.
I can change how I react. I want to change how I react. Writing about it here helps to make it all real.