We were wrong.
Oh boy, were we wrong.
It’s been about a month and he’s still consistently waking up early. We tried moving his bedtime to a later time but he still woke up early and just got more tired and cranky through the day. We thought it might be the buses on our street waking him up, but the first one doesn’t roll past until 4:55.
So we’re trying a new tactic. I’m getting up when I hear him and going into his room. I remind him that it’s sleeping time for everyone and that he has to be quiet. Then I sit quietly in the rocking chair and try not to interact. If he starts to get noisy, I shush him.
Having done this for several nights, I’m wondering if he’s actually fully awake when he starts to talk. He gives every appearance of still being asleep and settles very quickly when I talk to him. This gives me a chance for a nap before his next waking period. Nathan has always been an active sleeper. His sleep paralysis is obviously fairly light, leaving him able to thrash about, sleep-talk and probably he’ll eventually sleep-walk. I did it when I was younger, though not as frequently as my sister. But Dave still has to be careful when he talks to me at night because there’s a decent chance I’m actually asleep and won’t remember the conversation.
We’ll need to find a way to encourage him to remain in a deeper sleep until later in the morning. I’m hoping that if my presence can lull him back to sleep, eventually it will just become habit again. We’re also working on having him quietly go downstairs and watch television when he wakes up. Then at least everyone else gets to sleep. And if he’s tired, he’ll likely nap on the couch downstairs. Hopefully it will work.
We’ve also been going through a challenge with Alex. He’s been going through a real destructive phase lately and managed to rip down most of the plasticized cover I put on his bedroom ceiling so that he could shred it into tiny bits. I’m not sure what else I can do to protect his ceiling from his other destructive instincts. He’s gone through these phases before and the only solution we’ve found is to hide anything and everything important to us until he’s finished. Last time he managed to rip up most of a photo album and crush all the plastic balls from his mini ball pit.
He’s not malicious in his destruction. It’s almost like a subconscious compulsion except that he will put a lot of effort and time into figuring out how to get that first tear into something. But once he’s figured it out, the only way to stop him is to remove the object entirely.