My oldest and youngest kids get out bed every morning ready to rock. Weekday, weekend, summer vacation – it doesn’t matter. Six o’clock strikes, and they hit the ground running. This made their younger years exhausting: both kids phased out of two daily naps before their first birthdays, and stopped napping altogether before they turned four.
On the one hand, wake-up calls are easy when we have to get ready for school, church, or an early football game. On the other hand, I can’t remember the last time I slept past seven o’clock. On top of that, I’ve actually never seen either one of them pass out from exhaustion.
We did come close, though, on a day of sightseeing during a family trip to New York. By the time we’d walked from the subway, up to Times Square, and through Central Park, my pedometer registered more than 25,000 steps. So my four-year-old Jasmine’s little legs walked a lot more than that. And she be-bopped her way throughout the whole day. At the end of the hour-long drive back to our friend’s house on Long Island, she started dozing off. We arrived after 10pm, but her little catnap kept her bouncing off the walls for another two hours. Did she sleep in the next morning? Nope. The sun wasn’t even up when she burst into our room. “It’s morning!”
I’m very aware of the negative impacts of ADHD on kids’ sleep patterns. I see how both my kiddos struggle to settle down at night, even at the end of a normal, routine day. A normal bedtime can be difficult, so I love opportunities to celebrate special events and other times when their hyperactivity works to the advantage of the entire family.
I reflected on our week-long trip, and realized Jasmine and Isaac, who was ten years old, had both been on their best behavior. There wasn’t a single complaint about being tired. They went all day, from sun up to sun down, and the next morning were ready for more. The whole trip was a breeze, probably BECAUSE of their hyperactivity rather than despite it.
That early morning after our Manhattan adventure, I slowly walked to the kitchen, poured a cup of coffee, and sat down to plan the day’s activities. Then Jasmine ran into the kitchen and jumped in my lap. “Daddy! What are we doing today?!”
“I don’t know yet, babe.”
“Okay!” she said. Then she jumped out of my lap and sprinted out of the room.
I quickly snapped out of my exhaustion hangover. Her energy was too much to resist.