Yesterday afternoon I had an unfortunate reminder of what happens when we deviate too much from regular sleep schedules and when our children (consequently) become sleep-deprived. We had several late nights and early mornings in our house this week and there was definitely a price to be paid for all of that.
First there was the sassy behavior and not-so-kind language. Then, later, there was the forty-five minute meltdown about Valentine's Day. We've carefully looked at all of the valentines in the bag that came home from school and to my daughter's dismay there was not a complete set from her classmates (despite the rule that each child MUST make a valentine for every student in the class). To add insult to injury two of the missing ones were from her closest friends in the class.
We spent a lot of time speculating what might have happened to the valentines: perhaps they went in the wrong bag, perhaps they dropped on the floor, perhaps the friends didn't bring enough for everyone.... but even after all of those ideas were generated there were still BIG TEARS to come. Certainly this is something that would hurt any kindergartener's feelings... but I credit the intensity and duration of those feelings to the fact that my daughter had 1) gone to bed an hour later than normal the past three nights 2) woken up in the middle of the night last night and had been awake for quite a while and 3) woken up earlier in the morning than usual. Her usual resources for coping with disappointment and upset were just not there, so she suffered (and so did I!).
So, yesterday afternoon after the emotions were more settled I was determined to move quickly through the dinner, bath, teeth, books, bed routine. There were a couple of delays but we managed to hit lights out at 7:10... slightly earlier than usual but perfect for getting much needed rest.
She slept straight through the night. This morning there was the usual daily squabbles with her brother but once these were resolved she moved into the day with more flexibility and ability to cope.