Monday, October 12, 2015


One of the things I vowed to do after leaving my full time job was to sleep late. Well, it is a relative term. But, having risen at 6 am for over 25 years – I was ready to sleep til at least 8 am.

It has not been an easy task. My internal clock seems to be set at rising at an early hour. I try to go to bed a bit later – but, my eyes also seem to be trained to close around 10 pm. I smile, when I think of the dog who drops in place or quietly walks away to his special place at 9:30 pm. – his bedtime. But then, he sleeps about 18 hours a day, including through the night and many naps, just waking to go for a walk, play or have a meal or snack. I do notice sometimes, he sleeps with his eyes half open as if watching what I am doing.

This sleeping all day reminds me of my girls as infants. And the sleeping with eyes (and ears) half open reminds me of me. I have slept partially alert since adopting almost 28 years ago. It’s a mom thing. It was definitely not a dad thing in my house, although he would get up if I woke him.

Back to this sleeping thing – In high school and college, I would sleep til noon, having spent half the night on the phone with my friends or watching TV  into the wee early hours. But this routine - going to bed and waking late was unusual for me.

My mom says I was an early riser as a baby. I was the one who got up at 6:30 am, while my sister could easily sleep until 10 am. My mom tells stories of how she had to revise her sleeping pattern, to wake with me. So we did get special time together before my sister got up for the day.

I had 2 daughters with a similar situation. My first daughter would go to sleep between midnight and 2 am. And rise around 10 am. When the second daughter came along, she would go to sleep by 10 pm and wake at 6 am. Took me a while to adjust.

During their school years, we were all up early. The girls getting ready for school and me for work. We were all pooped and in bed by 10 pm. Except for their teen years when they would stay up well past midnight. I was fast asleep.

I have always tried to sleep a bit later on weekends. Sometimes being wakened by a child or a dog, but usually by sunlight. Luckily, I wake up in a good mood. None of that “don’t talk to me” or stomping around as I get ready to go out for the day. At night, when I am ready for bed – I am ready. Nothing will stop my eyes from closing. Although a rough day of work, a task I was unable to complete or a family member on my mind can delay sleep or keep me up for several hours in the middle of the night.

But even this does not necessarily delay my getting up early. I have adjusted to the early hour. I like being the only one up and do accomplish a lot before anyone else wakes, but don’t like having to tiptoe around. My companion, no matter what hour, is the dog. If you read my blog, you know about him.

Rocco was given to my youngest daughter several months before she was leaving for college. We all knew she could not take him with her. We all looked at that face and big brown soulful eyes and heard the story of how my daughter was there when he was born, how he was the runt of the litter and no one wanted him and he was destined for a shelter. And, yes, I am a sap and fell for him, too. Glad I did. He is an amazing, albeit 90 pound bundle of love. How does this relate to my sleeping?

When my daughter left for school, Rocco began to sleep with me or on the couch in my bedroom. Some nights he snuggles into a good spot. Others, he insists on sleeping in the middle of the bed with his legs spread in all directions, leaving little room for me. I have to sleep like a contortionist. At 90 pounds and fast asleep, he is hard to move out of the way. On those days, I am usually up super early. And while he goes back to sleep on the cushion in my home office, I am up for the day.

Guess I am doomed to be an early riser – by genes or dogs or things I have to do. Luckily, I can set my own schedule and crawl into bed when I am ready.  Sweet dreams to all.

\Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is a New York and New Jersey licensed social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. She has prepared thousands of adoption homestudies, counseled adoptive parents and parents-to-be, and has trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was Director of the Ametz Adoption Program from March 1992 to March 2015. She is Head Writer for, member of the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood and has a private practice in New York City. She was a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption Series and named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001. Follow or reach her at ADOPTION MAVEN BLOG or EMAIL