My 3yo has a simple, yet very effective philosophy on life: If I ain't sleepin', y'all ain't sleepin' neither! (She's Southern. So, that explains the use of the words ain't, y'all and the dropping of the final 'g' sound in words ending in '-ing'. AND she's 3. So, her philosophy is entitled to a few grammatical errors as well.) And by "y'all" she means the entire house. We just have an interesting situation with the 3(almost 4)yo.
Our 3yo NEVER sleeps in. And by NEVER, I mean... we could keep her up until 3am, give her Benedryl, sound and light proof her room, make a Federal Law to make napping unconstitutional, move everyone out of the house except her so there are no vibrations and play a CD of Metallica's greatest hits... on the xylophone and she would STILL be up by 5:30a. (We haven't REALLY tried all of these things (because I can't find the xylophoned version of Metallica) but I'm kinda partial to the whole MOVING OUT thing. If she's taking the whole 'early bird gets the worm' approach to squatter's rights on the house, she can have it!)
Since she was born she hasn't consistently slept through the night. It wasn't until around 8 - 9 months ago that she started sleeping past 5:00a. (She's still up by 5:30a though.) We shouldn't be too surprised since one of her older sisters was ALMOST the same way. There was a time, however, shortly after she had turned 3 when we though she had turned the curve and was ready to start joining the rest of us in the house with semi-normal sleeping patterns. She had actually slept through the night! AND she slept past 7:00a. My wife and I were celebrating this new development!!! We danced. We sang. (Neither of which, I am good at.) We consummated our new life together by toasting with a little champagne. Happy days were here again. We would from this day forward have normal children where we would have to FIGHT to get them awake instead of the other way around. And this excitement of Bonnaroo proportions lasted all the way until... 5:00a then next morning.
We have done our due diligence in the art of forcing a 3yo to sleep past 7:00a against their will. We have bought the blackout curtains so that our daughter believes the earth is in a state of perpetual darkness. It didn't work. We have kept her up WAY later than her normal bed time. (We haven't done this one a lot because it's not a good thing to do AND it hasn't worked ANY of the times it has happened.) She still wakes up right before or right after 5:00a. We have tried a little Benedryl. (Don't worry. It was Doctor supervised for symptoms related to allergies.) And that was the WORST! She was 10 times as hyper than normal. (At least 3 times that night I had physically PULL her off of the ceiling. There are footprints still up there to prove it happened.) She was not only hyper but she also didn't sleep past 6:00a. So after calling our Doctor and giving her a little English lesson (ghetto style) we immediately discontinued the use of said product for ANY future allergic reactions.
There are a few things we haven't tried for various reasons. We haven't tried alcohol. Why? Because we are good parents and would never resort to such illegal parenting methods. (Besides, the alcohol is for me. And giving it to a child to help them sleep is a waste of some good ethanol.) We haven't tried monetary compensation for a few hours of sleep. (Actually, we HAVE tried it but it failed miserably. She doesn't know the value of money yet so her price for a few extra hours of sleep was something like $10 hundred million thousand million (not sure if that's in dollar or cents but it really doesn't matter because we don't have 10 hundred million thousand million of ANYTHING.) So bribery is out. We haven't tried just simply letting her cry it out. (That's not true either. We have tried that but she just yells, screams and kicks the walls until everyone else in the house is awake. We are awake because her room still has a baby monitor in it. The 6yo is awakened because she has the room next to the 3yo. The teenager is immune to this. I think she could sleep through the 3yo putting on her best screaming performance with a megaphone in the same room. (I envy her sometimes.))
I told my wife that something's not right with her and she needs more time to cook. My wife QUICKLY vetoed my idea to put her back in for a few months to make sure she comes out done. (She didn't even give this idea a chance. AND she won't reconsider. I'm not sure why she has such strong feelings against this idea but it has some merit to it and should at least get put on the table.) I came up with the idea to try to sell her on the Black Market and then buy her back (at a discount of course) after she starts sleeping in. But that plan got shot down when I found out that was illegal. (The Black Market idea was illegal but I wonder if it's ok to have a yard sale and "accidentally" put a $.25 sticker on her back. She LOVES stickers!)
I imagine we are just stuck with her until she works this out of her system. My wife and I have already gone 6 years without sleeping past 7:00a so I guess we can do it a few more years. At 5:00a on Saturday and Sunday mornings I might not think this, but she's worth it. And I would miss her if we sold her... even if we only sold her for a few years and bought her back when the sleeping thing gets worked out. Here are a couple of reasons why she isn't going anywhere.
(You will have to excuse all of the errors in my post. I haven't written in a while AND I did most of this post with my 3yo flicking my ear, crawling on me, hitting me, talking in my ear, saying she's hungry, wanting to play Mickey Mouse and Angry Birds on the iPad, and just generally being a 3yo.)