So Alex has realized a fundamental truth about his new bed: he can get out of it.
Every night, I put him to bed. Every night, he pops up less than ten minutes later to "go to the bathroom". To be fair, he does go to the bathroom, and he does usually go right back to bed. I tried taking him to the bathroom before I put him down one night -- that night, he got up three times in half an hour. To "go to the bathroom."
But that part's minor, really. Hell, Penny still does that, two nights out of three. It's one of those things where we point him back to bed if he tries to stop and talk to us, but the whole time we're trying not to let him see us smiling about it.
The part that's killing me is that he's also realized that he can get out of bed in the morning. For whatever definition of "morning" you care to name.
For instance, he woke up this morning, apparently, around 4:30. The good news is that he did not come into our room, which is what Penny used to do. No, Alex either recognizes that we would just send him back to bed or else would rather play with his sister. So he went into her room and woke her up. And apparently they managed to play quietly enough that Matt and I slept through it until somewhere around 5:30, when they started playing some game involving Alex sliding down Penny's legs, and the giggling woke me up.
I made Alex go back to his room, but neither of them were happy about it. But I don't care much, because I wasn't happy about it, either -- because the act of my getting out of bed cued the cat that it was time for breakfast, and he immediately became a whiny pest.
He became so whiny, in fact, that at some point Alex decided that he was going to get out of bed and go feed him. The only reason the whole kitchen wasn't strewn with cat food was that Alex was not strong enough to open the tupperware container that we keep the cat's food in. So instead, he decided to have himself a little snack -- a piece of chocolate from of his candy bag.
I didn't discover all this until I gave up and got out of bed at six, and was met with Penny in the hall: "Where's Alex?" When I found Alex in the kitchen, he was sitting on the floor, huddled in the corner like a lost waif, little pieces of foil wrapper scattered at his feet.
Sigh. In fifteen years, when he's going off to college and the house wakes me up early in the morning with its emptiness and silence, I'm going to look back on this fondly, even longingly.
But right now? Right now, I want everyone in the house, even just occasionally, to sleep past six.