And will continue to try. I think it's worth a shot to see if this scheme is even possible. If it were as simple as just going to bed early I would have done that ages ago and his 6 AM wake ups would be a non-issue. Unfortunately I have work-related functions that keep me out until midnight or later at least once a week, sometimes more. So those mornings after are miserable, and trying to adjust to being in bed asleep by 10 is just physically impossible when every week I'm required to be driving home for an hour or more at 1 AM.
So for now I'll keep trying the "play in your room" method for a few more days. At least now I know I can stash him in there for a few minutes so I can shower in the morning again which would be awesome. I really despise showering at night. Although it does make my sheets fresh and shampoo-y.
Handyman came around today to install more cabinet latches. I decided I can't handle his tearing apart the whole kitchen several times a day. There's always this fine line between being the crazy control freak mom and the loose "the world is your playground" mom. I guess we all just have to find our comfort level in this department. I came to realize stooping over to put away my banged-up, dirty (after he stepped in them) pans fifty times a day, with a big pregnant belly and when he doesn't even seem to enjoy playing with them but instead just dumps everything and then runs off to find something else to dump, simply does not work for me. So, call me the mean mommy. I'm already about 50% more relaxed knowing those cabinets are now out of bounds.
I have also secured the broom closet so he can no longer pull out the broom and whack me in the back of the head with it when I least expect it. Yesss. I will get this child to play with his actual toys if it kills me.
People love to issue platitudes like "you don't need toys, just let them play with real life objects". Oh, how I wish this were true. Unfortunately I have recently discovered the following: most (modern) toys, unlike adult objects, are designed to protect against cuts, choking, poisoning, strangulation, falling and poking an eye out, etc. Also, you may not so much want your enthusiastic toddler "playing with" (read: banging, smashing, chewing, throwing, slobbering on) your adult objects, like books, keys, phones, remotes, etc. One TV programmed to Spanish forever or car alarm going off at 6 AM and you'll see what I mean. Oh, and that cute toddler banging your pot lids together on the kitchen floor? It might look sweet on camera but it's not so fun to live with the splitting headache that racket causes, nor discover that your pot lids are now all bent and won't fit on your pans anymore. Good times. I say bring on the toys. And awesome, Big Boy-style independent play.