Parenting and sleep go together like oil and water. They just don’t mix. When I was pregnant, everyone said that I should rest and sleep as much as possible; because once the baby arrived, I would never sleep again. They were right. Those newborn years were rough. I’m not going to lie, there were days that I feared my coworkers would find me asleep at my desk, breast pump still attached, and half a sandwich falling out of my mouth. Luckily, that didn’t happen, but our sleep problems didn’t end there.
My toddler has mastered the art of not going to sleep and I am pretty sure it is her mission in life to make sure that I never get a moment alone. Children all over this great earth are making it their life’s quest to make sure that their parents go through each and every day exhausted. There is a reason why parents celebrate a successful bedtime routine like they just won a small war –it is definitely cause for celebration, one marked with at least two glasses of wine and sometimes, ok all the time, ice cream.
I have to give my three year-old some credit though; she is very creative in her reasons for not going to bed, as well as her reasons for not staying in bed. Of course there are the usual “I need water,” “I need milk,” or “I need more snuggles,” but they don’t end there. Here are some of my favorites:
Her eyebrows hurt.
What? Is that even a thing? Yes, apparently it is. I can’t count the amount of times that she has come out of her room, just when I was about to do my happy, wine dance, down the stairs, to tell me that her eyebrows hurt. The first time I was genuinely concerned. Maybe she was trying to tell me that her head hurt. Maybe she had a tumor or some other incredibly scary ailment. But, after peppering her with questions, I am now certain that it is just one of her many tricks to defy bedtime and make sure that I miss the new “This is Us” episode that I’ve been waiting for all week.
She needs to practice getting dressed by herself.
My three-year old is very proud, as am I, of her newfound ability to dress herself. So much so that she feels the need to practice during naptime. It is not unusual for me to find her passed out on the middle of her floor, while wearing not one, not two, but six of her favorite dresses. I can’t fault her for her dedication, but I’d much rather her be resting peacefully, versus tearing apart her closet on a daily basis.
Her tummy is telling her that she needs pancakes.
My kids refuse to eat, that is unless it is 2:30 in the morning. I’ve been woken up more than once in the middle of the night to my toddler three inches away from my face, asking me to make her pancakes, because her tummy is telling her she is very, very, hungry. Child, do you hate me? Pancakes? Now? Are you serious? Go to bed. Please just go to sleep.
I am literally in a constant tug-of-war with my little humans until 8:00PM. When I have finally managed to get my toddler back into her batgirl jammies (one of the few pairs she likes to wear), read five stories after agreeing on two, had water, and brushed our teeth, and she is finally in her bed, with all four of her blankets, two pillows, lamb and zebra stuffed animals, and a book that she insists she can read in the dark, by herself, I feel like I might face plant down the stairs.
But, when I get up to leave her room and she calls out, “Momma!” I always stop; turn, and walk back to her. I kneel and say, “Do you know how much I love you?” She always responds, “so much.” And, my heart is full, and five minutes later, so is my wine glass.
Cheers to successful bedtime routines and the sleep that we rarely get!
This piece was originally featured on Little Things.