5 Stages of Accepting Toddler Sleep

For the past few weeks your little one has been on an indeterminate pattern of either sleeping through the night with not a peep, or waking between 1 and 3 times seemingly inconsolable.  Each time they wake it takes anywhere between 30 seconds of rocking/singing and 3 hours of everything you can possibly think of to get them to finally wear themselves out enough to return to sleep.  Last night was no exception to this new sleep pattern.

11:30p – Your toddler decides that your 2 hours of sleep is enough for the night.  Not his fault that you don’t go to bed at 7p when they do, right? Besides, his needs are more important than your own, and if he’s not sleeping then, well…no one is.

So, after 10 minutes of wailing coming from the room across the hall it’s clear that your little one will not be putting themselves back to sleep.  Enter Mama.

You try to offer water, turn on the night-light, check the diaper, sing the usual Twinkle Twinkle…all with the quick hope that this will be only a 1 wake-up night.  You place your little one back in bed not-quite-asleep and return to your own hoping their fussing will subside as they drift back into dreamland. {Denial}

11:45p – Well shit.  That didn’t stick.

This time both you and the Hubby get up.  Re-check diaper, rub J’s legs – arms – belly hoping its growing pains, offer water, offer food – which he takes 30 minutes later, sing songs, talk calmly, play music, play white noise.  J is pulling at his jammies so you un-zip them to make sure he’s not sweating…he’s not, but you blow on his belly which sends him into a round of sudden laughter!  You can’t help but laugh too at your little one’s total randomness.  10 minutes of blowing down his shirt followed by laughter and “yeah’s”…but still no eye rubs or any sign that your little one is ready to return to sleep.  Hubby has to work tomorrow, so you let him go back to bed and you retire to the living room to walk and sing and walk and sing. {something resembling Anger}

12:30a – Ok. Your legs are about to give out and yet your little one is now more awake than ever and now is fighting you even harder.  Time to try the TV babysitter/hopefully the light will put him to sleep like it has you so many times…At least then you’ll get to sit down and close your eyes, right?  {Bargaining}

 1:30a – While you could easily sleep in this chair, your little one hasn’t so much as yawned in the last hour.  And the strange cartoons on at this time of night are making you seriously wonder how things like this make it on TV.  You realize you may not get to sleep at all the rest of the night.  You’ve already tried putting him to bed 2 more times only to be reminded by screaming that he clearly isn’t going to do that.  Nice try Mama. {Depression}

2:00a – You’re finally so exhausted that you resign yourself to listening to some screaming if it means you can lay down in your own bed.  You put your little munchkin in his bed with his blankie and his stuffie, close the door and let the screaming ensue.  As long as you know he’s safe, not hungry, not poopy then you are OK with letting him have a little scream therapy – aka: wear himself out by yelling.  {Acceptance}

2:30a – One last effort finally pays off.  You snuggle your little monster one more time as he finally drifts into sleep land once again…

Only to wake at his normal 6am.  WTH?!  Clearly missing out on 3 hours of sleep hasn’t effected his sleep timeline in the slightest. Damn…

And then you remember…only 10 short weeks until you’ll have 2 of them. Thank goodness you don’t have to work tomorrow, even though you know it’ll still be a day full of cranky Toddler and sleepy Mama.  Then again you wouldn’t trade the extra snuggles for the world. 

5 stages

Mama-ism: You’re life will never be the same

There’s lots of things you’ll discover about being a parent.  So many ways that you life will never be the same.  Changes you will make to your life without so much as a thought about it.  Some of them you’ll think back on and wonder how the transition happened so effortlesly.  Sometimes you’ll look back and wonder how one little creature could have such a huge impact on certain aspects or habits of your life…

The most common question I’ve found myself asking is in a group setting where we’ve spent the entire time talking about J or things child related…What did we used to have conversations about before we were parents?

But the one that caught me most by surpise?  As a parent, your bathroom and personal hygene routine will never be the same!

Ever pooped with your little one sitting on your lap?  If you’re a parent (especially a mom), your answer is probably yes!

Yup…never thought you’d cross that line…sure, when you got married you stopped making the effort to close the bathroom door when you pee…but you’d never put that in the same category as letting another person sit on your lap while you pooed.

I’d never really thought about the oddness of this particular new habit until a friend of mine asked if I’d ever peed with J on my lap…ooohh if only that were the extent of it!  Maybe you could avoid doing this if you were at home where you could stash the kiddo somewhere safe while you relieved yourself…but what about when you’re at the store by yourself?  They don’t have child holders in the stalls so you can use both hands to use the potty…so you get really good at using one hand to do your business and the other to hold your little one – who’s too big to be in a carseat and too little to not wander out of the stall while you’re stuck on the toilet!  Oh the conundrum of being a parent!

There’s also the showering with the door open or the little one in the boucy seat right outside the curtain…the getting dressed or undressed with a constant audience…and every other possible thing that you’d normally try and keep “in private” suddenly becomming a 2+ person job.

Ain’t it grand 🙂