Every now and then I have a wonderful, full night’s sleep. I savour it like a decadent piece of chocolate cake, never knowing when the next one will come my way. Although my child has recently turned three, we are still battling, and I’ve put together some reasons why I feel I am destined never to get any sleep as long as this phase is in place (please may it come to an end soon!)
I recently read a thread on a Facebook mommy group asking people about their bedtime routines. One after another people responded how their kids go to bed sweetly at certain times, with a system that starts as early as five o’clock. I felt so removed from all of that. Sure, we have a specific routine, but the kid sure doesn’t go straight to sleep at a certain time. Am I the only one with a kid that won’t sleep when you want him too?
Here is the list of the contributing factors he has come up with to drive me batty, as well as unavoidable circumstances that mess with our sleep:
1. Fall asleep in the car at all the wrong times. Car trips can work for and against you. It’s great when you’ve had a morning out to have your little one fall asleep in the car on the way home. That way you don’t have the hard work involved to get him to sleep for his early afternoon nap.
However, a lot of the time, the car trips are unavoidably at the wrong time. When I take the maid to her taxi stop, if Nicky hasn’t had his nap he falls asleep on the way back which means I will struggle to get him to sleep at bedtime. Falling asleep too early when I fetch hubby from work can work well or not: it just depends on him, and also if he’s had enough to eat (see next point).
2. Not eating enough before falling asleep at all the wrong times. On Monday we had our last moms and babes swimming lesson. I brought Nicky’s supper and put him in his PJ’s knowing he would fall asleep in the car. The little one fell asleep immediately (at about 4:45pm) with the pouch still in his mouth and without having touched his supper. That meant a 2am wakup. He has been known to be very specific with these early morning food requests. “Sandwich. Butter. Jam. Cheese,” on top of the normal “Biccy!” and “Juice!”
3. Get the dog to help keep mom awake. I was just slipping into a hard won peaceful sleep at about 4am after one of these 2am wakeups when the dog starting scratching on the door to be let out.
4. Use the bed as a trampoline. When you’re full of energy and don’t want to sleep, why not jump? Just another way to drive mom bonkers.
5. Throw your cars off the side of the bed. My kid likes to have cars as his object of affection. He holds onto them for security. He will drive them all over my body while breastfeeding as well. It seems to calm him down. But when he wants to be awake it’s much more fun to throw them off the bed so that we have to turn on the light and mount an expedition to find them, which sometimes requires moving the bed.
6. Have multiple expeditions to the kitchen (or other places) for various items. Isn’t it fun to ask for “biccy”, “juicy”or “naartjie” in the middle of the night? Or a lost toy, like zebra? I have recently wised up and placed the biscuits and juice right next to the bed to save me a trip. I don’t always know where his favourite toys are though.
7. Make farty noises and giggle hysterically. Nicky thinks that making these noises is hilarious and of course 3am is the best time to practice all sorts of them.
As much as I complain about a lack of sleep, I am very grateful for my little miracle and I’d rather have no sleep than no child at all! I’m also especially grateful to my husband for taking on a portion of the night shift last night! Apparently after an hour of driving cars all over each other sleep was finally achieved by promising him a breakfast out at the Wimpy.
What circumstances do you have that make your sleep situation worse? And what tactics does your child employ to delay sleep?