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Sleep Deprivation is real

The dazed look of a new mother is expected by, pretty much, all of society. Because you have a newborn, no one cares if you send unintelligible emails, flip out for no reason, or fall asleep during conversations. But, as your child gets older, people just assume that your kid sleeps more like a normal human being and you gradually get your life back together.

These people have apparently never interacted with a 3 year old boy. Or maybe, I am the crazy one that has a child that just never needs any sleep. Maybe, my kid is the anomaly that has somehow evolved to a level where unlimited energy actually gets stronger and more potent the less sleep he gets. It certainly feels possible.

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I just don’t understand how a 40 pound child can run (and, when I say run, I mean “Watch how fast I can run!” and “Look mom! I’m the Flash!” and “Hey! Let’s race all of the time but you better let me win or I’ll throw a tantrum” kind of running) all the time. Always. And yet, he rarely sleeps. Matt and I have to bribe and beg to get him into the bed by 9pm. We have set up schedules, routines, story time, relaxing bath soaps, night-lights, and more “incentives” than I care to admit. (I bought a Glow Worm the other day, in the infant section, seriously.) And he still won’t fall asleep until 10pm, wakes up 2 to 3 times throughout the night, and still refuses to nap during the day.

So, I challenge the notion that parents of newborns are more tired than parents of toddlers. And I would argue that I now have the bodily evidence to support this assertion.

About a month ago, after multiple nights in a row of getting up 4 or more times for bad dreams, to be covered up, to take him to the potty, or because “Mommy, I just want you,” it was Sunday night. I had read (what felt like) 16 books and I sang “You Are My Sunshine” so many times the tune kind of sounded like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Farmer in the Dell” mixed together. My eyes were so puffy and strained that the glow of the night light gave me an instant headache.

I finally decided he was completely asleep so I stood up to tiptoe out of his bedroom.  On my way out, I noticed a bunch of extra cups and snack bowls laying on the floor so I picked those up too.  I crept as quietly as possible out of the room, eased the door shut as gently and slowly as possible, winced every time the floor creaked ever so slightly under my feet, and turned around to go downstairs and drink a much needed glass of wine.

Apparently, however, I didn’t realize how close to the top of the stairs I was (how could I realize anything since I hadn’t slept in 6 months!?).  I felt my right foot desperately grasp for the top stair only to find empty air beneath it.  My left foot followed suit and went flying as well.  My entire body is falling fast and yet it totally felt like everything was moving in slow motion.  Next, my ass made a giant thud on the edge of the middle stair and sent throbbing pains up my back.  Then, the back of my head cracked against the top stair, my glasses shot off of my face and ended up on the landing 7 steps down.  When my head hit, I saw a flash of light that hurt way worse than the glow of the nightlight.

When I finished falling, I laid in a crumpled ball on the landing.  Matt came rushing to me with a look of straight fear in his eyes.  I laid there in silence for a good minute or two.  And my first words to Matt were not about my throbbing ass, my fear that I had a concussion, or the state of my glasses.  All I could think was whether or not I woke up the baby.

The next morning- this was the bruise on my ass.

The next morning- this was the bruise on my ass.

My ass about 5 days after the fall.

My ass about 5 days after the fall.  The bruise was about the size of my entire hand (we’re talking whole ass cheek bruise.)

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This is my life

So apparently, parents don’t need sleep.  No one tells you this.  It’s not in books.  It is not common knowledge and, the other parents that could tell you about it, are too damn tired to bring it up in casual conversation.

With that said, three year olds don’t sleep either.  At least, not when you want them to.  And especially with no kind of consistent pattern.  They also, all of a sudden, have all of these new rules about sleeping.  For example, a certain three year old in my home (who, let me say, previously went to bed on a very standard schedule, needed a dark room, and always slept a minimum of 10 hours at a time) has suddenly decided that he needs 2 night-lights, the hall light on, the bedroom door open, and one of his parents on the floor next to his bed in order to even consider going to sleep.  And, even then, might just flat-out refuse.

Now, (and I want to make this perfectly clear) when I am on the floor, I do NOT sleep.  I also have a very strict rule about putting Noah in the bed with us.  [Mommy and daddy’s bed is not for kids.]  So Matt, being the amazing and selfless individual that he is, has been sleeping on the floor with Noah for the past month since Noah has decided that he is afraid of everything in his room. I keep trying to think of an alternative option and Matt says, “No big deal.  I can sleep where ever.”

This horrible situation has been working for us for the past few weeks.  However, I can’t sleep on the floor and Matt can’t keep sleeping on the floor forever.

Well, last week, Matt had to go out of town for work and I was left to be a single parent of a toddler for 4 days.  This meant, of course, that I would take over “sleeping on the floor” duties while he was away.  The thought of this made me cringe so, without any hesitation, I headed directly to the mattress store, dropped $300 on a very nice twin mattress set, and made a “Mommy bed” in Noah’s room.  I bet you can probably guess what happened next…

Night 1:

Me- “Okay, Noah.  It’s time for you to get in your bed and mommy will get in the bigger bed.”

Noah- “NOOOO!  I want the new, big bed!!!”

Me- “No.  You can sleep in your bed and I can sleep in the big bed.  Or you can sleep in the big bed and I can sleep in my room.  You choose.”

Noah- “But, I’m scared. [Insert super sad Noah face here.]

Me- “If we put your mattress directly on the floor next to my mattress, will that help?”

Noah- “I think so.”

Both of us got a full night’s sleep.

Nights 2 & 3:

Me- “Okay, Noah.  It’s time for you to get in your bed and mommy will get in the bigger bed.”

Noah- “NOOOO!  I want the big bed!!!”

Me- “No.  You can sleep in your bed and I can sleep in the big bed.  Or you can sleep in the big bed and I can sleep in my room.  You choose.”

Noah then runs around his room, playing with toys, pulling the covers off of me, asking for milk, asking to go to the bathroom, and then finally settling down in his bed.

Night 4:

After learning from his teachers that he had several tantrums throughout the day at school, thrown a toy truck at a kid in his class, stolen a prize out of the surprise box, drenched me in gallons and gallons of water during his bath, refused to eat any of his supper, and kicked me more times than I could count, it was finally time for bed.

Me- “Get in your damn bed!”

Noah- “NOOOO!  I want the big bed!!!”

Me- “Fine.”

And now, this is my life.

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