Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Parenting a Zombie Toddler
I was under the impression that the excitement of school would tucker him out enough that he would take a nice long nap.
I was both completely wrong and absolutely right.
After attempting for nearly a half hour to get LO down for a nap at 12:30 yesterday, I was forced to raise the white flag, and a triumphant LO marched downstairs where he demanded a snack to commemorate his victory.
I put on a film for the young man to watch while I attempted to get back to work. Around 2:20, it became clear that energies were finally flagging--but LO's speech therapist was due to arrive at 3:00, so it was clear that a nap would not be forthcoming.
Speech therapy was interesting, as an increasingly manic and overtired LO started basically running around in hysterically giggly circles while the speech therapist and I attempted to get him interested in playing or communicating. No dice.
After the speech therapist left, I settled LO with some toys and again tried to work. He came over to me about a twenty minutes later, pulling on my hand, crying, and with glazed eyes. I picked him up and sat with him on the couch, where he promptly fell asleep on my shoulder.
(And by promptly, I mean within 8 seconds. It was pretty epic.)
He slept peacefully from about 4:45 until nearly 7:00 pm, which is otherwise known as bedtime.
J and I (who have this amusing idea that we know how to parent) decided to keep the child up for about an hour or so before starting the bedtime routine.
That was a mistake.
A little after 8 pm, the child got his second wind. He was joyfully chasing the dog around the house and playing with random bits of plumbing equipment (that's another blog post) for another thirty or so minutes, when the official toddler emotion switch was once again flipped. He went from giggly joy to toddler rage in just under a nanosecond. We determined it was time for the young man to go to bed.
At that point, it was nearly 9 pm.
But, of course, the child would not go to sleep. He had tasted some of the freedom afforded to those who stay up past 7:30 pm, and he liked it.
J tried to get the young man down for about an hour, and then it was Mama's turn.
Exhausted after a day of not getting as much done as I'd like, I was fast asleep and folded into an unnatural position in the toddler bed within 10 minutes. When J came to check on us (and to tell me to come to a bed that does not require contortion on my part), he found me sleeping peacefully, and LO fully awake and looking at him with the gleam of victory in his eyes. (Although that might have just been the reflection of the night light. It's hard to know for sure).
So, J abandoned me to continue sleeping in Procrustes' bed, shuffled off to slumber himself, and hoped that having both parents asleep was not the specific moment LO had been waiting for in his quest to take over the world.
As far as we can figure it, LO finally dropped off to sleep around 10:30 or 11. (Thankfully, a charlie horse woke me around midnight, and I hobbled to bed).
The child was still sleeping this morning at 8:10 when I awoke the young master to start getting him ready for school (which starts at 8:30, by the way).
Rather than allow this sleep schedule to continue to wreck our week, I've asked his teachers to make sure he stays awake until I come get him.
Here's hoping he'll be at the glassy-eyed, using toothpicks to keep his eyes open stage of overtired by then. Because if he's started in on the manic spinning phase, I'm not sure I've got the energy to deal with that.
Posted by Emily Guy Birken at 11:49 AM