Blogger, Writer, Urban Adventurer
When we were pregnant with our first kid, by far the most unsolicited advice came in the form of sleep talk. “Sleep now while you have the chance!” (I wish it worked that way.) Sure, I expected to be tired and I knew it would be draining, but no amount of warning can prepare you for the bone crushing exhaustion of the newborn phase. Once we powered through, I had the naive expectation that we would reach some sort of normalcy again. Kids sleep through the night eventually, right?
WRONG. Add a few more kids to that mix, and every night is a game of whac-a-mole dealing with whichever kid is out of bed for whatever reason. I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night. One thing is for sure, when I turn in at the end of another long day, I know that at least one (if not more) of our kids will implore these anti-sleep tactics.
The Nighttime Sneaker
For some reason, your “nighttime sneaker” has woken up and wandered down the hall to your room. Making as much noise as possible, they attempt to climb into your bed. They may or may not use your breasts as handles as they climb right into the middle. They will then proceed to kick you, sleep horizontal, star-fish, basically just about anything to ensure you won’t sleep. Nighttime sneakers come out between 3 and 4am, when you are too tired to take them back to their own room. They finally settle down about 30 minutes before your alarm goes off and then refuse to wake up for the day (of course).
The “Oh No You Don’t”
This is another, if less successful version, of the nighttime sneaker which happens earlier in the evening. Say at 11pm, when you’re reading a book or just starting to close your eyes, you’ll hear the tip-toeing down the hall. You jump out of bed and attempt to steer them back to their room before they make it to yours. Preventative measures don’t always work, but it’s worth a shot.
The Stealth Arrival
The “stealth arrival” occurs after you have had at least three nights in a row of really crappy sleep. A kid manages to make their way into your bed without you even noticing. You wake up at some point surprised to see them there, but grateful you were too tired to care about it. I commonly mistake who has climbed into bed with us, and am surprised all over again to discover a three-year-old instead of a six-year-old when I wake up. Exhaustion—it messes with your mind.
The Midnight Howl
The “midnight howl” take place after 2am when a kid starts screaming “MOOOOOOOOMMMM” at the top of their lungs like they are being murdered. You spring out of bed and run to check on them only to be greeted with, “I can’t find my lovey!” In the dark, adrenaline pumping, you grope around for a lost blanket. You will inevitably find it stuck between the bed and the wall. You hand it to your child and attempt to get yourself back to sleep with your heart still pounding wildly. Good luck.
The “I Don’t Feel Good”
The “I don’t feel good” is just like the “midnight howl,” but worse because something really is wrong. Be prepared to clean up some puke, doctor a fever, massage some growing pains in their legs, or whatever else it is that they need. While dreaded and never welcome, this one is the least annoying since at least there’s a real problem at hand.
The “My Room Is Scary”
The scary room excuse is one of my least favorites because it pretty much means they are sleeping with us for an entire night, or I am lying down in a kid’s bed until they finally fall asleep. There’s no end in sight, and could mean hours with an alert, freaked out kid.
The Bathroom Sleepwalker
A “bathroom sleepwalker” usually emerges when a kid is transitioning to staying dry through the night. They wake up and manage to make their way to the bathroom, half asleep, but they can’t quite complete the task. You’ll overhear wrestling in the bathroom or a door banging and ultimately find them attempting to undress or asleep all together on the potty. You help them finish their business and get them back to bed.
The “I Hate My Room”
You have a room hater on your hands if you can count the nights they sleep in their own bed on one hand. You try everything to keep them there. If it fails and you have hope of ever sleeping again, just set up a makeshift pallet on your bedroom floor. Keep trying. I hear they grow out of this…sometimes.
Last, But Not Least: My Favorite Child
This is the kid who manages to stay asleep in their bed all night without interrupting me. This one is my favorite, at least for the day.
The same people who gave us the sleep advice when I was pregnant say that I’ll miss this someday when they’re teenagers sleeping until noon. I’m skeptical, but hey I also thought I’d get a little sleep seven years into this parenting gig. Ha! All I know? I’m not giving up on caffeine any time soon.
What tactics do your kids use at night? Share with us in the comments!
Photo credit: Fotolia/fabianaponzi
Originally published on Mommy Nearest