Sleep! Yes we’re back on the subject. Everyone I’ve ever met, and their relatives, know that Baby G doesn’t like to sleep. She can go on for hours and hours with the supposedly physically tiring exercises that the husband and I Google and try with hope – and she will still not be up for sleep. In her 2 and a half years, she’s willingly slept 3 times. Honest.
We are no fools, we have tried everything – from the aforementioned tiring game/play sessions to warm milk, from calming Tibetan music to feng shui. Nothing seems to work. She’s as fresh as a daisy even at 3 am, like last night, when she wanted to tell me a story of ‘my school dream on swing’. Sigh. The story went something like – she had a dream (without sleeping for 5 minutes!) where she was in school and well, swinging. This story took her 20 minutes to tell. And I would have totally enjoyed it if it had been a decent hour of the day, I swear.
So, while I’ve been awake with her for almost all through these 2.5 years, I’ve compiled a list of sleeping (or anti-sleeping) excuses kids make. I’m listing a few of Baby G’s recent excuses and how I try to deal with them. Try is the operative word here.
Sleeping Excuses by Toddlers:
I want a bath: There was a time when I used to give her regular bedtime warm baths, hoping that will help her sleep. I stopped long back because she got super excited about it and got even more energised after. But she seems to remember the short lived ritual and demands a warm bath every now and then, when we are trying to get her to sleep. I just pretend that the water is super cold for a bath and because it’s winters, she seems to accept my reason. Looking for a summer reason now.
I’m not tired / sleepy: She’s had zero naps since she woke up at 7 in the morning, went to play school, came back and played hard in the garden for two hours, took a 40 minute long bath washing all her toys methodically, ran to the society park and hung out on slides swings and the see-saw till it was dark, sang songs with the TV, danced, ran in the balcony with dad (a tiring exercise, apparently), jumped on the sofa for 20 minutes, and undertook a few more activities that I’ve forgotten because of my exhaustion. But she’s not sleepy or tired. I just plonk on the bed and tell her that mumma is tired and if she doesn’t come to bed now, mumma is going to sleep without tucking her in. Never worked.
I am hungry: The universal sleep-delayer. I just give her something healthy to eat and try to take solace in the fact that at least she’s eating well.
Story time!: Baby G loves stories. I tell her at least 5 stories each night. Three Little pigs story mumma! Do the funny voice! Again! Now Dhruv Tara story mumma! Next! Yay! (you get the picture)
Sing to me: Late at night, she becomes the biggest fan of my singing. Sigh. I sing a lullaby or two, and hope they will make her sleepy. Works sometimes.
I’ll tell stories: She decides to tell stories. She makes things up, mixes a few stories in one, and goes on for a long time. I fall asleep during some of her stories. Works very well on me.
No one’s sleeping!: But we will sleep after you sleep, babies sleep first, we protest. No! You sleep then I sleep. I will sleep after you sleep because I have to work afterwards. No work, first you sleep then I sleep. All babies are sleeping, G! Just go to bed! Nooooo! You not sleeping! Always ends with me yelling, her crying and no one sleeps for a while.
I want to paint: I just tell her that paints and crayons are sleeping, they need rest and if you don’t sleep then they’ll be upset. Works about 40% of the times.
Potty!: The most annoying one. Sitting on a potty seat for half an hour, singing songs is perfectly okay with her. I just resign and let her be.
But I love you mumma!: This is when nothing works. The big gun. And it works. Because when she looks at me with those big eyes and says but I love you mumma, why you making me sleep? – I melt and play or sing or tell stories along with her because I love her so damn much.
There’s no solution, is there? We are just hoping that this no-sleep phase gets over when she’s a little older. They say kids learn to sleep well when they are 4, right? If not, I plan to replay it to her in her teens by not letting her sleep till late, and demanding that she study at 5 in the morning.
Because, Karma! Heehee. Okay so probably I won’t do it because if she’s sleeping, I’ll sleep in too and make up for the lost time, but I’m keeping my options open, you know?
What about you? Your kids sleep easily? Wait, don’t tell me. I don’t want another thing to lose sleep about.
Aditi Mathur Kumar is the author of Westland’s celebrated book on the Army Wife life, Soldier & Spice: An Army Wife’s Life. Aditi was born on Feb the 14th and since then it has all been awkward for her. An ex-advertising girl, an irregular blogger, a fanatic Army Wife and a real-life social person, and a wannabe-supermom to Gauri, Aditi has now decided to write more. So far, so good. Stalk her at Monologue or @adicrazy on Twitter.