Let me set the record straight from the outset. Everything that happened before I came along is completely and utterly irrelevant.
That includes any prior commitments, relationships, personal issues and, of course, other children.
I would also like to point out that right now, at this moment in my life, I’m all about me. I haven’t had any training in social etiquette. I don’t even know how to say manners, let alone what they are. I have feelings, but I don’t understand how to read yours, or how I should be reacting to them.
I’m all about instinct. I have a need, so I demand for it to be fulfilled. Loudly.
You might use the word “selfish”, but is that a fair description for someone who can’t even hold their own head up without support?
For these reasons, I’m afraid I have zero sympathy for your current state. You say you’ve never been so tired. You rant to the one called daddy about how all your clothes smell, you forgot to eat lunch and you spent 10 minutes staring into the fridge trying to figure out what you had opened the door to get.
And then there’s the other small person in your life, the one who keeps coming dangerously close to jumping on my head.
They might have been here first, but as I said above I’m all about me. You feel torn in two when it comes to dealing with us. In my opinion, your choice is obvious.
My older sibling has had their say, so here are my words of wisdom for coping with sleep deprivation.
Your toddler can pretty much fend for themselves now. They might still be in nappies and you wouldn’t trust them with matches, but if you put a spear in their hand they could have a good crack at catching something to eat.
Therefore, when it comes to feeding, who do you think should come first? Me, obviously.
I need to double my birth weight in six months, yes, just six months. That means when you get the slightest hint that I might be hungry, you had better get that boob out pronto.
Do not put me down. Ever
I’ve just spent nine whole months tucked up in the most perfect environment. It’s custom-built for me to thrive and temperature controlled. There is food on tap and it was pretty snug the last few months.
So when you try to put me down after I’ve just drifted off with a tummy full of milk and that nice mummy smell all around me, I tend to lose it. Badly.
And it seems you lose it too. You mutter something about it being 3am and ask me “what do you want, just go to sleep”.
It’s obvious what I want. I want you to hold me. All. The. Time.
So, when can you rest? Your designated rest times are when I’m out stone cold and don’t notice when you put me down and when I’m in the car seat, because driving puts me right out every time. Don’t say I never do anything for you.
Keep on walking
You’ve taken us all out for a breath of fresh air. Brilliant. I love staring at strangers as if they’re totally mental when they walk up and start talking to me.
However your toddler wants to walk too. And, let’s be honest, they are totally rubbish at walking. They stop every step to look at a snail/stone/bird/flower/car/blade of grass.
But I don’t like it when the buggy stops. I like it when it moves. When the buggy stops, I remember you’re not holding me at the moment. This means I have to remind you, loudly, that I like being held yet again.
So I’m afraid you can’t stop pushing the buggy, ever. That rocking back and forth motion doesn’t fool me either. Also, you’re just wasting valuable energy.
If you have to leave the toddler where they are, then so be it. We’ve got places to be and I’ll be wanting another feed in the next five minutes.
Don’t forget about me
I see you playing a nice game or reading a book with my sibling. Now that’s just not fair.
Remember the number one rule. I want to be held all of the time.
If your arms are tired, you had better start toughening them up with some exercise. If your toddler has a problem with me sitting on your lap, I’m going to grab a fistful of their hair and give it a good tug.
I won’t adjust my night time eating schedule for anyone
Apparently I sometimes wake up your toddler with my nighttime crying for food. Apparently you prefer to sleep at night and stay awake in the daytime.
Well, that schedule doesn’t work for me right now. I’m not a three meals-a-day person. I’m a loads of little meals spread out randomly over 24 hours person.
If you need more sleep, I suggest you delegate some responsibility to daddy. But don’t go too far for too long. I’ll be needing another feed in the next 30 minutes.
It’s my way or the highway
There’s only one routine that matters here. Mine.
I don’t care for matching my day-to-day needs with your toddler’s current routine.
If I want to eat when you’re in the middle of playing a game, I will. If I want cuddles when my sibling is taking a nap, then you had better hold me. Do you want them to be woken up by my screams?
I hope these tips will result in a marked improvement in your work.
If you feel disheartened, take comfort in the fact that before you know it I’ll be a toddler too. And there will be two of us. That’s right. Two toddlers. Think about what fun that will be!