A toddler’s guide to coping with sleep deprivation

Hey parents, so you think you were tired when I came along? Just look at what me and your new baby have managed to achieve now we’re working as a team.

You thought your hair couldn’t get any messier, your eyes couldn’t feel any drier and your clothes couldn’t be any dirtier. You were wrong!

The thing you need to understand is, you might have extra responsibilities since the new baby came along, but I don’t.

In fact, as the firstborn I still expect to have first refusal on all toys, all food and all of your attention. If you have a problem with that, if you’re struggling to fulfil those demands, guess what? I don’t care. I’m two.

Anything less than this will result in serious consequences. Such as lengthy tantrums, nap refusal and, just to really make my point, waking up in the middle of the night.

But the new baby is keeping you awake when you should be resting so that you have enough energy to play with me all day tomorrow.

To help you through this, and make sure you meet my expectations, here’s a few suggestions:

Just get up

Why are you just lying there when you could be up and playing with me? The breakfast isn’t going to make itself, you know!

Why waste time thinking about getting up, when you could just get up now. In case you forget it’s time to get up, I’m going to ask you to get up over and over again until you do it. I’m helpful like that.

Put on the TV

Do you want to eat your breakfast in peace? Then I suggest you put the TV on. And don’t even think about putting the news or that food programme on. Paw Patrol is what we need to watch. Obviously.

Take me out

Let the play see the park. I want to be outside running and flapping my arms. I want to pick up stones and lick them. I want to climb up something really, really high and then cry until you get me down. I want to throw sand in the air above my head and fill my shoes with it.

Then, I want to go to soft play. And the farm to feed the goats. Your attendance and enthusiastic participation in all of these activities is mandatory.

Read my mind

I often hear grown-ups talking about “phases” and “terrible twos”. What you fail to understand is I wouldn’t have to get cross about things if you could just get them right the first time.

I’m a pretty simple individual. I like chocolate, ice cream, CBeebies, the slide and bouncing. If you don’t know what I want before I ask for it, I’m going to be angry. And you won’t like me when I’m angry.

Put the baby down

The baby is constantly being held by you. I hate seeing that little person in the spot that should be reserved for only me. Put the baby down and give me a cuddle.

I don’t care if the baby is small and cries. And no, you can’t hold us both at the same time. Stupid.

Make my dinner first

What are you doing pulling your top down, again! You’ve been at it non-stop today. The baby cries all day long anyway.

I’m hungry now and I don’t want to wait. I want meatballs and pasta. No, I don’t want a sandwich.

Give me a bath

I want you to splash and play with all my toys. Not sit on the edge of the loo feeding the baby, again!

Do not even think about putting the baby in the bath with me. I will kick her and I won’t say I’m sorry.

I need a proper goodnight

I want a long story, a nice chat, a big cuddle and to be tucked in with a kiss like you did before the baby came along and messed everything up.

I can tell when you’re skipping pages of the book. I can’t read yet, but I remember how the story goes and you just missed the best part. Go back and do it again!

If I want to ask about where the stars go in the daytime, I will ask about it and I expect a proper response. I don’t want to hear you say; “they go home,” followed by a big yawn. I’m two, I’m not stupid.

Get more sleep

Everywhere we go nice people tell me what a brilliant sibling I am and they tell you to get more rest. These people are obviously very, very clever so you must listen to them.

If you had a proper night of sleep then you wouldn’t be so tired all day. This is where it all goes wrong. So what you need to do is sleep when I’m asleep. It’s so obvious, why haven’t you figured it out yet?

I’m sure the baby would sleep better if you didn’t keep getting up to pull your top down and feed her again. Listen to the nice people’s advice and get more rest. Really, you’re silly to not follow good advice like that.

I hope to see a lot of improvement in your parenting from now on.

But remember, even though I cry, shout and stamp my foot sometimes, I love you more than the moon, the sun and all the stars. And there are lots and lots of those.

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