My oldest kid is 4 1/2. I know my level of “expertise” only spans so far. After last night (this morning?) I feel the need to talk about the dirty little secret of parenthood that nobody fully explains. No, not the fact that you will inevitably go broke buying batteries in bulk. Not the fact that you will be forced to change your lifestyle and adapt to baby even though you SWORE that nothing about your lifestyle would have to change because baby would adapt to YOU (yea… my moronic husband and I actually said that). I’m talking S-L-E-E-P. From the moment you announce pregnancy, the jokes about “never sleeping again” start flooding in from all directions. So much so that you eventually give an automatic smile as you internally eye roll because YOU KNOW ALREADY. GOSH!
But you don’t. Hell no you don’t!
You don’t know what it means to not sleep when you WANT/NEED to sleep the most (stay out of this, insomniacs). I know I didn’t. “You’ll never sleep again” means one thing during the newborn/infancy age and something completely different during toddler/preschool age. I’m sure it will also mean something different as they are school age, and so on, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. All I know is that once, long ago, I used to sleep… like ALL NIGHT. Once, long ago, I never considered the possibility of being jarred awake by a living breathing mini human (who might as well be wearing a Michael Myers mask) staring at me- two inches from my face- while I slept. Once, long ago, I slept uninterrupted- in my bed-until the sun came up. For me, the dirty little secret of parenting is becoming intimately acquainted with hour of 4am.
Why didn’t anyone explain to me that toddlers enjoy singing their version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star mixed with Jingle Bells at 4 am? That preschoolers scream for their sleep walking parents to save them from a bug on the floor- that turns out to be lint. LINT. 4 am. Because they heard a fire truck outside. 4 am. Because they cannot reach something on their dresser… from their bed. 4 am. Because somehow the leg “fell off” their stuffed leopard. 4 am. Because they are awake for some ungodly reason and you just might as well be too. 4 am. Me writing this pointless, one-sided blog post. 4 am.
Do the mommy-to-be a favor and skip the soft blankets and adorable onesies at your next baby shower. Instead, keep it real with coffee and batteries. She’ll reeeeeaaaaallllly appreciate the gesture…
Oh, and I did manage to fix LuLu the leopard. He’s a little “different” now.