Parenting Fail #324

I know what I’m supposed to do. A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for a local parenting magazine reminding other people to do it. I didn’t take my own advice, and I won’t even pretend that I’m sorry.

All the experts advise getting kids on their school schedule a week or two before school actually starts – goodbye, late nights; hello, early mornings. Yeah. I didn’t do it. I did cut out the late nights. Everyone’s in bed nice and early. Because that’s a hardship for me. I did that part. It’s the waking up early I didn’t do. I have a good reason. Meet my reason:

I know. He looks like a baby Nosferatu. He was eating bing cherries.

I know. Squish looks like a baby Nosferatu. He was eating Bing cherries, not feasting on the flesh of villagers. I swear.

Rousing the Padawan early involves waking his little roommate, as well, something I’m not quite willing to do. Because the kid doesn’t sleep. Naps are for pansies, bedtime is for losers. If he deigns to sleep, I am loathe to wake him because once his tootsies hit the floor, he is all up in my bizness awake for the next fifteen hours, about four of which are pleasant. Apparently not wanting sleep and not needing it are two different things.

Logic would tell you that taking a kid out and letting him burn off all his energy would help said child to sleep like a dream. Logic would be a big, fat liar wrong. I took the Padawan and his buddy on an overnighter to another city recently, knowing that if Squish can fight sleep for two hours all alone in his room, sharing a hotel room with four other people would make bedtime extra fun. But I had a plan.

That plan started with swimming. I chose a hotel with a pool so we could do a little splishy-splash. If I let Squish go for a nice, long swim, I reasoned, he’d be more amenable to catching some Z’s. Right? You know how it ends.

We swam until 9pm, then we went upstairs. He was tired. Very tired. But tired is only a kissing cousin to sleepy, so the next part of my plan involved a little television. Give me fifteen minutes in front of the TV, and I’m snoring like an asthmatic bulldog. Like mother, like spawn, right? After two-and-a-half hours of House Hunters, Squish finally fell asleep

Sleep may be too strong a word, really. He’s a bit of a flopper. He never hit a deep sleep, alternating between  bludgeoning me about the head, and dragging his claws toenails up my shin.

I never studied physics in college, but I did not expect that a body with such little mass could displace so much space. He put down roots in prime mattress real estate – dead center – and I couldn’t budge him for love nor money. At about 2am, desperate for some sleep, I scooped him up and slid him eight inches west and tried to tie him in place tuck him in. My efforts backfired, and I suddenly had a Squish clinging to my head like a baby octopus. It would have been easier to sleep in the floor. With a tiger.

At 7am, the kid was awake. Perhaps you are thinking that eight hours is all Squish’s body requires to function at top capacity. Does this look like top capacity to you?

Yeah, I'm all set.

“Yeah, I’m all set.”


We had two melt-downs and a Come-to-Jesus meeting before we even left the hotel. Tired = wired. Isn’t that fun? But I’m not one to give up. Because of my plan and all.

My plan told me that a long day spent running around out of doors would lead to a quiet car ride and pleasant night. You see where this is going, right? We enjoyed six hours at a zoo, two of which were spent playing hard on the enormous playground. Then we popped in the car for the three-hour ride home. I waited for him to fall asleep. And waited. And waited. Yeah. He was awake the whole time, refusing to punch his ticket for the dreamland express until after 9pm, three hours after we got home, and two hours after I began to seriously consider selling him to the circus. I love plans.

So I hope the experts will excuse me for enjoying a few minutes of solitude. If they judge me, I hope they do so quietly. Squish is still asleep.

38 thoughts on “Parenting Fail #324

  1. I seem to recall my kids getting coughs about the time we were at the end of the sleep rope. Big purple bottle of the sniffles juice and they were out like a light.

  2. Just thinking about that kind of energy makes me exhausted. Maybe because I wasn’t a very hyper or excitable kid, if I wasn’t asleep I was quietly curled up in my bed with a book, so it worked out in my parents’ favor. I worry about my possible future kids’ temperaments sometimes.

    In other words, I don’t blame you for getting some peace and quiet. 🙂

  3. My daughter didn’t eat or sleep until she was 9. Now she has 2 girls just like her. She learned that they get up early no matter what time you put them to bed so she puts them to bed early. They don’t sleep but they are in bed!

    • I do love the “in bed” part. He has invented a number of games, such as “Dried out and thirsty,” and paradoxically, “Gotta go pee” to prevent having to stay put. We’re working on it.

  4. When I saw the first picture and the title of the post, I thought – OK, Heather’s gone and let Squish cut his lip. But then I realized that’s the least of your worries.

  5. Because I was a single parent, when my daughter decided she liked to sleep late in the mornings I encouraged her with all my heart. Of course this backfired when she got to school age, but worked a treat on the weekends.

  6. Four kids in, I still don’t make them follow a schedule until it starts. They never can sleep the night before the first day, and they’re exhausted after that first day, so it all works out. (Or at least, it has for us.)

    He is too cute, and your caption is charming. Mini Nosferatu. LOL

    • You’re right. They never can sleep the night before school. I couldn’t, either, come to think of it. We made sure of it. Our parenting fail #325 was to rearrange their room right before they went to bed the night before school started. Because in the five years we have lived here, that particular configuration had never occurred to us. We’re awesome parents.

  7. In my mind, I am comparing this experience to when I don’t give my dog enough exercise sooo you can tell I’m super prepared for motherhood. I hope I still have humor when my spawn arrives — at least you got that down!

  8. Wow, I love this kid. You’re right, he and my grandson would make such a pair. They think alike and have the same adorable assessment of life. I used to try the sleep adjustment/school thing. Not so sure if it worked. Not so sure it mattered because the teachers take the summer wind-down into account, especially when they are really little.

  9. You may try LESS stimulation rather than attempting to wear him out. An hour or so before bed no TV, no electronics, just a bath, cuddles and a book or two, low lights. Some kids are super sensitive to stimulation. My youngest (diagnosed w/ADHD @7) was extremely difficult to put to bed. She sleeps like a rock once she’s out, but getting her to sleep was tough. It isn’t as bad now that she’s older, but she still tends to stay awake long past the “in-bed” stage and then she’s tired and cranky the next day.

  10. Yikes I could not deal with that. Obviously you’ve done all the standard stuff like turning down the lights and volume a few hours before bed, nothing stimulating etc, waking him early so he’ll go to sleep earlier, no sugar? I sure hope he doesn’t grow up with insomnia, that sucks. What does he DO all alone in his room in the dark for 2 hours before finally falling asleep?

  11. THIS is why you have children in pairs and room them together. (I couldn’t manage twins, but Irish twins did fine.)

    Make sure all hard-edged toys are well-stored, put the kinder gently and peacefully to bed, turn off the lights, close the door, and ignore all subsequent giggles and noises that do not require a rush to the E/R.

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