The Honest Toddler on Sleep

Everything you need to know about sleep, from a child's perspective. An excerpt from The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting.

Sleep: Weaning Yourself Off It

Sleep is such a sensitive topic. How can I say this gently . . . STOP BEING SELFISH. You’ve had your whole life to sleep. Rest time is over. Now you must be as vigilant as you can be to help your toddler achieve glory. Forsaking sleep will be hard at first, but just like plants that have figured out how to get food from the solar system, you can do amazing things if you apply yourself.

Weaning Yourself Off Sleep in Four Easy Yoga Poses

I work closely with a team of unlicensed physicians. Together we have developed a plan that will rid you of the annoying need to close your eyes for several hours every night. By remaining alert, you will be better able to meet the needs of the most important member of your family. If you still don’t know who that is, start this book again from the beginning.

It’s time for enlightenment. Empty your psyche of unnecessary information, and close the Facebook application on your mobile device. Clear a space for yourself on the floor. Let’s begin.

Pose #1: Downward Spiral Dog
Make an upside-down V with your body. Your bum should be in the air. Breathe out the sleepy feelings, and breathe in the Cheerio crumbs in the carpet. Let them go directly into your brain to help block out negative feelings. When your head is full of whole-grain oats, scream, “I’M ALIVE!”

Pose #2: Golden-Arm Stretch
Stand in the kitchen. Bring your arms high above your head and reach toward the top of the fridge. Feeling the length in your spine, grab whatever treats you’re hiding up there and hand them to your toddler. Bend at the waist and feel your body get rejuvenated.

Pose #3: Generous Spirit
Sit on the floor with your legs crossed and your wallet or bag in front of you. Close your eyes and let your chakras align. With your eyes still firmly shut, enjoy the sound of your toddler rifling through your personal belongings. Do nothing. Be grateful for life.

Pose #4: Love Offering
This is an all-day pose. Start with a breath that rises from your core. From a standing position, bend down and pick up your toddler. Do not put her down for the rest of the day. Whisper a silent “thank you” for this moment.

Congratulations. You are now a yoga master and less focused on yourself. No paper certificates will be given out at this time, as they were accidentally consumed.

Sleeping Through the Night

I’m going to get right to the point: sleeping through the night isn’t a real thing. The idea was invented by the pillow industry in 1807 and has been chased by parents ever since. Do not expect your toddler to stay asleep for longer than two to three hours at a time. Young, beautiful children have very active brain waves that can’t calm down. This is nobody’s fault, but it might be yours.

If friends tell you that their toddler is “sleeping through the night,” feel sad, because that child may be a dunce. Children without imagination will often sleep for extended periods of time to hide their lack of creativity. Infants are notorious for this, as most do not know what it feels like to have an original thought. Never envy someone with a child who sleeps until morning, because that child will not be able to hold down a job.
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Dear Mom,
I can tell from the way you haven’t looked me in the eye since fetching me from my crib well before dawn that you’re upset about last night. Waking up every forty-five minutes to an hour and a half isn’t easy for me, either.
In my defense, my blanket really did keep coming off, I was thirsty, and . . . I can’t remember the other reasons, but I’m sure they were equally valid.
There was at least one nightmare. I was in a strange house. I knew it wasn’t ours, because the dishes were washed and your hair wasn’t everywhere.
I do want to thank you for bringing back the three A.M. milk that you worked so hard to get me off of. It was delicious and instrumental in helping me wake up soaked in urine at around four. Can’t wait to have it again forever.
You seem tired and short-tempered this morning, which is why I felt more comfortable writing this than having a face-to-face. Can I get you anything? A cup of coffee? While you’re up, please bring me a sippy cup of juice and some unbroken crackers. Oh, that’s right. We don’t have crackers . . . I recall you saying that around one fifteen. That’s okay. Why keep the house stocked with my favorite foods? I’m sure we have two kinds of wine. But that’s really okay.
Anyway, I wanted to thank you for changing my pajamas and throwing that towel down on my pee-pee sheets. I noticed you didn’t open your eyes once (weird). It’s also okay that you didn’t actually change my sheets. I find the faint smell of ammonia comforting. Love means doing things halfway.
I mean, I know another mother or a grandma might have removed the soiled sheets and replaced them with freshly laundered ones, but you just do you.
There is something I want to discuss now that I have your attention. It’s none of my business what goes on between you and my father after I go to bed, but if you could just throw on a robe before coming into my room, that’d be awesome. I think you should definitely rock what you’ve got, but “angry nude lumbering zombie” isn’t your best look. I want to be honest.
This seems like as good a time as any to bring up the possibility of reintroducing cosleeping. I can’t promise I won’t deliver the occasional upper cut, but at least one of us will get a good night’s sleep, and isn’t that what matters?
Anyway, I hope this note brings you some comfort. You really do look awful. Maybe you’d feel better if you made us some breakfast?
Love and hugs, your HT

Excerpt from: The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting Written under the supervision of Bunmi Laditan. Published in Canada by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. © 2013 by Olubunmi Laditan. All rights reserved.

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