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I'm not talking about a baby who confuses day with night and night with day. For most families, babies and sleep issues are a given.
Instead, I'm talking about a toddler or preschooler who doesn't nap, who wakes up early and goes to bed late. The high-energy kid who fights sleep by go-go-go-go-go-going all day. Who yawns, rubs his eyes and sometimes shows signs of sleep-deprived grouchiness. The kid who is so, so, so tired as well as stubborn because, darn it, he will not fall asleep and there's nothing mommy or daddy can do to make him.
I have one of those kids. My boy Ryan is 3. Most days, he wakes at 6 a.m. and nods off around 9 p.m. He hasn't napped much since before he turned 2. At this point, I don't want him napping because on those rare occasions that he has napped, even for 20 minutes, he will be wired until 11 p.m., which means none of us will get to go to bed.
As a journalist, I've interviewed top medical experts about the importance of sleep. In fact, one of my clients was a sleep doctor and I translated scientific studies full of jargon into articles almost anyone could understand. So I feel like I am educated about sleep. For instance, I know that consistent bedtimes and routines are crucial for instilling healthy sleep habits in kids. And I try to implement it with my anti-sleeper son: After teeth brushing, bedtime stories and lots of snuggling, Ryan is in his bed by 7:45 p.m. Problem is he doesn't stay put, or even wind down.
My other child, Zoe, is 6, and she has been a champion sleeper since she was a month old. I used to pat myself on the back for her model sleep habits. Now I realize I likely had little to do with them. She's just wired that way, just as Ryan is wired to go, go, go, go, go.
Perhaps I sound cynical or even defeated. I don't mean to. I'm just exhausted. It's been more than a year of Ryan waking up just as I am, of busy days and of me collapsing into sleep the minute after Ryan does.
If you have a child who rarely sleeps, perhaps you can relate. Really, that's all I wanted was a chance to vent with other moms, so thank you.
Photo of Ryan. I remember the morning two weeks ago: Ryan and I had dropped off Zoe at school by 7:50 a.m., went to the grocery store, played at one park, walked around our suburb's downtown, stopped for a goldfish and coffee break and then went to a second park, where you see him in this photo. By the time we got home, it was 10:30 a.m. and I was exhausted and wondering what we were going to do until daddy came home at 6:30 p.m.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.