A toddler’s life is nothing but phases. A biting phase. A throwing things phase. A take-your-pants-off-and-ride-the-cat-around-the-house phase. Some phases are over in a few days, others drag out for weeks. But rest assured, if the little ones are waist-high or lower, they’re in a phase.
The newest phase is one that needs to be over immediately if not sooner, though I fear it’s one of those marked end date indeterminate. This is the morning means nothing phase, AKA the toddler is his own alarm clock phase, AKA abandon all sleep ye who enter here phase.
Parental sleep deprivation is no joke. You can break Navy Seals with a non sleeping baby. But the morning means nothing phase is a new animal. Because with your run-of-the-mill midnight baby wakeup call, you get to go back to sleep. It may be fitful sleep, and it may take you a while, but you get to drop off again. In the morning means nothing phase, your only hope is to go to sleep as soon as possible after the child goes down, because the kid is going to wake up, for good and with no hope of going back to sleep, whenever he damn well feels like it. 5 AM? Bet on it. 4? The sprout laughs at 4. 3:30? Challenge accepted.
It’s bad enough that we’re still trying to catch up on his newborn year of non sleep. Work schedule has us waking up by 5:30 on a regular day, so those last few minutes of sleep are critical. But the toddler cares not for those crucial final minutes.
This week he has decided that 5:00 AM is wakey time and screams until one of us saves him from his crib. He has done 4:00 AM on us before, but thankfully that is not the majority. Usually we try and bring him to bed with us but he ends up using us as jumping pillows or screams for attention. He always wins.
No one warns you when you have a child that you start compartmentalizing your year by what phase your child is in. Someone asks me what I was doing in June 2014? That was the month where Bryce was in his I will only poop while you are holding me while you bounce on an exercise ball phase. June 2015? Every toilet I come across I will stick my hand into phase.
When I ask other parents whose kids are older when it will get easier they just look at me with pity. It doesn’t get easier, it just changes they say. So true. Phases. I am hoping this one is short. But the I only will eat a vegetable if it comes from a pouch phase is still going strong so who knows. So if you want to invite me to a dinner don’t bother. I go to bed at 8:30 PM currently for the unforeseeable future…