"So...Are you getting any sleep?" This is one of the most common questions posed to new parents. And, to be honest, it's an annoying one. There are many different ways a mom or dad may wish to answer this question.
First, one may opt for the polite, and honest, "Not really."
Another option is a simple and stoic, "Nope."
One may be feeling overwhelmed and exhausted when this question pushes an exhausted mom or pop right over the edge, causing his or her response to be something along the lines of, "Of course not you f***ing idiot! Do you see these bags under my eyes? Do you see this giant cup of caffeinated liquid clutched in my exhausted hands? You're not allowed to ask any more questions! Unless, of course, the question posed is: 'May I come and watch your baby so you can get some shut-eye?'"
You've been warned: tread lightly when discussing sleep with new parents. And, if you're one of those people with a unicorn baby who actually sleeps, no one wants to hear about it. Keep this information to yourself, dammit. It will only cause other parents you tell, who are quite possibly in the throes of not-sleeping-ever, to break down into a fit of sobs.
Why don't babies and young children sleep? Well, the reasons are as abundant as the stars in the night sky. Babies may awaken to eat, get a diaper change, look around or to get some comfort. They may be too hot, too cold, stuffed up, thirsty, feverish, startled by a noise, frightened by a scary dream or just in the mood to play. Parents who have had a child who is a "bad sleeper" know what it is to be utterly spent.
For those of you out there struggling just to keep your eyes open right now, you are not alone. You will sleep again. In the meantime, please enjoy some hilarious tired toddler memes that all sleepy progenitors can relate to. Sweet dreams...someday!
15 Don't You Dare Leave
This one is funny until it's 2:00 in the morning and you've finally, finally gotten your child to calm down, settle into your arms, and drift off. She's breathing deeply, slumbering soundly; time to make your escape!
You gently, gently lay your child down on her soft and cozy bed. You ever-so-slowly slide your arm out from under her resting body...and turn to go. The second your arm is no longer in contact with her, she pops up like a jack-in-the-box. You jump a mile high and whisper-scream into the night air, "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" But, it's too late. She's awake. Again.
Time to choose your own adventure. Option 1: Leave and listen to her throw a tantrum for the next three hours while you lie awake and cry silent tears. Option 2: Read 5 more stories and sing 7 more lullabies to help her drift off. Prepare yourself for a sore neck. You're sleeping in a toddler bed with a knee in your kidney tonight, or not at all. Decisions, decisions.
"A mother's arms are made of tenderness and babies sleep soundly in them." -Victor Hugo
14 Not Going Down Without A Fight
Naps are lovely. Sometimes, they are illusive. Babies and toddlers have no problem drifting off in the care or stroller while Mom and Dad go about their busy lives. They also love snuggling up in Mommy or Daddy's arms for a good solid snooze. But, when a parent finally gets a day at home, and the opportunity to lay the baby down for a nice, long nap, he may not be in the mood to cooperate.
Some babies can sense their parent's desire for a break like a shark detects blood. Ever heard the saying, "A watched pot never boils?" Well, the same may be true for a young one: a watched toddler never sleeps. Eventually, water being heated on a stove will reach the boiling point, just as no baby can stay awake forever. The sad news is, watching water reach the point of bubbling, and wishing for a wide awake baby to sleep, can seem interminable.
"Everyone should have kids. They are the greatest joy in the world. But they are also terrorists. You'll realize this as soon as they are born and they start using sleep deprivation to break you." -Ray Romano
13 Getting A Little Rest and Relaxation
Traveling with a little one may be one of the most difficult things parents can do. Why? It effs his sleep up. Some young ones can jet off to exotic locals without skipping a beat. They can sleep anywhere! Their parents are sure to tell you all about it, while those who's kids sleep horribly on trips dream of punching them in the face.
Most tiny tots do not cooperate when their routine gets thrown all out-of-whack. Often, traveling includes a time change, which means your child may not want to sleep until 3:00 a.m., or may wish to awaken at 3:00 a.m. Either way, no fun.
Naps may also be difficult as they may not fit in with a family's vacation itinerary. Make due by expecting sleep to be hard to come by. Eventually, baby will sleep, even if it's on a poolside lounge chair. Hey, if that's the only rest he's getting, at least it makes for one adorable photo op.
"I feel everything more deeply. Every action I take, I think of her first. That's a big change for me. That - and no sleep!" -Jenna Dewan-Tatum
12 Considerate Fellow
The inevitable question all new parents wish they had the answer to is, "When, oh when, will my child sleep through the night?"
Sleeping through the night is considered 7 to 8 hours of sleep in which a child does not awaken. When children are between the ages of 1 and 2, they need a total of about 12 to 14 hours of sleep per day. This includes night-time sleep and 1 or 2 naps during the day.
Children are often getting teeth at this age and are also meeting developmental milestones left and right. This means a little one who was previously sleeping for long periods of time may suddenly go through what is known as a sleep regression. These regressions can last anywhere from a few nights to a few weeks. The good news? Eventually, your child will go back to her former sleeping habits. This too shall pass!
"They tell you that at his age, all they do is eat, sleep, and poop. And what I've learned is they can actually do all three at the same time. Who knew?" -Josh Duhamel
11 It's My Naptime and I'll Cry If I Want To
One of the worst parts about a child who doesn't want to sleep is the cranky mood he's in when he's sleepy. If he's literally being a cry-baby, chances are he needs a rest. Sleep is about more than just mood, though. According to Parents.com, recent research has shown that children who get enough shut-eye are less likely to struggle with obesity or get sick and will most likely perform better in school than those who aren't getting the rest they need.
So what is a tired parent to do? It's not like most parents are walking around wishing their child would just stay awake more often. It's all about routine and expectations. If a child knows it's bath, then story, then song, then bed, every night, he's more likely to comply. The same goes for nap time. Come up with some sort of daily activity that lets a little one know it's time for a rest, like dimming the lights and telling him a story, or snuggling him close and singing his favorite song. He may resist; he may cry. Just remember that sleep is the best thing for the both or you.
"Embrace it. Especially because of the lives we live, a lot of times other people have to care for [our kids] and you have to have that mommy time, Get your sleep!" -Jennifer Hudson
10 No Time For Sleep
Bedtime can be a struggle that is very, very real. Toddlers learn quickly that bed time means that play time is over, and they may resist with every ounce of energy they possess. The best way to combat this inevitable fight for rest is to ensure a tot knows what is expected and what to expect.
Try to keep dinner time and bed time around the same time every evening. Do things to help your child wind down. Avoiding electronics at least an hour before bedtime, lowering the lights, playing soft music and doing quiet activities will help a child relax and remember it's almost time for bed.
Toddlers are active and need play time. Give your child ample time during the day to run, explore and get the wiggles out. Wear her out at the park or at play dates, and she'll be much more willing to climb into bed and rest her weary head.
"First thing in the morning, we're really tired, and we look at each other and we wonder, 'Are we ever going to get sleep?' And yet, it doesn't matter if you don't get sleep. It's an honor to take care of them." -Angelina Jolie
9 You Only Live Once
Isn't this the truth? There are only so many hours in the day and kids love to play more than anything else. They may feel exhausted and torn because sleep sounds great, but building one more tower out of Legos sounds even better.
Help your child combat this inner conflict with a little assistance. Give him as many opportunities as possible to wind down. Still having a hard time getting your child to stop playing? Exasperated parents may wish to try a more unconventional approach. Tell him light's out is at a certain time every night, but he can play quietly in his room until he's tired. Do the bedtime routine, dim the lights and leave him to play with his toys until he zonks.
This bedtime compromise isn't for everyone, but sometimes you've got to pick your battles when it comes to toddlers. He'll go to sleep eventually. Sometimes it just isn't worth the fits.
"Kiss your children goodnight, even if they are already asleep." -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
8 Energizer Baby
Despite the logical assumption that children slow down and quiet down as they get sleepy, some kids get crazier and crazier the more tired they get. Your toddler may be running around the house screaming, giving you the notion she's going to be doing that for freaking ever, only to have her pass out in your arms 5 minutes later. Being sleepy can make some kids loopy, others goofy and still others down-right insane.
Combat the craziness by sticking to the set routine even when your child isn't really winding down like you wish she would. Instead of running amuck with her, suggest a story or a song to help calm her down. When all else fails, a good old fashioned ride in the car never hurt anyone, and is a sure-fire way to get your child's eyelids feeling nice and heavy.
"Yes, my kids come first, but as a parent I need to come to them with a fresh mind. I can't be too exhausted or too tired. And I am a better parent [when] I have more energy." -Molly Ringwald
7 Marvelous Milk
Milk is the nectar of the gods for tiny tongues. Little ones love the stuff...sometimes too much. Some kids get hooked and awaken in the night looking for a taste of their favorite beverage. This can make for one exhausted mama or papa, whether the milk is flowing from bottle or breast.
Some pediatricians recommend cutting babies off from nighttime feedings as early as three months. Others say babies may need to eat at night for longer, possibly even until they start solid foods at 6 months. Some parents give their babes a drink up until the ages of 1 or 2 years, simply because it's the easiest way to soothe them back to sleep.
The decision regarding how and when to end night feedings is completely up to each individual family. It's been established that eventually, all children will sleep. Mom and Dad get to decide how long they want to get up in the night before finally cutting off the milk supply.
"The only thing worth stealing is a kiss from a sleeping child." -Joe Houldsworth
6 Poor Girl
Aw, all parents can relate to this poor little one. She's having one of those days where it's difficult to remember how to put pants on, or what pants look like. Even parents of great sleepers have nights when baby is up with a cough or stomach bug, or ones when they decide to enjoy a little adult time and are feeling it when baby is up at the crack of dawn ready to play peek-a-boo.
Yes, caffeine can help, but sometimes, even a good strong cup of joe isn't going to combat the exhaustion that accompanies sleep deprivation a' la baby.
What's the solution? Get through the day however you can. Nap with your child if possible; get to bed the next night as soon as your tot is snoozing. Get a sitter to watch your babe while you squeeze in a quick rest. Just try your best to make it through, and remember to enjoy these moments of sheer and utter exhaustion. They will help you cherish what it means to get a good night's rest forevermore.
"I'm a walking zombie and I think I'm going to be like that for a while." -Tiffani Thiessen
5 Innocent Until Proven Guilty
Poor baby. He's totally and completely justified in his annoyance. He should be getting tired of getting a bad wrap for something he didn't even do. It's way too easy for Mom and Dad to blame him for any foul-smelling odors afoot in the house. He can't speak up for himself. He's just an innocent victim.
Maybe he's not sleeping all that well, but that's no excuse for anyone to throw him under the bus and blame him any time a stinky aroma is wafting through the air. Yes, sometimes baby smells are horrendous. When Baby is the culprit, feel free to play the blame game, but have a heart. Don't allow your inability to control your own smells to paint him in a bad light. That's just cruel.
"They eat, they crap, they sleep, and if they're crying they need to do one of the three and they're having trouble doing it. Real simple." -Matthew McConaughey
4 Not A Morning Person
Babies and toddlers are not always chipper and cheerful first thing in the morning, or after a long, restful nap. They may awaken in a less-than joyful mood. Kids aren't trying to be difficult when cranky-as-can-be after awakening, they just need a little time. Allowing them the opportunity to wake up fully by doing a quiet activity can help. Morning may be a good time to let your child snuggle up with your for an educational television program, a favorite storybook or a cuddle in bed.
Whenever possible, give young kids the time they need to fully awaken before offering food or throwing them into clothes and hustling them out the door. Of course, the busy lives we lead don't always make this a possibility. Just remember to be gentle with newly-awakened tots. Give them a minute to stretch and stumble. Waking up is hard to do.
"Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year olds." -JoJo Jensen
3 Wrong Side Of The Bed
The fact has been established that sometimes, babies and toddlers aren't all sunshine and rainbows in the morning. They may take a few minutes to adjust to the fact that it's day time again: time to get cracking. Don't feel too badly if your baby is less-than-thrilled to see the light of day. It's natural to take some time to become fully coherent after a great night's rest.
Your child will be playing the day away in no time, but if he's not going full-speed ahead right out of the gate, don't be alarmed. Just like you need a minute to fully regain consciousness after a restful night of sleep, be prepared for the fact that your baby may look a little frightful first thing in the morning. Give him a minute. Before you know it, he'll be the boy who flushes watches down the toilet and unspools all of the toilet paper that you know and love.
"My aunt [gave me the best advice]: Put her to sleep yourself every night. Sing to her and cradle her in your arms and sit by her side - every night. Because one day you won't be able to." -Salma Hayek
2 And...She's Out
The silver lining to having a baby or toddler? Eventually, she must sleep. It's a fact of life. No one can stay awake forever: not even the whirlwind of energy that is your child. Sometimes, children have minds of their own. If your baby wants to play and play and play and play and resists sleep like the Black Plague, just know that eventually, she will succumb.
Plus, no matter how incredibly frustrating and exhausting babies and toddlers can be, the second they fall asleep, everything changes. When your child is breathing softly and her lashes are resting on her rosy cheeks, all of the exasperation you may have felt earlier will waft away. You will find yourself missing your baby and almost, almost wishing she'd wake up so you could give her one more kiss. Enjoy the silence. She'll be at it again before you're quite awake, but you'll survive.
"People who say they sleep like a baby don't have one." -Leo J. Burke
1 So So So Tired
The exhaustion felt by parents is something otherworldly. It's a sensation only those who have been there can relate too. It's the kind of tired that seeps all the way down into your bones and causes you to drift off at red lights and while reading the same story to your child for the 13th time.
The truth is, it's really, really hard to be a mom or a dad. It's so tiring. It takes every bit of you, and then some. Some days, just surviving is all that is possible. When those who have never been a parent complain of wishing they could get some rest, be kind. It's tempting to give them a piece of your exhausted mind, but remember this: you get to enjoy the sweet sleep of someone who is giving their all every second of every minute of ever day. This sleep is reserved for those who sacrifice it all, you awesome parents you. Enjoy sleeping like you're under anesthesia. You've earned it.
"For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow. So, quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep. I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep." -Unknown