You are either born with patience or you’re not. I’m pretty sure it’s that simple. I have tried to teach myself patience, but after several years of actively trying to improve, I have decided it falls into the nature, not nurture, category.
I have gotten much, much better. But there is one situation in which all my growth flies out the window: bedtime.
I love sleep. I think I’ve said this before, but if I had two extra hours in my day, I would choose sleep over most anything else. More importantly, I need sleep. And so does a 3-year-old, for that matter.
Lately, she’s decided she doesn’t need sleep. We’ve always struggled a bit with bedtime, but usually once she’s in bed, she’s slept all night long, no problem.
Now she’s decided 5:30 a.m. is a reasonable time to wake up, or sometimes 2 a.m. or 3:30 a.m., and she completely refuses to nap at preschool. (I recently asked her if she ever gets in trouble at school, and she nodded. After I asked her what the teacher says to her when she gets in trouble, she said, “Miss Ann says, ‘Cambria, shut those little eyes.’”)
I have a friend whose 3-year-old has always woken up between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. and doesn’t need a nap every day. The difference is Cambria absolutely, positively needs to sleep. She needs sleep more than you need coffee. And way more than I need that extra cookie.
Here’s a little day-in-the-life of a sleepless family:
Refusing to stay in bed. If there’s anything worse than chasing a child back to bed, it’s chasing one who is laughing the entire way.
Falling asleep at 5 p.m. watching TV in Grandma’s bed because she absolutely wouldn’t shut her eyes during naptime. (She gets that stubbornness from her dad.)
Being a monster when she wakes up because she only napped 45 minutes and NEEDS sleep (this lasts at least a half an hour).
During the long holiday break, I reached my breaking point. I feel we have tried everything – letting her cry it out, doing the Supernanny trick of putting her back to bed without talking, sleeping on her floor, taking things away, bribing with a fun activity – you name it.
After two hours of listening to her cry and fighting with my husband about how to handle it, I gave in and did what no mom should do with her 3-year-old. I rocked her to sleep. If that is any indication of how 2012 will be, I am ready for 2013.
Have you had trouble with sleep? If you’ve got answers we haven’t tried, send them my way.
Melissa Cruickshank is married with one daughter. She works full-time. Read her here on momaha.com