Toddler’s Intuitive Sleep Schedule

Since my family chooses to eat actual food rather than grazing on our front lawn, I do actually carry a legitimate job in the real world. The blogging is just a masochistic side hobby that further robs me of sleep and sanity. Case in point: my first routine I settled on for writing blog posts was waking up at 5 am and writing for 90 minutes before the 2 year old monster started to stir and needed fed. My plan was to write from 5 – 6:30, make breakfast for my family, get ready, and be out the door by 7:40 heading towards work (fantastically short commute!). Man, this blogging thing was going to be so easy…wake up a little early, pound a couple keystrokes, assume the role of doting father by preparing a hot meal daily, and be off on my merry way to work having already accomplished something for the day.

The execution of the plan: yeah, not so much. The first two days went off without a hitch and I was well on my way. But then something happened that others here might relate to: my daughter’s sixth sense somehow, after only two days, recognized that something was off in the earth’s balance and a parent must be stirring at a new time. My wife and I have been very blessed with a moderately good and consistent sleeper in our toddler, but all of the sudden her internal alarm became set for 5:15 am. I have no idea how it happened; when I wake up, I don’t even leave my room, I don’t make coffee, and I silence my alarm. There is a ZERO possibility that this little creature can hear me. Yet, for the next few weeks, she somehow managed to wake up before 5:30 at least 5 out of 7 days a week. And she routinely slept until 6:30 for many months prior to my new attempted schedule.

So, naturally, I let her cry it out and bawl her head off while I write to you folks about how much I love my daughter. Or not. I break down, abandon my writing goals, and grab my toddler for a nice morning cuddle session. We snuggle in bed for an hour before I start getting the low-pitched gurgles of “EAT. EAT. EAT” So, rather than head to work with a sense of accomplishment that my writing was completed for the day, I head to work extra tired with work left to do at night. Somehow my commitment to sacrifice sleep to start this blog turned into sacrificing sleep while not accomplishing anything, as my blog posts were few and far between while trying to establish my habits.

I’d like to keep pretending that this post is a giant complaint that I can’t write on my own schedule, but the truth is that there is nothing quite like hearing my daughter’s pitiful wake-up moaning, grabbing her (and a portion of her stuffed animal army), and snuggling back into bed for a little quality time before work without waking up mommy or sister. This is a thing that happens. And I love it. But then I stare at my computer screen at 11:45 at night trying to scrape out something, anything coherent to post on the blog and remember that I’m 19 hours into the day without a word to show for it. I try to be responsible and schedule my work around my toddler, but that little bugger has me pegged.

It’s somewhat eerie to think about how her intuition works so well; it’s like toddlers are born with a superpower that allows them to sniff out any spare moment where mom or dad might be trying to sneak a nap, some extra work, or heaving forbid husband-and-wife time past them. The nap randomly ends early when you’re counting on that time the most. They fight sleep and go down late the one night you’re working late and fighting a deadline. And, if you’re like me, they sniff out your attempts at productivity in the early hours and randomly start waking up hours early. I suppose it’s a lesson in patience and a lesson in futility all at once. We can go the responsible route of block scheduling time, whether it be for a blog, a workout, or just some personal time, but a parent’s schedule will rarely follow the itinerary even with the best intentions. In the meantime, do your best, enjoy the unplanned morning cuddles, and laugh maniacally when your toddler disrupts your daily calendar.

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