Family Living

Never Wake a Sleeping Toddler

824XB7BXYUNever wake a sleeping toddler…EVER.

I don’t have many parenting “rules” per se, but never waking a sleeping baby is one that I live by.  A doesn’t sleep. Like ever.  He goes to bed after a two-hour battle around 9/9:30 pm most nights and happily tells us that Mr. Sun is awake and it’s daytime at around 4:45 (when it’s in fact still very very dark and very much sleeping time).  Naps are non-existent most days unless he happens to fall asleep in the car or stroller and by a feat of miraculously divine amazingness stays asleep after I move him to his bed.  So, when he sleeps…I DO NOT WAKE HIM.  Because, anyone who has loved and intimately known the joy of raising an almost three-nager knows that when tired or hungry they are (for lack of better words) MISERABLE human beings.

Today A fell asleep on a stroller walk at around 2pm, and remained asleep until 5:30.  And, yeah, I let him sleep…like a snoring little rock.  And it was glorious.  I did absolutely nothing.  I sucked air.  I watched last night’s episode of Quantico…and then an episode of Dance Moms because it’s super important to balance your T.V. viewing habits.  For several hours I experienced silence that is otherwise absent in the house of an inquisitive toddler.

For a moment, I doubted my decision.  But what if it messes up his bedtime?! And then I remembered…his bed time is crap anyways…sleep away little man, sleep away.

It did however, remind me of all the times that first year when I doubted our schedule (or lack thereof).  While others were lamenting over eat, sleep, play or eat, play, sleep I was, well…doing none of those things in any particular order whatsoever.  We had no schedule.  Most naps happened on the go, cause I couldn’t stand being stuck in my house all day.  It was all a real crap shoot.  Sure, it probably would have been easier in some ways to have had a set schedule.  And yeah, maybe if I followed more of the “rules” or really any “rules” perhaps I wouldn’t have the worst sleeping toddler on the planet…but I also probably would have driven myself bat-shit crazy.

I remember in those early newborn months, my mommy-and-me instructor and sleep expert told us that until 4-5 months there are no bad habits and that “anything goes” as long as you can get that baby to sleep.  After 5 months, I tried sleep training…didn’t work.  Then I tried again…worked…until he had a tooth coming in.  Tried again…worked…until he got sick.  Tried again…worked…until another tooth.  Tried again…worked…until he started learning a new skill.  Sensing a trend here?  Yeah…hate to break it to you…but sleep training is bullshit.  The fact of the matter is, some days he sleeps great.  Some days not so much.  But nothing we do or don’t do seems to greatly affect his nocturnal habits.

I go through days when I question our lack of authority on the subject.  Where I deeply regret my choices as I hear my 2:30 am daily wakeup of chubby feet sprinting down the hallway, followed by a clumsy sleepy toddler climbing over me to snuggle in between us in bed.  I sometimes second guess our parenting skills when I get a swift toddler kick to the eye at 4 am, or spend another hour at the end of an exhausting day trying to get A to Go the F*ck to Sleep!  I ooze jealousy when my friends talk about the elusive nap time…a daily occurrence I formerly knew so dearly (as my sanity hours) but now is sadly a distant and very greatly missed memory.

At the end of the day, I’m sure I’ve done some things right…and as for the sleep…well, until I finally read the two books I ordered on Amazon that are supposed to help me fix this mess of sleepless days and nights, I will adopt the newborn, front lines, survival-mode mentality…whatever works as long as that kiddo sleeps!

So when it’s 5pm and he’s out cold…you best not wake my (very big) baby.


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  • Reply
    October 25, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    All the same in our house! Also re: leaving the house vs schedule yep i could never stick to it…
    I have a toddler now that gets up when ready (usually later 8/9am as shes a night owl) but thank heavens the midnight bedtime has come back to a reasonable hour (9/10pm ) have a baby now so i never sleep anyway 🙂 i always felt bad about it like i was not organised and was messing up her chance at a proper scheduled toddler life – but shes happy and smart and growing well; and the life of the party if we go to parents houses for a late dinner 🙂 im starting to see that its ok! Thanks for your article; im not the only one whose kids not in bed at the setting of the sun! Hope your little guy is sleeping better for you now a year and a half later!

  • Reply
    Neferititi Phillips
    July 7, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    I feel you lady. The nap schedule was not working for my Eli and lately he sleeps until 5p or 530p for naps. I work from home so I have a flex schedule. I just let that thang sleep.

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