Random Thoughts to Keep You Sane When Your Kids Won't Sleep

Are Unicorns Real?

Every night, my five-year-old gives me a kiss and a hug, then drifts contently off to sleep while I enjoy a hot beverage and catch up on my favourite TV shows. Also, unicorns are real, and they gently lick me awake each morning, then hand me a solid gold cup of glitter coffee. Of course my kid doesn’t go to bed nicely. He screams like the gates of Hell have opened under his pillow unless I come sit with him.

If, like me, sitting on the floor in the dark waiting for a tiny person to just hurry up and fall asleep already is not how you love spending your evenings, I offer you some ideas to make the time more bearable.

Weep for people who used to endure this torture without smartphones

My mom used to have to sit outside my bedroom door playing Solitaire. It was worth it, of course, because otherwise E.T. would have eaten me, but the fact remains that she was limited to the entertainment power of card games you can play alone. At least we have Candy Crush.

Count the time 'til college

In theory, they should be able to sleep alone by the time they leave for post-secondary education. And if not, well, chances are they will be looking for someone to share their bed who didn’t change their diapers anyway. Start with the years. Work your way down to the seconds.

Make up song parodies

Here’s a favourite of mine:

99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer. If I take them down, and drink all of them, I probably won’t care that he’s still fucking awake.

It doesn’t have the flow of the original, but it’s much more satisfying.

Guess why your ass is wet

You sat down in the dark, so you didn’t see it coming. Juice box? Pull up? Wet sponge (and yes, that did really happen)? You won’t be able to check until they are asleep, so you might as well make a game of it.

Make a mental list of the people in your life who love cats

Why? Because yours has chosen this time to scratch fervently at the door and sing you the song of its people. You aren’t really going to give your cat away – but it’s reassuring to know you have options.

Check the status of your birth control supply

Actually, scratch that. By the time this kid gets to sleep, you’re not going to need it anyway.

Guess which part of your body is going to fall asleep before your kid does

For me, it’s usually my left leg, but sometimes Righty throws a curve in there. When my hands fall asleep, I switch from guessing parts to lamenting over the state of my aging body.

Try to remember the lyrics to the ‘90s hip hop songs of your youth

Informer, asdajfh;j<nc;kj<zcnjefiofn a licky boom boom now.

Attempt to figure out how many minutes you have been sitting there since your kid fell asleep

Crap! How long have they been asleep while I’ve been hanging out on the floor like a moron? Well, it’s going to be five minutes more because both legs and my hands are asleep.

This phase won’t last forever. I know that eventually my five-year-old won’t need me to sit with him to go to sleep. Eventually, he will be like my ten-year-old who wanders the halls like Lady Macbeth at all hours of the night.

But until then, if you have a pint-sized insomniac like I do, these tips will help you grin and bear it.


Heather M. Jones is a mom of 2 from Toronto. When not writing, she can be found reading, worrying, and spending way too much time on Facebook.