Can you keep your child on a schedule? No? Me either. When my daughter was born I devoured all of the baby books and every single one said babies and children thrive best on a schedule of some kind. My daughter has been anti-schedule since birth. Like it’s her job to not be scheduled. She’s CEO of “I will not be placed on a schedule.” I think she’s been getting back at me for that induced labor my rising blood pressure forced upon both of us. She didn’t get to arrive in the world when she wanted to and has been making me pay for it ever since.
In her first weeks of life she never slept for two hours straight and then woke up hungry like all of the baby books promised she would. She’s never been much of a text-book baby. Sometimes she slept thirty minutes. Sometimes she slept ninety. Sometimes she didn’t seem to sleep at all…for three months straight. That might just be my fuzzy memory talking, but I don’t remember sleeping…ever. That’s not a joke. There was one day when I was a sobbing mess in a heap on the floor. I was completely exhausted. Not sleeping for more than 20 minutes at a time for weeks really takes a toll. If I ever have another child I will not be shy about making Jim take some of the night shifts. That is a mistake I will not make twice! If baby number two comes along I won’t be doing any of that heroic stay-at-home-mom I don’t need sleep because I don’t have a “real” job nonsense like I attempted to do with when Tiny-Small was born.
Anyway, as she grew I tried to schedule our days with activities and naps. She laughed at my efforts (probably along with God because doesn’t he usually laugh at our best laid plans or something like that?). For a couple of days she would take her nap at the same time of day just to trick me into thinking she was getting this whole schedule thing. This would usually last just long enough for me to think it was safe to make a few plans for us to get out of the house, but, as soon as she caught a whiff of a trip to the park or to the grocery store, she would refuse to sleep at the scheduled time and or fall asleep moments before we were supposed to leave. She missed out on a lot of cool stuff. She almost missed Halloween one year. I’m not kidding. She also missed seeing Santa and more than a few birthday parties. Having someplace fun to go is like a sleeping pill for that kid. This is also why we have never made it to story time at the library, not even once in almost two years!
We keep her door open at night in the winter months because our house is heated by one wood stove. Her room doesn’t have it’s own heat source, and it’s the furthest away from the wood stove, so we open her door before we go to bed to keep the warm air circulating well. Last night she woke up twice in the night and came into our room to tell us she was afraid of the dark and, then, that she thought she might have seen a spider…in the pitch black room. She also wanted breakfast at 1 am. Then she got up at 5:45 am. I tried to put her down for a nap at 2 pm the next day, which is the time we aim for, every day, but she didn’t sleep. Instead, she fell asleep at 5:30 pm and I have a feeling she is going to sleep through the night. I will spend the rest of the week getting her back on the schedule I have been working at getting her on for her entire life and I have no doubt that her new (old) schedule will be disrupted before the week is over. It’s a losing battle. The real question is when will I accept defeat?
Don’t even get me started on eating.
So, tell me, have you ever had a child that you couldn’t keep on a schedule? Or get on a schedule? Also, if your child has been on a schedule from day one I salute you. Please don’t tell me how easy it was because that’s just cruel. Trust me, I am already insanely jealous.