I just got my son into bed. I think I need a large glass of red wine, it’s been a long day.
He’s almost three and some days he still naps, some days he doesn’t. It depends on how well he slept the night before, how busy a morning we had, what time he got up in the morning, and some random toddler factor. Most of the time, when we go out in the morning he’ll nap in the afternoon. Or if we are at home in the morning, he won’t nap and he’ll be fine.
Then there are the days when we have a busy morning but he won’t nap. These days are much less fine. Take today, for example. We went to the children’s museum in our town, full of bubble tanks, slides, play houses, mice, and other crazy fun excitement for the under fives. After playing for an hour, Daycare Baby did exactly as she was supposed to and fell asleep in her sling around her naptime so I carried her around the museum while she slept.
Toddler was having too much fun to stop. Daycare Baby woke up, we all had lunch, then back to playing. All of a sudden it was well past his naptime and I could see the overtired, hyperactive look in Toddler’s eyes. Enter the challenge of getting him home without a tantrum, or at least not too much of a tantrum.
The trouble with overtired babies and toddlers is that they can be so cute. They don’t want to stop to sleep and they know that being adorable and funny makes mom or dad laugh and can delay the inevitable nap. Toddler is singing and dancing and laughing and hugging me and entertaining Daycare Baby and telling all the other girl toddlers in the museum that he likes their dresses.
When Daycare Baby is overtired she’s adorable, cooing and blowing kisses and hugging the dog. Then trying to get her to sleep is an exercise in tearing out your hair.
I bumped into one of our friends and her toddler, trying to get her son to leave too. Realizing that if one toddler detonated, the other one would go to (like dynamite) we created a distraction and separated them. Soon I hear a tantrum in the lobby although that could be any one of the overtired toddlers in the place.
We do manage to get towards the door, and Toddler starts whining. We go for our coats, and Toddler starts trying to run back to the exhibits. I catch him and the inevitable wailing begins. We do manage to get out with a fairly minor tantrum then he almost falls asleep on the bus home. It’s not a long enough ride for a decent sleep so I have to wake him up, more wailing, then it’s far too late to take a nap and I have to deal with an overtired toddler for the couple of hours before bedtime.
Typical overtired toddler: we have shouting, slapping, pinching, spitting, annoying the dog, refusing to read books or do anything quiet, ignoring me, shouting NO! if I ask him anything, wailing if Daycare Baby touches any of his things, and general hyperactive obnoxious behaviour.
At least bedtime was an hour earlier than normal! Where’s my corkscrew?
This is really my fault for not keeping a closer eye on the time, I should have foreseen this kind of afternoon after a busy morning and no nap. Sometimes things get away from us busy moms though, and we are all going to deal with overtired babies and toddlers from time to time.
But the most important thing to remember if you are dealing with an overtired baby or toddler is that sleep will remedy everything. A good nap or a good night’s sleep, and your manic infant will become his or her sweet self again, and all will be back to normal.