When someone who does not have children tells me that they are tired, I laugh. I used to be one of those people - but it was my own doing - working, going out until all hours and being involved in various other activities. I had the opportunity to slow down and sleep more or nap.
As parents of two boys under the age of 3, we have lost all ability to control our sleep. Our older son sleeps through the night and has since early on - but he is up at 6 and ready to go. Our infant son has no interest in sleeping through the night and is awake every few hours. Generally his last wake up and bottle request is around 4 am. That gives us enough time to feed him and barely get back to sleep before the older one is up.
We long for the days of being tired. We are simply exhausted and numb to what has become groundhog's day 7 days per week. There is no such thing as sleeping in or lazy Sunday. Exhaustion is the new normal. Being tired is so far in the rearview that it is a distant memory, albeit a fond one. As happy as we are with our boys, it would be that much more enjoyable if there was a bit of sleep involved.
Our son must have been born with the gene that teaches him how to negotiate. And yes, before you ask - he always wins. Always.
There is no item too small or too big for him. Snack, bedtime, clothes, bath. You name it and somehow some way there always seems to be some sort of negotiation to get him to do what we want. We hear a lot of "one more minute" or "one more please." (Yes, our son has manors - that is actually one place where we are non-negotiable and he has excelled). It is not every waking minute of every single day, but it sure feels that way. The majority of the time it is because he wants to play longer or do something with mommy and daddy. He does not want to feel like he is missing the action.
There are certain places that we will not budge and the negotiations quickly breakdown into discord. But we are prepared for these moments and have a very good idea of what issues will trigger them. A simple distraction like pointing to a new toy or suggesting a new activity and all is right in the world.
I never thought that I would negotiate more with my 2.5 year old than I would in my professional life. And to be honest, he is far better at it than many colleagues that I come across. Then again, he is just beginning to understand the concept of consequences so he still does not realize there are any. So he can negotiate with reckless abandon and believes he has nothing to lose.
He has many years to hone his technique which can only make him more dangerous. I am both proud and scared at the same time.