Parenting is chock full of its own unique trials and tribulations. During the first year home with a baby, one of the biggest universal hurdles revolves around the seemingly impossible task of getting the child to sleep through the night. Some parents strike it big with newborns who come straight home from the hospital ready to tuck in and sleep 8-hour stretches. These are the parents whom all the other terribly sleep deprived parents, on the verge of delirium, want to punch in the throat. Fortunately, everything chills out if we can keep from throat-punching each other long enough: When they are developmentally ready, most babies get with the sleep program. However, if you’re particularly unlucky (like me; thanks, kid), you’ll have to embark on an epic sleep training journey that doubles as some sort of Darwinian survival of the fittest for parents.
For the lucky few who makes it through sleep training relatively unscathed, you will likely fall victim to the false sense of security that it's all downhill from there. You made it! Your baby sleeps! Time to catch up on some much-needed rest and resume your place as a functioning member of society. Months will pass, perhaps even as much as a year, and your toddler will drop the bomb on you: That adorable schedule and nighttime routine you so painstakingly worked to establish? Well, that just won’t do anymore. At least, not if your toddler and their budding sense of independence and influence have anything to say about it. The harsh reality that you are back to square one of the sleep training saga, but now with a toddler, will hit you like a ton of bricks. Emotional reactions to this devastating news usually follow a pattern and the stages are as follows: