One of the kindest things you can do for the parents of a two-year old is...

When you talk with new parents, they always talk about how exhausting the first few months of their child's life was, and reverently talk about the first night their child slept through the night. We never experienced that, because The Kid was already eight-months old and sleeping through the night when we first met her.

What we are experiencing now are the sleepless nights no one warns you about, those that happen when your two-year old discovers they can get out of bed whenever they want to and wander over to your bedroom.

A few days after my mom was watching The Kid for us on date night, and our daughter demonstrated to Grandma that she knew exactly how to get out of the crib, we decided it was time to change her crib to a grown-up-girl bed. We didn't want her to get hurt by tossing herself over the side of the crib, so off came the side of the crib and up went the bed rail.

Sleep and I are not always on good terms anyway, but The Kid's new-found freedom has complicated that relationship. Most nights, I hear her sobbing in bed or worse, I hear her little hands turning the doorknob and the patter of little feet racing to our room. If I'm lucky, I catch her before she wakes Mommy up, so at least one of us gets a decent night's sleep. On the nights I'm to exhausted to cope, I know Mommy does the same for me.

Sometimes The Kid is pretty cute in the middle of the night, like the night she broke away from me and ran to Mommy's side of the bed yelling, "Wakey Wake, Mommy! Wakey Wake!"

But mostly, it's exhausting. No one warns you about this side of a two-year old finding their freedom. I can only hope she grows out of it soon, with the right encouragement.

In the meantime, one of the kindest things anyone can do for the parents of a two-year old is buy them a cup of coffee. Trust me, they need the help!

Photo credit: jamesjoel   

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