BUT, don't think it's all sunshine and rainbows in the sleep department in our house. Even my amazing little sleepers still have their moments. And while my heart truly goes out to those mommas constantly living in a state of sleep deprivation, there is something to be said for the type of pain you feel when you are totally used to sleeping through the night and suddenly one or more of your little angels are up crying in the middle of the night for no known reason. What you wind up with the next day is what I will call an "Exhaustion Day". But don't get excited by the fact that this day has a name... you can't call in to your boss with this when your bosses are a toddler and a preschooler. Just like when you're sick, they don't care. And side note on that, why aren't they tired when they're up crying for an hour in the middle of the night?? Why don't they sleep in later? Why? Why?? Why???
So, what can you do on an Exhaustion Day then? First, drink some coffee. Lots of coffee. If you know where to obtain an IV drip of coffee, please share your source with the rest of us. Beyond that, here are some things to keep readily available at all times, so that on those weary days, you can be sure your kids are doing something other than watching TV all day.
1. Playdough. I prefer homemade. I've posted my new favorite recipe before (see here). You can purchase all sorts of playdough tools (rolling pins, shape cutters, etc), but really your own kitchen tools will also work. A simple plastic cup from the cupboard can cut out round shapes, and, if sturdy, be used as a rolling pin.
2. Coloring books, safety scissors, glue sticks, crayons, construction paper. I can just throw a mountain of these items at Miss M and she can randomly create a "craft" of sorts. Bonus would be to spend an evening sometime after they go to bed cutting out some different shapes out of construction paper and setting them aside for an "exhaustion day". Miss M loves to do a craft with a theme. So it could be as simple as "hey, glue all the circles on this page and the triangles on this page" or "glue all the blue shapes on the red paper."
3. Toy doctor kit. This one can be tricky, because they don't always want to be the doctor. But I can usually buy myself 5 minutes or so of laying down to "get my checkup".
4. Legos/Duplos. Let them build to their hearts content. Even while exhausted, you can come up with some ideas for them to build or assist with the building process.
5. Books. You can probably muster up the strength to read a few books. Bonus if you pretty much have them memorized. Then your tired eyes don't even actually have to read.
Not only do I recommend keeping these on hand because they're easy to pull out for the kiddos, but they are also relatively quiet and quick to clean up. These items also are good to keep on hand if you're sick or have a headache as well. Or if you had a little too much fun the night before...
Don't get me wrong, I also turn to the television on an Exhaustion Day. But I have found that if you think that's going to be what gets you through the day, you're going to have major issues. The longer they sit and watch TV, the crankier they will get, which means more yelling, fighting, and whining. No bueno when you already aren't feeling well for whatever reason.
So, take my word for it, you'll be happy if you keep a few simple go-to's on hand and actually remember to turn to them when you need them. I'm sure you already have most of these items in your home, but when you're exhausted, it can be hard to think or to be creative. So we're not, and we suffer with the aforementioned TV to whining scenario. Sometimes the solution to your problems is so simple and right in front of you. You just need to remember they're there!!