Mom Life and Narcolepsy: Toddlers
Being a mom with toddlers is an adventure. Being a mom with toddlers and narcolepsy is straight up bonkers.
If you have been following along with my Mom Life and Narcolepsy series, you know my story. For those who are new, a quick recap: I had my first 3 kids without a single symptom of narcolepsy. By the time I had my 4th, I had full-blown narcolepsy.
Parents with narcolepsy, unite!
My hope is to offer a perspective and tips that come from experiencing both sides.
Of course, every child and parent is so different. However, as moms with narcolepsy, finding ways to conserve energy, and nap when needed, is a cause that unites us.
Things that helped me with my toddler
The following are some things that helped me through the toddler years:
Practice strewing when you need to entertain kiddo
Ever notice how your kids don’t play with the toys in their room? But if you pull something out and start playing with it, your kid will all of a sudden be interested? Strewing is the act of pulling many things out and placing them around the house for your kiddo to play with. Think of it like this: if a guest comes to your home, they won’t go pick a book off the shelf and flip through it. But if there is a book sitting on the coffee table, they may grab it and flip through it. Strewing is like this. Only you set out many things. I would set up a “station” for drawing, listening to audiobooks, games, and more. This would keep a toddler entertained for at least an hour. You can find lists of strewing options on Pinterest or with a simple Google search. Make sure the ones you choose are safe for your kiddo.
Keep a healthy snack box on hand
In a perfect world, kids eat 3 meals a day, and one or two snacks. This was my life before narcolepsy. My son, who was born after I got narcolepsy, was raised on the snack box. The only reason he is healthy is that I only put healthy options in the snack box.
Cook one meal for everyone
As moms with narcolepsy, making dinner can be very hard. Making 2, downright impossible. I choose to save my energy and make healthy meals that everyone likes.
Check out Imperfect Foods
This is a great way to get healthy fruits and veggies delivered to your house. Shopping from the computer is so much easier than going to the store with toddlers. Imperfect Foods has fresh produce and other items that are, well, imperfect - so they can’t be sold at the store. Imperfect Foods costs less than other services like this, another bonus for me.
Manage screen time
Decide how much screen time you want your kiddo to have, and stick to it. Screens can be a great tool or mom’s worst enemy. Some days they are both. Have a plan for screen time that works for you.
Enjoy your kiddo
Even if it’s sleepy snuggles.
Hire a teenager
Often 12 to 14-year-old girls are very helpful and will work for a reasonable amount. If you need someone during the day, reach out to your local homeschool community. Many homeschool girls have flexible schedules and a desire to pick up some extra work. They often already have worked with toddlers, can prepare basic meals, and are eager to help.
Keep a safe home
Waking up to your toddler on the counter playing with knives would cause anyone to freak out. Kids are different so what's safe for some, may not be safe for others.
Cataplexy and toddlers
If you have cataplexy here are some extra thoughts: if your cataplexy is severe and causing you to collapse in public, teach your toddler to stay with you, with a hand on your arm. Practice at home by creating a game so it’s fun not scary. Teach them that you are OK during these times.
Have you found other tricks that help you navigate toddlers and narcolepsy? Share your story with us in the comments below.
Do you feel that your doctor understands narcolepsy?