The human body needs sleep. Rest primarily, but sleep aids in the rest better than just being prone and twiddling your thumbs. Sleep refreshes, straightens out the kinks and restores vigor. Or so they say.
Cut to the scene unfolding in my house of late- we have a child who swings between extremes. He will either not sleep (for some reason that he chooses to keep to himself) or will sleep like he's giving Rip Van Winkle a run for his money.
We have a baffled and increasingly irate mother as well, the reasons here are entirely tied up with the main protagonist mentioned above.
I know some kids are big sleepers. Some are able to function relatively well on catnaps or short periods of dozing but for a child to want to stay up because he doesn't want to miss out on things going on around him was a new one even for me.
Barring the 1st day and a half after his birth I found that my child had a thing against sleeping. Which is a pity because I like him most while he's asleep :) but jokes apart, he can push himself to stay awake till the sleepy feeling leaves him entirely. After that sleep only comes due to utter fatigue. It never comes under coercion or bribes. Ever.
Often after Red has put him down for the night and we've heaved silent sighs of immense relief at Operation Beddy bye having gone off without a hitch, we hear a nice, clear, loud voice sound out. He calls out a few times and unless he's absolutely sure about us having conked off, he keeps calling out knowing an irritated father or mother will admonish him leading to communication lines being established again. The most amusing and annoying thing that he says to us at the time however is, "O to shleep (go to sleep)."
On the days when he shares our bed for majority of the nights and is in a rather chatty frame of mind, we get treated to nursery rhymes, endless chants, and our names getting called over and over and over again. This happens on weekends, especially in the mornings when we're having a lie in and he's up& at 'em in toto! He starts to stick fingers up our noses to see if not breathing helps us awaken up faster.
If that doesn't work, he resorts to playing dirty and slobbery kisses land on us. He mimics the tones I use on him to get him up for school. And mimics them very well indeed.
I think the reason that kids resist sleep is because either they have a higher threshold for fatigue or because whatever other activity they're into is stimulating them waay too much for the sleep to hit their radars. By the time they do conk off, they conk off good and wake up absolutely refreshed because they'd have slept through and through. The only problem with that scenario is the timing of it all.
A kid who doesn't nap during the day and plays straight through till the evening usually conks off just before dinner time. Any parent who has a sleepy kid will tell you *how* tough it is to get any food into them at that point. Barring a food tube down their gullet, they seldom open their mouths for even an occasional bottle, they are so deep in sleep. Getting some solid food into them is impossible. Waking them up to do the deed is madness and should be avoided unless you are dressed like Robocop and can repel all the offensives that your kid will surely launch on your body for waking them up.
Surprisingly though, despite they'll be zombies that at point, they land their kicks and blows on all the areas designed to bring you down. Hard.
Now, after you have been battered black and blue, the child might just have rolled over to catch up on the rest of the sleep or even worse, might be awake and whining or so sluggish you feel like you'll have to guide their steps all the way. Given the time of day that this happens, it's best to let them sleep it off because an extensively sleepy child gets into more accidents and can cause your BP to zoom up into the stratosphere as well. And within a few seconds. And without trying much.
What is absolutely essential is the parent(s) getting rest when the child is down for the count. It doesn't have to be sleep. But just rest. You never know if your child has completed his or her quota of sleep by 2 in the morning and wants to recite 'Chubby cheeks' at the top of their lungs while lying in their cot or next to you.
That kind of a scene never ends well.
Neither can you throw them out of the window (they have bars. Usually), you've already checked and the mute button was missing in the model they handed you at the hospital, and you're so sleepy that your child usually is able to lead you straight into Mommy mode on auto-pilot and have you croak along with him all while you snooze away.
So, try your best to induce sleep in your child. Encourage them to like it even. If nothing else works then use the Vulcan nerve pinch and look as innocent as possible :)