Wednesday, September 15, 2010

For the LOVE of NAPS


The name of my blog says it all.  I love naptime.  If you are a stay at home mom you know how valuable naptime is.  It is a time to breathe, get something done that is otherwise impossible, rest yourself if you have been up multiple times in the night, make an important phone call, do a mid-day toy pick up, enjoy a hobby, and much more.  But mostly, it is a time to get a break from that little one(s) that can bring so much joy one moment and let's be honest - push us nearly over the edge the next. 

When they eventually wake and call out for you, it is usually too soon, but yet, you bound up the stairs and are greeted by this smiling kicky little baby, or a sitting up snoozy toddler, or a standing up poopy stinkbutt, or a now happy and more rational preschooler. 

One of the biggest struggles as a parent is mastering a sleep routine that is healthy for everyone involved.  Things that us mothers read about, discuss, ponder, lie awake worrying about.......What time are naps, how serious are we about sticking to the nap schedule, 1 or 2 naps, when to drop the morning nap, the routine of actually getting them to bed, where do they sleep (in the crib, bassinet, in your bed, the swing).  The list of things that are involved in getting the healthy amount of sleep is enormous and can cause you to catch your breath as you realize how lucky you are if you have settled into a routine that has lasted more than 2 weeks.

Charley was a great napper.  He napped until he was 4 years old.  We had our struggles.  But he consistently napped for four years of his life.  He also had a normal 7-8pm bedtime and slept until around 7 am.  His nap didn't impact his bedtime.  It was almost text book...probably not at the time...like when I was 8 months pregnant with Henry and lying on Charley's floor reading him Green Eggs and Ham in the most monotoned voice (but heck, whatever worked was worth the two hours of nap).

Henry has been a good napper.  Almost better than Charley.  It always amazed me how he would stomp up those stairs on a mission, read with me, and then curl up and quickly fall asleep.  But his naps soon started to influence his bedtime.  And he started tossing and turning for about as long as his nap was at bedtime.  So if he napped for 2 hours...then his 7 oclock bedtime turned into 9:00.

So we got rid of the nuk and with that it seems like the nap has flown out the window too.  And it has caused me a lot of angst.  I know that people aren't judging me for not having my 2 1/2 year old nap...but because of Charley's sleep routine...it is killing me that Henry is living on about 11-12 hours instead of 14-15 hours.  However, Henry's personality has him persevering through the day without much notice that a nap has not occured.  Bedtime, especially since the nuk is no longer involved, is much smoother and peaceful.  He isn't getting more sleep when he does nap because his bedtime at night is impacted so strongly.  And since Charley is away at Kindergarten all morning, the boys are excited to play in the afternoon.

We have banned cartoons from our morning routine.  So Henry and I have been keeping busy during the mornings and after lunch we have been enjoying some cartoon quiet time.  The boys are then ready to play nicely together.  The 'witching hour'  is and always will be a crazy time.  And I haven't seen too much difference since before the naps.  Charley is SO ready for bed by 7pm.  And it just works to have the boys going to bed at the same time.


I tried again for an hour to get Henry to sleep.  I read, sang, left the room and let him cry, I put on a cd of music and some stories on CD...all things that work at bedtime or have worked during naptime prior to the elimination of the nuk.  And this week I have gotten no naps yet.

So as of today I am going to confidently say that the nap is not going to be a daily expectation in our house.  As a mom I am going to use my instincts or 'Mom Sense' (like my friend Heather says) to judge the days when a nap is needed.  And I am going to relax in the afternoon and enjoy the brother time, mama son time, and realize that child number two has a different personality, need for sleep, life experience than the first.  And it doesn't mean I am a bad mom or that I am doing something wrong.  It just means that his normal and needs are different than Charleys.  And I think that letting the nap expectation go will make me a little less tense and crabby in the afternoons.  And a less tense and crabby mama is always a good thing.

 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

you are RIGHT! you're #2 is different and you have to do what is best for him. I agree-if his nap is causing him to stay up too late-then maybe not a daily thing. Eli sleeps about 11-12 hours at night and takes anywhere from 45-1.5 hour nap twice daily. but his 11-12 hours at night is shortening and I'm worried about that. He NEVER sleeps until 7 and that is a blessing you are SO lucky. i know you've had your share of early mornings and technically-we need eli up to get to daycare but still... a 7:00 saturday/sunday am would be SPECIAL. hahaha. i agree-nap time is GOLD!!! you gotta have it. for a sane mom, you need a napper! RR

Anonymous said...

You're right, they all have their own internal clock and one may need more or less sleep than the other.
David also stopped officially napping at 2 1/2, but he went to bed so much easier when he did not nap and stayed asleep all night long. He would catch a small cat nap in the car, and occassionally still does. That short time was enough to reset him for the rest of the day. We have to drive more distance here than we did in MN, so he got about 30 minutes in the car. (something I miss about living in MN is a Target in walking distance)
Henry may choose to nap when he needs it and those are the times when you will sit down with a Diet Coke and enjoy the silence, for just a little while. :)
Kristin

One Take On Life - Heather said...

All kids are different, mine are worlds apart on naps. Maddy still naps, but I know there will come a day that she won't.
I used to get frustrated when Hayden wouldn't nap at 3.5 years old somedays, this time I vow to go with the flow.
In my house, even if you don't have naptime you still have rest time, in your room, looking at books. It is good for them to have that "quiet time" and good for me too:)
Thanks for the link:)

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