How much longer will my kids nap?

No, I suppose I don’t mean time during a nap.  I can always wish that my kids will sleep a few more minutes, to give me peace and quiet for a little bit longer.  Usually, I try to plan things that I can’t normally do while my kids are awake.  Reading, scrapbooking, work stuff I had to bring home because I couldn’t get it done there.  What actually happens?  I end up lying around like a blob, either falling asleep in bed/on the couch/any surface that remotely resembles a place to sleep; or watching some HGTV rerun of a show I’ve seen thousands of times.  Do I regret doing these instead of what I SHOULD be doing?  I used to, but not anymore.  I relish whatever time I have without a munchkin getting in my face or asking for something or screaming at their sibling about a toy.  What I really mean by the napping length is how old will my kids be when they GIVE UP the blessed nap?  And it’s not a blessing for them.  Nope.  It’s a blessing for me and my sanity that threatens to snap at every turn.

When my eldest, E, was between 1 and 2, I remember intermittent times that we struggled to keep the nap going.  I tried everything.  Rubbing of the back, letting them cry it out.  Nothing seemed to work.  But then, just as suddenly as they seemed to be dissipating, they returned with a vengeance, and E napped happily for 1-2 hours, and on a bonus day, for longer.  When #2 came along, they definitely had similar patterns for napping.  M (#2) gave up their morning nap around the same time as E had, but their afternoon naps were phenomenal.  When I was able to get them to sleep at the same time in the afternoons, I wanted to dance around happily and throw a party.  But instead, I passed out on the couch.  The days were numbered, I knew, but the guessing game as when they would actually end gave me more anxiety than I was prepared for.  Most times, I couldn’t nap because I was so hyper-focused on WHEN they’d wake up, that by the time I had completely decompressed and de-anxietized myself, I had only relaxed/napped for a few minutes before the first cries came from one of their closed bedroom doors.  Rats.

Now that E is 4 1/2, I knew my day was coming.  I knew that E would give up their nap.  At school, I often heard, “E didn’t nap today”, delivered with a shrug or a “I’m sorry” and “Godspeed” look, like E would have an attitude and give me trouble at home.  Almost always, E was fine, a little extra whiny, but usually ok.  Nothing abnormal.  I thought I could eke out a few more naps here and there, especially when they were super tired.  Or at school, I could tell the teachers to help me ease E out of naps completely so the transition could be easier for everyone.  This didn’t happen either, because E thought they HAD to nap during “rest time” at school, so the forced feeling of having to actually sleep is difficult to explain to a 4 year-old.

That all came to an abrupt halt yesterday, but not really in a bad way.  E hadn’t slept good the night before, as in up 802838 times for various reasons including: their blankets fell off, can you put them back on? and they had to go potty and they heard a noise and every other excuse they could think of.  I think it had to do with the glorious two hour nap E took the day before, but it was partly my fault.  After E’s usual 45 minutes, which is typically enough to take the edge off without being too much, E came down and sat on the couch with me while I watched a rerun of a show on HGTV.  We both then proceeded to fall asleep for another hour on the couch together.  Whoops.  So the day after the horrible night’s sleep, I decided to keep E up instead of napping.  It would be a practice for a new “quiet time” sort of rest period, while M napped upstairs.  I let E play on their Leap Pad, and I told them I was just going to put my head down for a rest for a few minutes.  An hour (or more, I can’t really be sure because I lost track of time) later, I woke up, and there was E, smiling and waving at me before returning to play on their Leap Pad.  Yikes, how long had I been asleep?  Would E have woken me up if they needed me?  They hadn’t moved from the spot they were in, and I felt a lot better, so were either of us worse for the wear?  Oh well.  Last night, no whining, no obsessions, no real major issues.  And a glorious night of sleep without interruptions.

I don’t think there will be the happy dance or throwing of any parties now that E seems to do completely 100% fine without a nap.  I have lost my true “mommy time” including peace and quiet without any little munchkins in my face.  But honestly, if E stays happy with quiet playing time while the youngest sleeps, maybe I haven’t lost as much as I thought.  (I don’t even WANT to think about what will happen when M gives up their nap!)  And if I am able to eke out a nap here or there, I would be the happiest and sort-of-rested mom around.

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