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.