The Sleep Struggle

This time, I am not talking about me.  Or my kids.  It’s about my kid’s teacher.  For the past few months, my four year old has been waking up multiple times a night.  Mostly crying, other times terrified of something that they can’t explain, and other times, just to ask to get their covers placed back over them.  For a little while, especially at younger ages, my husband and I would concede.  The blankets were heavy, and yes, it can be scary in a new home.  But then, we realized it was becoming a pattern.  And on top of it, they would still get up early regardless of how much they slept, and then be groggy and whiny the next day.  I couldn’t figure it out.  Finally, I asked their teacher at school if they were napping.  Yep, upwards of two hours.  “They are just SO tired!”  What?!?!  My four year old is NAPPING for almost TWO hours?!?!  Are you fucking kidding me?

I know that when they are younger, we dream that they will nap forever.  My sister’s kids both napped until they were almost 6 and 5, and she was so happy.  It wasn’t like her boys were not sleeping at night, either.  She’d let them rest, and especially if they were whiny and crying during the day, or not making it to bedtime without struggling.  As soon as the nap, however short, prevented them from getting a good night’s sleep (and by them, I mean the entire family), she stopped cold turkey.  I was panicky that my two would give up naps too early, and leave me with whiny kids who were actually really tired but would refuse to nap and give mommy a break.  I didn’t care if they didn’t nap at school or daycare, but honestly, I didn’t like dealing with them when I came to pick them up then either; it wasn’t a happy time from 4 o’clock until 7 pm when I could put them to bed.  But neither one really gave up naps.  My 2 year old loves their crib, and my four year old will nap if I request them to.  However, now that it’s a problem, I am in the midst of a struggle with their teacher.

I still send them with their nap stuff, but I also sent them with puzzles and a few coloring books to entertain them during “rest” time for the other kids.  I started packing healthy snacks, less grains and carbs so they wouldn’t crash by the time it was lunch.  We stopped getting up in the night with them to put their covers on, and sent them to bed (sobbing even) because we thought if we did that, it would help.  But somehow, naps are creeping in at school.  The dreaded whiteboard that is posted on their door to let parents know what is happening that day will announce the nappers for when parents come for pickup.  I hate that board, especially when I see my kid’s name there.

I am not giving up yet.  I know that my 4 year old doesn’t need naps.  I know they sleep 100% better (and so does the whole family) at night when they are nap-free, and they aren’t whiny during the day.  I remind their teacher at drop off that they do NOT need a nap, and that I only packed their nap stuff so my kid didn’t feel left out.  I talk about it with their babysitters, because they are the teachers at the school and I hope that word will get around that my kid does NOT need a nap.  (One of the teachers who is my age and babysat them one night had a “talk” about how my 4 year old does not need a nap and to not let them nap.  Although this teacher can be blunt and abrupt and a bit aggressive at times, it didn’t work.  I appreciated the effort though.)  I will still struggle with it.  Come hell or high water, I will break my 4 year old of this sucky cycle and hopefully, but some act of God, we will all sleep better at night.  I will hold out hope for that day, even if it is 14 years from now.

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