You could make the argument that my biggest fear about switching to beds has come true. But, to be completely honest, the writing was on the wall for several weeks prior. I can’t blame the bed.
Daniel is trying to drop his nap.
It’s a highly intentional act, consistent in tone to other behavior/control/defiance issues we’re dealing with. Over the course of the last week, in particular, he has become very conscious of the fact that he can control whether or not he goes to sleep at naptime. For the first time in two and a half years, he is seriously protesting taking a nap. “I’m not tired.” “I don’t need to sleep.” “I don’t want to take a rest.” “I’m all out of energy to sleep.” “My yawn says that it’s time to play outside.”
It’s a nap shitstorm over here. You’ll excuse the profanity, and understand that I’m actually showing a lot of restraint right now. Between the skipped naps, the heat and humidity, and the lack of central air conditioning, the only words I actually want to speak are of the four-letter variety. I’m trying to hold it together in front of the kids, but with only moderate success.
Every day, I wonder how bad it’s going to be. If he outright skips the nap, he can seem somewhat agreeable for a little while. But the truth is that he’s a ragged edge, just waiting to snag on something and completely lose it. That nearly always happens by dinnertime.
If he messes around for an hour and a half (or two hours, OMFG), and then falls asleep, I end up having to wake him around 4:30, just so he’ll have some chance of going back to sleep at bedtime. That is, universally, a nightmare. He’s nothing short of horrid when you wake him up. Hysterical sobbing, can’t listen to anything, pitches a fit about everything. A bad nap is actually worse than no nap at all.
And once in what seems like a blue moon, he goes up there and falls asleep within 30-45 minutes, takes a nice two-hour nap, and is the delightful child that is hiding under the nap-beast I see most days.
When I talk to people about the difficulty we’re having, it’s amazing to me how many people leap to the conclusion that it must be time to give up the nap. To which I would like to say, HELL TO THE MOTHERFUCKING NO. (sorry, couldn’t keep that one in.)
Yes, maybe the nap is in the beginning stages of phasing out. It has to happen sometime. I have had my moments where I wonder if it’s time.
But then I watch the behavior. Only on the days when he has a “normal” nap is he the happy, delightful version of himself for any extended period of time. Yes, that sometimes means he sings for a while at night, but I’ll take it if he’s actually happy and friendly during his waking hours. Sometimes he fools you, holding it together pretty darn well when he skips the nap. But more often than not, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Today, I thought I was a shoo-in. Took them swimming for over an hour, which is usually guaranteed to wear them out. Plus, it’s quite hot, which always makes me more sleepy. Put them down right on time (sometimes nap gets pushed late, and though he falls asleep a little sooner, it’s the messed-up-nap shitstorm as described above). Yeah. Daniel didn’t sleep AT ALL, and Rebecca (who often takes herself up for naptime) only slept an hour. KILL ME.
For those who say he’s just not tired? Guess what he did for the first time in MONTHS when we were coming back from the mall (woo, air conditioning)? Fell asleep in the car. And just for some added fun, peed through his shorts (screw you, potty training).
I’m not sure there’s much of a solution to this one. I can set up rules and boundaries for that time I designate as “naptime,” but I cannot force him to go to sleep. (Apparently using tranquilizers on toddlers is “frowned upon.”) I know that I’m right. I know that, most days, he absolutely does need that nap. But being right isn’t worth much at the moment. It doesn’t get us any closer to a well-rested child. Unfortunately, I think I just have to wait this one out.
In the meantime, I’m not exactly the picture of maternal patience. As all of my mom friends know, the kid not napping is a major source of stress and barrier to getting things accomplished. When he’s up there messing around, I feel like I can’t even go upstairs. Can’t take a shower, can’t mess around on my sewing machine. Can’t even sit downstairs and turn on the TV at an audible volume, because he insists on turning off his white noise machine.
Oof. Can a girl get a frosty beverage over here? Stat?