If there’s anything close to a sure thing when it comes to having more kids, it’s that you will be forced to reconsider something you knew to be 100% right and true the first time around. Among the things Ellie has caused me to … moderate my views on, the biggest is my entire concept of sleep schedules.
Oh, was I a nut for schedules when my big kids were babies and toddlers. Naptime is naptime, come hell or high water. I would schedule everything around naptime, nothing would be permitted to interfere. I carefully crafted the transition from two naps to one, and hung onto the morning nap for as long as I possibly could. It was literally YEARS before I knowingly and purposefully allowed them to skip the afternoon nap. They would both go to bed for a nap, together, at the same time each and every day.
And, in my defense, it worked for us. My kids did well with the predictability, were well-rested and happy when they got that sleep every day. And frankly, with twins, I think it’s a matter of survival to have that kind of synchronization.
And then came Ellie.
Truth be told, she has nearly always been a very good sleeper. With the exception of the few weeks of to-swaddle-or-not limbo, she has required virtually zero intervention to get to sleep, and slept through the night consistently and of her own volition as soon as we got over the swaddle nonsense at 3.5 months. Yes, I am well aware of how lucky we are.
But she has completely defied my previous notions of what a nap schedule should look like at any age. She really never went through that phase of needing a third nap (big kids took a third catnap with some regularity until 8 months). She always took a late and short morning nap (I had always thought that first nap was relatively early in the morning and quite reliable). At 13-14 months, she pretty abruptly and decisively dropped the morning nap altogether (big kids did it at 17 months with a long and protracted transition). And as if that weren’t enough, she is already at that point where, if her afternoon nap goes longer than 1.5-2 hours, she’ll be awake until nearly 10PM (a trick my big kids didn’t pull until after age 4).
More than anything, I find myself more relaxed and willing to follow her lead than I was with the big kids. Ellie, herself, is much more flexible than they were at this age, whether by temperament or by virtue of being the third kid, I don’t know. But if she seems tired earlier than usual? Sure, put her down early! Too-short nap today? Oh well, we’ll survive. The fact that she already seems like she’ll drop the nap a few YEARS earlier than her brother and sister did? Whatevs.
So, the crazy nap lady is eating some of her own words these days. The way Ellie sleeps is nothing short of shocking to the Me of three years ago. But I guess that’s how it goes. Think you know EVERYTHING about being a parent? Go ahead, have another kid. I dare you.