The return of the nap

When Z's nap disappeared last summer, it was a bad, bad time. "Disappeared" is the wrong word, really, because it implies a quick, painless, invisible exit and when she stopped napping it was actually long, drawn-out and wretched.

We wrestled for months with her naps. Some days she would finally succumb to a nap, only to whine about not being tired and having an impossible time getting to sleep at bedtime. Other days she would stall and tantrum and NOT SLEEP her way through nap time only to fall apart during dinner because she was SOOOO TTTIIIIIRRREEEEDDDD.

It didn't help that I was still learning to juggle two kids, was without CG (my partner, my rock, my tag team IT'S YOUR TURN NOW BEFORE I EXPLODE buddy) and in the middle of our cross country move. I would BEG Z to nap and ran her ragged in the morning trying to tire her out, but some days she just couldn't. And I couldn't fathom how I would EVER LIVE without her nap time every day to free me from our constant interaction and my sweaty vigilance. If she isn't actually asleep, I can't use that time to get things done because I need to be close by so that she doesn't wake the baby.

After the move, Z was still struggling with it but by mid-fall we had a no-nap routine and an early bedtime and she has spent the better part of the school year with a daily, scheduled 45 minute-long quiet time. She stays in her room, she plays with her toys WITHOUT ME and when her clock turns green, she may come out. We linked her video time to her quiet time behavior. If she is actually reasonably quiet and stays put in her room, she gets TV time later that day. If she doesn't, she doesn't. This has been amazingly effective, though there are days every couple of months when she tests the boundaries and I think PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME TAKE AWAY YOUR VIDEOS BECAUSE I LOOOOVE THAT TIME AS MUCH AS YOU DO and she still pushes and I have to take them away and then we both cry THE END.

But I've come to LOVE her quiet time, almost as much as her old naptimes. Because I needed to be close by, especially in the beginning there were many times I needed to intervene, I couldn't run around the house doing other things so I decided to make her quiet time coincide with E's second nap and I spent the entirety of it curled up in bed with a book. For 45 minutes every day, I've gotten a true break, a reading respite that I wouldn't have allowed myself if she was actually sleeping and therefore safe for me to tend to the bills/refrigerator/laundry.

Now, of course you've seen this coming with this incredibly long lead-up and the whole "return" in the post title and everything, she's napping again. Every day. For a couple of weeks now.

W. T. F.

It started with her being sick, I think, and after she woke up from a sickly, sweaty nap feeling all better, I told her that she would be able to stay up a little later since she napped. DING DING DING lights went off in her little head. You mean if I nap, I get to stay up LATER??? And so a naptime was reborn.

And it sucks. It's completely messed up our afternoon activities, her bedtime is SUPER late, and, since she's asleep, I no longer feel like I can just sit and read. I should really be getting things done. Right?

Screw it though. Today, what I got done was one chapter from my book and this blog post.

The nap is dead! Long live the nap!


Hillary said...

Oh these kids. They never make it simple for us. But I see nothing wrong in taking a break yourself. What I particularly want to know: Are you reading anything good?

Marie Green said...

Wow, a RETURN of the nap? That is some kind of parental miracle!

And I think you actually should still spend your 45 minutes to 1 hour reading. It's good for you. And we all know that what's good for Mama is good for the family. ;)

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Hillary- I'm currently reading "The Thirteenth Tale" which I'm enjoying, though I wouldn't say "I LOVE IT".

On deck I have Anna Quindlan's "One True Thing" and Anne Lamott's "Imperfect Birds". Can't wait!

Dr. Maureen said...

I've never heard of a nap coming back like that, permanently. Well, "permanently." As opposed to the occasional car-induced naps my kid takes these days.

But what is this clock that turns green at a set time? I MUST HAVE IT. Perhaps it will help us with the 5:30am-breakfast-seeking preschooler.

pywhong said...

I'm totally with you on reading while they sleep! I read somewhere that 6 minutes of reading fiction markedly decreases your stress level. I usually try to get at least 15 mins of reading in. :) P also is 50/50 on naps - but has quiet time every day no matter what. Don't get a chance to read your blog too much these days (started working :( ), but love it when I can read it (note: should be cooking dinner right now).

Michelle said...

I fear the end of our naps. Peanut has on occasion skipped a nap and it scares me. I need quiet time to either read, nap or clean up, usually one of the first two.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Dr. Maureen- We LOVE her clock. It's called the teach me time clock and here's a link http://www.americaninnovative.com/products/teachmetime.php

You can set a 'wake up' time when it will turn green, letting your kid know it's okay to come out of their room. We use it for the mornings and her quiet time. We've become so dependent that we bring it with us when we travel!

KG said...

Urg. That sounds MADDENING. And read, definitely read! Remember, no "shoulding" on yourself!

GratefulTwinMom said...

Love this!!! Keep taking that time to yourself. Teaching your children to play by themselves is paramount to their ability to focus and their independence. Bravo. Love your summer reading list. I've got two books going right now: Honolulu by Alan Brennert and Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. Do you see a theme?

Mashuga Mom said...

Found your blog through another blog and your comments. You are hilarious- love it- love the honesty.

Enjoy that she is napping again- maybe SOME days get stuff done and other days, maybe you can nap for 45 minutes too. Ahh, what's that like?!

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