Thursday, July 14, 2016

The No Nap Conundrum

We've reached the stage I've been somewhat dreading for three years.  Luke has, mostly, given up naps.  We're at a point where I need his naps more than he does (and not just so I can nap although that does happen occasionally too...not for the ~90 minutes he's down but a 10 minute snooze can be really restorative!).  Trying to figure out a new schedule, with occasional naps, quiet time, sleeping in, earlier bedtimes, well we don't have a good schedule right now (it's 9am as I write this and he's still asleep...and has been for 13 hours.) 

I remember being worried when he was giving up his third nap, and then his second but that turned out to be awesome!  Having a kid who just napped about 1-3 each day was so. much. easier. to schedule around than a kid who napped 10-12 and 2-4.  All of a sudden we had our mornings back and we could schedule play dates without messing up naps (since nobody really wants to schedule a play date from 12-2, you know, lunch and naps for others).  We could run errands in the morning instead of over lunch when I was starving.  Everything was a lot easier with just one nap.  I had to get up earlier to fit in my workout before Luke was awake but that was probably a change that needed to happen anyways and it's been fine.

But now.  No naps.  When talking about this with other moms I almost always get asked "But will he sit in his room and look at books?"  (And I remember asking the same to other moms with kids older than Luke.)  But the short answer? No.  The long answer? He's good at being in his room and taking all the books off the shelves and making a general mess.

We've been struggling with this change in routine for months now, me keep hoping that naps will happen, him doing all he can to resist (he's very good at stalling.  "I need a drink.  I need to go potty." etc.).  The simplest thing to do would be to give up naps completely and then just put him to bed earlier.  My sister has told me how she does that with her son who is close to Luke in age.  If he doesn't nap he goes to bed at about 6pm (but is also up about 6am...something I really don't want).  But simplest doesn't always work and doesn't always work for my sanity.

I've realized I really need/want/appreciate naptime.  The days where he actually sleeps in the afternoon and the house is quiet for a few hours is amazingly restorative to my sanity and mood.  There is a big difference in the days he actually naps and the days where he just plays in his room while I hear it all on the baby monitor (which I am reluctant to turn off for potty training reasons).  And the days where he just stays up and plays or watches tv?  As much as I think I'll be able to get something done while he's still up, never really happens.

Then there is also the summer problem of later bedtimes, messed up schedules, and being more active.  With a few later nights at the lake, followed by a drive-in trip, and then 4th of July fireworks...we had a lovely week following of Luke not falling asleep until 10:30-11pm.  It was not awesome.  We broke his sleep schedule and are now trying to piece it back together, starting with holding his nap yesterday and putting him to bed about 7:30 (and he's still asleep 13 hours later...kid was missing some sleep).

Long post short, we have a lot of sleep issues at our house right now.  We still are trying the nap most days and he does take one 2-3 times a week, not including in the car when he skips them and is overly tired.  We are still trying for bedtime at 8 each night, or least when we are home.  We are still letting him sleep as late as he can most days (the 9:30am wake-ups on the weekends have been great for us!).   But something needs to change to make this more consistent with his sleep.

I might be the biggest fan of routine in our house and I like sticking to the same one.  So maybe that means only trying naps a few days a week (usually Mondays and Fridays are when naps happen, recovering from and preparing for the weekend) and getting a better routine for quiet time the other days.  But then how do we structure that quiet time?  We try to avoid parking him in front of the tv, as much as he loves his "DT" (Daniel Tiger) and George (as in, Curious) and I really hate doing that just so I can read or work on the blog.  Some days he will play nicely in his room but I also feel like a horrible mother for locking him up there! (Leaving his door open just doesn't work...we've been through that many many times.)  Maybe I just need to suck it up and figure out how to save my mood/sanity without some quiet time during the day?  I don't know!  That's why this has been such a struggle around here for the last ~3 months!

I'm open to any advice/tips/sanity savers!  And if you have a kid who still naps, appreciate the heck out of it!

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