Dropping naps… love it or hate it?
In the last decade, I’ve learned how to sleep in chunks. I think it all started several years ago when I signed up for a job with a 7:30 am start (I know!). To most people, this may not be a big deal. To me it was. (Don’t waste your tears, though, I barely ever made it on time.) Remember, I come from the big, bad world of advertising. There’s very little if anything, that happens before a respectable 9:30 am. Talk 10:30 and you may well have a bit of success. Given that, and the fact that I was one of the ones that managed to be called a latecomer frequently in THAT scenario and you get my drift…
So when I got the 7.30 job, with a half hour commute… you do the math on wake up time! I first decided I’d sleep way early. 9:30 in bed and 10:00 out cold, I said. Yeahhh… that didn’t work out so much! So after many months of various things I tried, I settled on a late afternoon nap to catch me up. An hour-ish saw me through some pretty rough days. So I fully respect ‘the nap’.
A few years later, baby came along. And with her died all notion of long sleeps for me…
In the early days, all SHE did was nap. No day; no night. Then I slowly understood that babies needed a longer night sleep and some naps and that these got fewer as they grew older. Makes sense. I totally got naps, as we established. Gradually, she transitioned from 3 a day to 2 to now 1 that she’s stayed on for a couple of years. One the one hand, the nap dropping is great. Because this is Murphyskid, and getting the darn child to go to sleep is usually hell warmed over. And the fewer number of times we have to do it in the day, the better!
The trouble though is that kids evolve over the years, bloody inconsiderate little things! Just when you finally got them on something of a routine usually. At first, we knew that roughly every 2 hours, she went to sleep. It might take a few minutes to get her there, and sometimes she woke, but essentially it was fairly predictable. Now not so much. You have to catch the perfect window, which is a balance of somewhere around 4+ hours after she woke up, but between 12 and 1; her tummy needs to be full, etc etc etc
My husband is a pretty hands-on dad (which is great, because love her as I do, I can’t see myself doing this without very regular breaks). Unlike many, he actually seems to WANT to come home and hang out with her in the evenings and on the weekends so who am I to interfere ;)? But even with Mr. Great Dad, it’s fun to see the after effects of extended-time-with-child-syndrome. One time I saw him looking particularly frazzled. So I asked, ‘what’s wrong?’. ‘When’s her nap.’ he asked, with a slight tinge of desperation. So I giggled inwardly and said innocently, ‘Not for a couple of hours yet, why?’. Of course, he didn’t answer because he’s a good guy. I then proceeded to make him feel guilty ;)… ‘Why, are you waiting till it’s time for her to sleep?’ And he looked shamefaced. Whaaaaat???? Why not? It’s fun!
But seriously, I know where he’s coming from because I’ve been RIGHT there. Oftentimes you can’t wait till it’s time for them to go to sleep. And then you truly appreciate how fantastic sleepy time can be! Right? Oh come on, you know you’ve been there!
So now as we stand at 3.5 years along this journey, most days Murphyskid still needs a nap to be fit for human consumption in the early evenings. But it’s got to the point where anything over 45 minutes just interferes with her night’s sleep. And the days when we’re out and she misses her nap, she crashes right out. It’s so beautiful, like watching a falling star. While the evening stretches before you with endless possibilities.
We’re tempted… Should we cut it off cold turkey? And face the music on days when the activity isn’t exciting enough to stop the whining? Risk 5 pm naps in the car during daycare pick-ups? Or *shudder* a TTC commute for my husband on the days when I have evening appointments? Or just let what happens happen and suck up the later bedtimes, going in and out of her room because she’s not sleepy?
What did you do?
This is an updated version of a piece first published 3 years ago, when I lived in Dubai, on a blog I wrote previously called Diving in Eyeliner.