TGIF? Not for me.

January 29, 2010

I don’t know why, but I am just lacking patience today big time. Seems like all my Fridays are like this. Whereas most people enjoy Fridays, I do not especially, because by the end of the week, I am running on empty and the weekend is spent trying to tank up for the week ahead.

People tell me.. “Enjoy it while you can, because he won’t be little forever”. I get it, I really do. And I DO enjoy him. I love my son with all of my being. I devote all of my days (and parts of my nights) to him and his happiness and I truly enjoy most of it.

Toddlers are EXHAUSTING though. They are tenacious and full of energy and my boy seems to never need to nap or rest to recoup that energy. Although, by the end of the day, if he hasn’t taken an hour-long nap (or longer, but who are we kidding here?), he is a BEAR. He is downright awful to be around and super duper cranky. But, try as I might, he is not a child to be scheduled, so I have learned to watch signals. Yawning? Rubbing eyes? Whining more often than usual? Time for a nap. So, I attempt to get him down for a nap.

I do the whole naptime ritual at least twice a day. I read at least two books, usually more. He gets two homeopathic Hyland’s Teething Tablets and we “brush” our teeth. The music and white noise are carefully selected and then I lay down next to him on a mattress in his room. Usually, if the nap is going to stick, he falls asleep within 10 minutes and I transfer him to his crib and cover him up with blankets. If not, it’s very obvious and we go about our day.

On most days, one of naps does stick, but I am lucky if it lasts more than 30 minutes. That’s his average. Sometimes, the planets align and he takes an hour and a half nap, but that’s maybe once a week. Maybe. If I’m lucky.

I have no idea what I’m doing wrong. He has ample time to run around and play, both inside and outside (though lately it’s been dreadful weather, so the last few days we’ve skipped outdoor time). We get out of the house usually at least once a day to run errands, and he has a very large playroom inside where nothing is “off limits”. I am a stay-at-home-mom and have nothing else to do other than to take care of him and the house. I did sign him up at a local “The Little Gym” for a once a week class in the mornings. He loved the trial class. I am hoping that it will let him release some of that energy he has.

The two things that really bother me about his lack of naps is, first, that sleep is SO important for children his age (he is 15 months old), so I feel incredibly guilty and worried that he isn’t getting enough daytime sleep, and, second, that I resent the lack of time for me to recharge during the day.

So, what is the deal with my little guy not napping?

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Making Peace with Naptime — Binary Blonde
February 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa January 29, 2010 at 7:17 pm

I can empathize! Sleep is SO important for them and US!!! My 15 month old went through this until a few months ago. She took two 30 minute naps, and it wasn’t long enough for either of us! I always nursed her to sleep or rocked her. What changed was that I decided she needed to self soothe rather than rely on me to fall asleep. After bath, books, and nursing, we started just putting her in her crib and saying goodnight. We also did this for naps (no bath of course). She never really cried, just sometimes whimpered a little, so it made it a lot easier to do. Not sure if I could have taken all out crying! She would play with her monkey blanket and pacifiers until she fell asleep. Within a couple days, she would fall asleep for bedtime within a few minutes, and naps within 10-15 minutes. Naps were soon 1.5 hrs each!

Although my daughter is still usually taking two naps, most babies drop to one nap at 12-18 months. Maybe you can try not putting him down for a nap until 1-1:30ish? He may be good and tired at that point, and the nap might be much longer. I know that you don’t want him to be overtired, but it might be worth a shot.
Berkeley Parent’s Network always has interesting forums (although I am nowhere near Berkeley!), and here is a group of posts about toddler naps with some good suggestions. http://parents.berkeley.edu/advice/sleep/toddlernaps.html#0406

Sorry for the long comment- I just empathize, and wanted to let you know what worked for me. I’ve learned that it can all change tomorrow- a bad napper can become good, and a good napper can become bad. Good luck- I can tell that you are a great mom!

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Binary Blonde February 1, 2010 at 12:52 pm

@Melissa – I appreciate your comment!!! I wish my guy could self soothe while getting to sleep. He can self soothe at night and throughout the night, but only if he’s already asleep. If he wakes himself up during the night one of us (usually my husband) gets him back to sleep.

To get TO sleep, if I or my husband leaves him, he screams and cries, intermittent with complaining, whines and whimpers. He does not play for the most part, but will turn on the music soother sometimes. The longest we’ve left him in 45 minutes in that state and by then all of our nerves were frayed and no one was happy. Binary Boy also does not take pacifiers and never has, since birth he would spit them out. And his lovey? My hair. Yup, my hair. So, he cannot even cuddle up with something else for comfort. I am in the process of transitioning to another lovey instead of my hair (a soft, “flat” duck with a fluffy mop of hair). It seems to be going well, so far!

He needs two naps, but only goes down for one, 98% of the time. And that nap, is 50/50 that it will be longer than 30 minutes. It’s hard. I honestly do not know ANYONE else who has the specific issue I have with him. I am seriously considering a sleep specialist, except that he’s a great sleeper at night, usually. It’s only naps. I will check out the group! Thank you again for the compliment and your input! :-D

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Bug February 4, 2010 at 7:04 am

Hey girl, I don’t have any advice due to the whole lack of kids thing…sorry :(

But, you’re doing a great job from what it sounds like! My big question after reading this is: Are you getting any YOU time in that week of yours? It sounds like you’re on call 24/7/365 being the stay@home. See if maybe the hubby can watch the little guy this weekend for a couple hours and go get a massage. It doesn’t have to be a full on spa day or anything but get yourself onto a table for an hour and let someone work out your tension because darlin’ it sounds like you’re really pushing yourself. You need a little mini-break.

Remember the old saying – if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. ;)

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Meredith February 4, 2010 at 8:45 am

BB, I have a one year old and know exactly how you feel – toddlers are a joy and a completely exhausting endeavor at the same time. Our pediatrician told us that, at this age, many toddlers start skipping naps because they just can’t be bothered with sleeping – they’re just too busy exploring!! It’s totally normal that Binary Boy is powering through the sleepiness so that he can keep learning, exploring, and playing. Exhausting for mommy, but normal. Hang in there and don’t forget to take a little time for YOU. Maybe you and a friend can exchange days where you take a “mothers afternoon out”, or perhaps hire a sitter for a couple hours a week to allow you to take a little break… because your son just isn’t going to. :) Have fun!
.-= Meredith’s last blog ..Dear Sheridan, =-.

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Rod February 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I’ve gotta agree with Meredith on this one – he sounds totally normal. My daughter was never a great sleeper and would often refuse to go down for naps, even when she was really tired. It sounds to me like you’re doing all the right stuff routine-wise, so just take the pressure off and go with the flow. Nothing stays the same for too long at this age anyhow, so in a few months this’ll no longer be an issue cos you’ll be dealing with the next one!
.-= Rod’s last blog ..Fisher-Price Kid Tough portable DVD player =-.

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