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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bye-Bye Naps. I Already Miss You.

By Jen P, Charlotte Smarty Pants

It's official. My life is O-V-E-R. I, like many parents, was ready for school to start so we could get back into a routine and I could have a little time to myself. That all changed when we got booted out of the carpool I organized last year. That's an entirely different story worthy of its own blog. Anyway, now that I have carpool pick-up everyday, the twins have been forced out of their naps. Additionally, the boys were staying up until ten o'clock at night on the days they napped. So it was time to lose the nap anyway. But it's safe to say we've had a rough re-entry with back-to-school. We're all a mess! I would give anything to have that 2-hour window back.

My first child gave up her nap at age three when her baby sister was one year old. It completely disrupted the daily routine and I was a wreck. Initially, even the simplest of tasks, like taking a shower, were seemingly impossible to complete, but somehow I managed and eventually used this time as special alone time with mommy. That of course meant that mommy got zero alone time, but that's how life rolls when you're the mom. When my 2nd child gave up her nap, I was kind of ready for it. It was a great promotion to do things with just the girls while the twins were napping. But now, my babies have officially given up their nap and I have been in a downward spiral ever since. Entertaining twin 3 1/2-year-old boys from sun up to sun down is proving to be far more difficult than I expected. These crazy boys are constantly trying to one up each other and have endless amounts of energy. Missing that two hours of "free time" has left me feeling frazzled and irritable, borderline intolerant and the boys are feeling the same.

Phase I of our meltdowns always happens in carpool. Our carpool is the type that requires a masters degree to navigate correctly. It also requires the car to be parked, turned off and the children taken out, walked across the parking lot for a 5-minute carpool drill. Phase II of the meltdowns always happens when I need to whip out my Betty Crocker apron and figure out dinner. Phase III happens just before bed when they usually have a surge of energy and proceed to fight going to bed, even though they are dog-tired. After 8 years, I'm a firm believer in sleep beget sleep. So incredibly true.

So back to the naps, or lack thereof. I'm truly sad that we don't have an official nap time anymore. It means that my babies are growing up. I often joke that I just need to fast-forward one year so the twins will be 4. But I kind of wish you could freeze that last 6 months of naps. It is such an innocent state of bliss.

Have you given up your naps? Can you shed some light as to how I'm going to get my shower in again?!


Anonymous said...

My 4 year-old gave up her nap totally about 6 months ago, but started a year ago. Even so, I have never let her skip this crucial rest time (both for her AND me). She has "rest time" while her 2 year old sister naps. She plays by herself for at least an hour, and then she always gets to "wake up" before her sister to do something special with Mommy. I plan to continue this rest time until she goes to kindergarten!

Summer said...

I sympathize completely, because we have four kids as well, although the one year old still naps. Some tips and tricks that have helped my sanity. a) Crock Pot. I have five great crock pot recipes that I can prep the night before, then it only takes 10 minutes to "prep" the rest of dinner and turn on the pot. Plus, I can do it when I am cleaning up from breakfast. 2) In our office we added a kids size table with crayons, markers, and sketchbooks for the kids. This is a great space for them to do independent activities, which also tend to be quiet. It's close enough where I can keep an ear on them, but far enough away that they aren't on top of me!
Also, just for giggles, sometimes when I think about how hard I thought having a new baby was I just laugh and laugh.. why couldn't I find time to shower? They sleep all the time!!

Amber said...

My two are fabulous sleepers, 13 hours at night and 3 hour naps- until my oldest hit 4. Then he gave it up completely and wanted no part of quiet time. He also wants constant stimulation and engagement. We also homeschool, so it's a round the clock affair with us.

The first 8 months were ROUGH, but it was ME that had the most adjusting to do. I just longed for the way it used to be and fought the change. We now do the bulk of school in the afternoon while the 3 yr old sleeps. I let him watch a show at the end and steal a power nap if I need one.

The biggest adjustment for me was not staying up late getting things done because I don't get a break all day, but old habits die hard.

I've also found writing out our meals for the week helps tremendously. There is something about having it already written down that makes it easier. It also helps to have an activity toy box rotation for those frantic hours. Even just rotating something and announcing it's time to play with it- like play doh, geo-trax, musical instruments, 'painting' the house with water, legos, books on tape, etc.- then putting it out of reach again.

I mourn the loss of naps with you :)

Anonymous said...

I have done a couple of things to help get through time without naps. One is that I work from home, so I will set up my kid with his own "work"—scissors and shapes that I draw on newspaper, drawing stuff, a calculator to play with—anything that gives me time to catch up on e-mail or whatever I need to do.

Next, I am all over the TV nap thing. If you let your child watch TV and you want to snuggle with them at the same time, cat naps will happen. I think snuggling still counts.

Last, I had a talk with my son about learning to play by himself. I explained why sometimes it was important to be able to keep himself happy. And it actually worked!

I wish you luck. My older son gave up his nap the SAME DAY I brought the baby home from the hospital. It does get better

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