A nap! A nap! My kingdom for a nap!

12 Jan

From the archives.

I have a dear friend who finds acronyms particularly hilarious, so I’d like to start this post with a giant


We are leaving for Idaho to visit the grandparents tomorrow and have I packed one single item for the trip?  No.  Have I folded clean laundry from several days ago which has accumulated in a gruesome pile at the foot of our bed?  No.

What, pray tell, have you been doing then, Jaime?  That’s an excellent question, beloved reader.  Try this on for size: Seabass has stopped napping.  YEAH.

It all started about three weeks ago with a missed nap here and a missed nap there.  Pretty soon, there were two missed naps right on top of each other, and then three.  And then Seabass’ name changed to Mr. No-Nap-Grumpy-Pants and I had to up my dosage of antidepressants, just to make mental ends meet.

Fellow mothers, I ask you: Is there anything more glorious, more necessary to sustaining sanity, more indulgent, and more downright expected than an afternoon nap from a toddler???  Because the world takes all types of kids, I know that some of you will say your child has never taken naps, or doesn’t need a nap, or whatever.  But for the rest of us – the vast majority of us – getting a nap from our kids feels as good as a deep tissue massage or glass of wine.  My friend Ginger calls it her chance to “smooth out the wrinkles in my mind.”  I have really clung to that description.

Especially, now that the naps are fewer and farther between.  Oh, and that’s not all: the nighttime sleep is a mess too.  One night, in the middle of a screamfest at 3am, Jake rolled over and groaned, “Email the consultant.  I don’t care what it costs.  Just get answers from her.”

I wish I could say that the consultant solved all of Seabass’ sleep problems, that I have had a good night’s rest and a couple hours of smooth-brain-time every day ever since.  But no.  Much as I love Deb the sleep consultant, her advice hasn’t quite panned out.  The fact that child sleep is a cycle in which bad nighttime sleeps infects the daytime sleep and vice-versa has become like a torturous SAT question that has no right answer.  If I put Seabass to bed at 5pm (the earliest recommended time for seriously sleep-deprived kiddos), he wakes up at 5:30am, if not before.  Then he’s exhausted by late morning, but I can’t put him down at 11am because then he’ll wake up at 1:30pm, which means bedtime has to be 5pm again, and then we’re back to square one.  So I do what Deb strongly recommends against, which is I kept Seabass up after a 5:30am wake-up time until noon, at which point he overtired and only slept for an hour and a half, and was back up and at ’em at 1:30pm.  Then I tried to extend his wake time some more to “wear him out” and didn’t put him down until 6:30pm.  Then he overtired again and woke throughout the night before permanently getting up at – what else? – FREAKING 5:30am.

Look.  I know how boring that last paragraph was, ok?  I’m bored just typing it.  But these are the kinds of thoughts I have to think when Seabass isn’t sleeping well because it affects every fiber of my being.  Even if I leave him in his crib and shut the door during supposed “nap time” (i.e. he’s wide awake), even if he’s happy and cooing in there, I can’t relax.  I can’t get work done.  I can’t take the edge off.  You may be thinking, So what if he’s awake?  Just let him be and do your own thing.

That’s good advice, except…if you are thinking that, I know you’re not a mother, because every mother understands that unless their child is asleep and dancing through dreamland, there is no shutting off.  It’s like a curse.

He’s asleep now, which is why there is anything of value to read on this post.

13 Responses to “A nap! A nap! My kingdom for a nap!”

  1. EricE January 12, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    I am feeling exhausted and anxious at the same time just from simply reading your post. Good luck!

  2. Mommy adventures January 12, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    My daughter is 2 and a half. She doesn’t sleep long during the day, but thank goodness (for my sanity’s sake), she will happily play in her room with the door shut for an hour before sleeping. I use that time to do my chores because, as you said, who can relax when they are awake, and then eventually she falls asleep and i can rest. But then my infant wakes up. Damn. Oh yeah, and baby wakes at 5:30 every morning. Not because he’s hungry, no, because apparently 5:30 is an awesome time for pooping. And then he won’t go back to sleep. You’re not alone out there. Not that that’s helpful, but at least it’s good to know.

  3. Hannah January 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    sleep consultant, schmeep consultant. go with your gut- the one thing I have learned in having 3 kids is there is no magical answer from any book, consultant, or other parent that will work for your child. do what works for you…or actually do what you need to so you can survive! gabriel is still napping, thankfully, but was having a harder time at night…well early mornings…we are on the 515 thing too. AND boy oh boy is he a GROUCH by 10!!!!! problem 1- peeing through everything…problem 2- he is starving. so we have added the diaper doublers- (maxipad for babies) and i made a baby protein shake (goats milk formula and frozen berries) for him right before bed…AND we made it til SEVEN!!!! (of course that was this morning…all bets are off for tonight!) good luck!

  4. anna January 12, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    so riley just started doing the same thing and after i about pulled all my hair out I talked to some moms who said that all their kids have gone through “no nap” phases but just keep putting them down every day for a nap and eventually they come around. Could be growth spurts, teething, sick, etc. Miracles do happen – she’s napping right now!!! good luck!!!

  5. Jerry's Wife January 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    My oldest and my friend’s twins both went through phases of up to a week or two where we both thought they were done napping, FOREVER. But then they started napping again and did so past 3 years of age. All I can chalk it up to is a major mental development spurt where they just don’t want to nap for that period of time. Do you notice a significant increase in his verbal skills or independence right now? Him sleeping again is a good sign. Hopefully it passed because I think nap time is downright amazing as well and it is the only reason I am typing this.

  6. Gina January 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    Oh Jaime, I feel your pain. We went through a similar nap struggle about 2 weeks ago and it was torture. I had no time to recharge and she was a mess by 5pm. I literally hit my knees, cried and prayed that it would get better. It’s funny, because at the time I thought about sending you a message asking for the sleep consultants info!

    Hope today’s nap is a sign of good things (read: naps) to come.

  7. Linda Z January 12, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    Oh, Jaime, that is so hard! Naps do save your mental stability. You get a chance to recharge and refresh. He seems awfully young to stop napping. I think at his age my kids had about 1 1/2-2 hour nap in the afternoon, bed at 7pm and up around 6:30 or 7, just to give you a frame of reference. If they got off the routine, we just tried to be really consistent with it for a few days. I don’t even know what to suggest except… have you tried a blackout blind? Maybe he would sleep longer in the morning if it was darker? Just drawing at straws, but you never know what might work? My thoughts and prayers are with you. Love to you.

  8. Aaron January 12, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    Hi! This is Aaron of Atomic Search and I was wondering if you would accept guest posts in your blog? We have clients in different industries and a couple of them are relevant to your site.

    Please contact me if interested at all.

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  9. Judi January 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Thank God you are off to your moms. Hand that kid over and go take a long nap yourself.

  10. Debra January 13, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    You pretty much just described it perfectly! I guess it is nice to know you are not alone. ( although I know that doesn’t help make you feel better) Mia has slept through the night for 4 months and now wants to wake up and scream for hours on end. Yesterday her afternoon nap was a “happy playtime in the crib” What did I do? Stared at the video monitor for the 40 minutes she was in there wishing her to sleep, didn’t get a thing done, and finally went in to get her. The sad thing is that I will never relax about being a nap nazi. Hopefully this season will end soon.

  11. Sam January 14, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    One thing that might work for you is to extend his bedtime to later. This would mean going back to 2 naps until he got used to the new routine – one mid morning and then a catnap around 4/5pm to see him through to bedtime. A later bedtime should be 11-12 hours before you would like him to wake up. I like to get up around 8 or 9 so we have a 8.30pm bedtime.
    Once his body clock gets set to these times one nap around 12pm would be best to see him through the day. Might be worth a try but it would take a few days – a week for it to become the norm. Its hard and I know a lot of parents don’t want to loose their evening time but a later wake up may save your sanity!

  12. Anne Keo of Always Half Full January 17, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Unfortunately that “boring” paragraph is pretty much my mommy brain 24/7 – sleep, poop, food, play dates, schedules, errands, etc.
    Keep trying. You’ll find a rhythm that works. Just don’t give up on the nap! That’s the worst thing to do. Think of it as a phase and keep trying to get back to a nap. Good luck to you!

  13. Christine Raymond February 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    I found your blog because we’re doing CIO the Weissbluth way with our 5 month old. Today was night #3 and it’s been so rough. I can’t think of anything I hate worse than this other than him not sleeping — I really hate that! I totally could have written your “boring” paragraph because all I think about is how much sleep he got, when he’s going back to sleep, etc. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

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