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The Necessity of Nap Time

Mothers worldwide know the importance of regularly napped children. Those same babies with mostly lovely regular little napping schedules then become tots who begin to doubt your wisdom and their bodies’ need for the nap. And what happens next can be the difference for a family’s well-being and Mommy’s happiness and sanity.

Nap derailments can come when you least expect them. Holiday schedules threaten their inevitability. Sickness can destroy a well-earned nap schedule with one night of fever. And a car induced nap can rob you of a longer better placed nap-time.

Those who don’t think this is a big deal, I now hate and disown you because what we Mom’s end up with is spending the remaining hours of the day in some sick sadistic time warp where hours feel like days. And we are doomed to carry out the rest of our day’s work making the dinner or giving baths to little psychotic people.

Fiona on the Necessity of Napping on Shalavee.com

Sleep deprivation makes me mean. In the same way, that one hour nap is absolute salve to the temperament of the toddler. And when a nap is missed, it makes her mean times a thousand.

Everything is wrong. Invisible items on the floor hurt her sensibilities. Bright lights cause shrieking. You can’t eat that cracker because all the crackers in the world belong to her. A change in the tone of your voice is proof there is no God. There’s something that must be living on her tongue that she points to regularly which has now taken a figurative possession of her vocal chords. Can’t I understand? And because I wont let her assuage her aggravation in front of the TV for another three or four hours, I am dead to her.

Passed out in the high chair on the Necessity of Nap Time on Shalavee.com

I then get the crying sound cannon aimed at me as it follows me around the house blasting me with the highest longest convulsive shrieking. She cries AT me. Even when I’m on the potty. And so I have now decided to put certain rules in place about napping to cover my butt.

  • If there has been no nap whatsoever achieved by 3PM, its car ride around the beltway time. Keep driving. At least you aren’t getting cried at.

  • If the child has fallen asleep in the car, give up that crazy notion that you can get them inside, up the stairs, strip their coat and boots off, and place them in the crib for the rest of the nap. You leave them in the car with the engine running, go pee and grab a book, and wait that nap out. Read above first paragraphs to refresh your memory for the why.

  • Never wake a sleeping baby or toddler. There’s a reason for this long-standing statement. Figure out who’ll sit in the car. Figure out whatever you need to figure out but waking them is not ever an option (well maybe like once but mostly never).

sleeping Fi on the Necessity of Nap Time on Shalavee.com

  • Fight the urge to run into their room when they cry. See if they go back to sleep. Give it just five minutes. Time it. If they don’t go back to sleep, do anything to keep them in their cribs. When their 14 months and little “I can stand up!” Jack-in-the-boxes, lay them down, pin their hips with one hand and pat their butts with the other, and tell them it’s all good and you’re there. Be ready to lay on the crib rail with your head patting and pinning their hip until they fall asleep again. This technique worked with two children.

  • If they’re bigger, say toddler size, and you know they’re tired and then, when you enter the room, they give you that sly “I’ve got you” look, have a seat in the chair in the room, do not make eye contact, calmly tell them to lay down, and them fiddle on your phone until they stop crying and eventually fall asleep. It just worked for me minutes ago and took about 15 minutes. That was a Super Nanny trick I saw a long time ago. (Sadly I discovered upon her waking she had a poop in her diaper but it’s not my fault she can’t talk.)

Eamon and Fiona sleeping in the car on the Necessity of Napping on Shalavee.com

And if all else fails, YES! plug them into the Pooh/Elmo marathon they’ve been harassing you for and then walk away. The mounting anger and frustration at knowing what you’re in for the rest of the day with a non-napped child will not get you what you want. Be ready to get your needs met another way. You do need a break and it is unfair that you just got robbed of your entitled nap time and now move on. Make another plan. And then make a new rule like” don’t try to nap them before 1:30″. Or get them outside to actually run up and down the sidewalk each morning. Or have a friend come over and give you a half hour break. Making a toddler nap action plan tells you that you still have choices and that you are in charge. And feeling overwhelmed isn’t helpful to anyone. Good and bad, Mommies are still the ones making the decisions even when they don’t feel like it.

The Value and Truth About Choices

I got to thinking about our human tendency to not want to be told what to do. Those who trust in their lives and make choices easily were lucky enough to have their caregivers make the right choices for them.So that they were then able to make the right choices for themselves.

The two year-old refuses to do what I ask. She has no self-control and she’s frightened of that. She needs my control, wants me to prove she’s worth it. Even if she doesn’t seem to be scared, she is still a wild beast in need of help taming herself. She needs my commands to be unquestionable. Some are sometimes negotiable but in the end, the adults are always driving. She is always a little better when she comes out of the Thinking Chair.

Fiona's ink on the value and truth about choices on shalavee.com

The ten year-old doesn’t want to eat his breakfast. Or his lunch. Or his dinner. Wants to show he has power over his choices and his body. He pretends he doesn’t hear you. He seems lazy, making bad choices. He still wants/needs me to make it clear that there are no other choices. Because once he just accepts life’s necessities, he can get on to the more important choices he needs to make about his happiness and success and love. He is still hoping he means enough to me for me to reprimand him.

Fiona looking it up on the value and truth about choices on shalavee.com

The teen, the one who doesn’t have a parent in his face continuing to create boundaries for him? He’s now sure he’s not worth it. He makes his contrary choices just to see what authorities will do. To see if they can disprove what he already knows. That he sucks and is still not worth being cared for, taught self-restraint and self-care, being made to believe he matters. He has now become the world’s problem. His dance with questioning authority may eventually be everyone’s problem.

Me and my kids on the vlue and truth about choices on shalavee.com

Now as parents to ourselves, we do have a choice. To take it easy or to go work on it. Refusing to do what we need to do, what we know is right for us, isn’t really a choice though. Our inner child is watching how we treat them. For instance, going to the grocery store lets our inner child know their basic needs are worth caring for.  Ignoring our mental and physical needs to be healthy says we are not worth loving. Sometimes we have to do stuff we don’t like. Like limiting our calorie intake. But we are also smart enough parents to reward ourselves for a job well done. A reward means so much more when it’s earned. We get to choose that too.

Every choice is really easier when we think of a bigger picture of love and care. One that takes care of us, those we love, and then the greater world. When our true choices appear to us, we are happier and clearer people who raise happy clear little people.

Hump Day

A quick check in to say these few things. 

Fiona got the flu. I jinxed myself by saying we’d never had her throw up because she did that all over me and the couch cover this morning. Nurse says this flu bugs going around but it’s the fever that is the hardest to watch. She’s clingy and listless, sleep patterns are all messed up.

 Humpday on Shalavee.com

Good news is that I took advantage of her droopy state yesterday and finally got out my newsletter! Applause please.

If you didn’t get one and would like to in the future, sign up in the box over on the right side of the blog there. It was a nice catch-you-up kinda thing if you don’t check in here on the blog as often as you’d like.

 Humpday on Shalavee.com

School was cancelled today due to icy roads. I found myself biting my lip trying to write and ended up with my brain tied in knots and a baby wanting to be my hat. However, Eamon made chocolate chip cookies from scratch all by himself. I only stood there, asked if he really needed a tablespoon of salt or did it say teaspoon, and helped with a little of the mixing when his arm got tired. But he did the rest. And I so hope that kind of pride leads to other household tasks that benefit my belly in the future.

 Humpday on Shalavee.com

Laundry’s about done, children are making Valentine’s Day cards upstairs and Mark will be home from his appointments soon for burger night. My life is really good and mundane. And I think I like Hump Day kinda unhumpy right like that.

Ps You know don’t you that two hours later I discovered we were completely out of gas for our stove when the burners went dead on the stovetop.. I ended up cooking our burger night burgers on the grill out in the cold. Thankfully our oven is electric so fries were cooked and the stove top stayed clean. Yay. But by 7:30, Fiona had cried at me so much, my post traumatic stress disorder was rising again. The eye twitch is all gone and I do not hope for its return. Laundry still done. No more throwing up and fever seems abated. Wait, is that my stomach feeling upset? Do I feel hot to you?

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