For the last few months my 3 year old has been on and off with his afternoon naps. Some days he does, some days he doesn’t…and the days he doesn’t, I want to cry all afternoon.
No, seriously, he goes into his room for a while because, whether he is going to nap or not, he is going to “rest”, you know because mommy needs space. It’s not an option.
I’ve tried everything – pushing back nap time, running him ragged in the morning, darkening his room, etc. He just doesn’t want to nap anymore. It hurts me to even think about it.
I pray every day at 1 o’clock when he “resting” that his little body will just give in. That I will peak my head in to find him fast asleep in his bed. But inevitably, I hear his little voice calling for me, telling me he is done “resting”.
At this point I’m desperate and I usually offer him the iPad, in a final attempt to get just a little more time. I cross my fingers, hand in the iPad and hope that it will be just what he needs to make his eyelids a little heavier.
Even my negotiations haven’t worked lately, though. He wants to be awake… and me? All I want is a little peace and quiet. Some time for me…and it gets shorter and shorter every day. I can insist he “rest” but I mean, I can’t just put the kid in his room for hours on end with the iPad (even though the thought has occurred to me a time or two).
Nope. Just can’t. Want to. But can’t.
So I mourn and I grieve the loss of our beloved nap time.
It doesn’t mean we won’t have quiet time or a little bit of space that we both need, it just means that we don’t have nap time.
And if I am getting real here, the no napping toddler isn’t really a problem at “nap time”. Nope. The problem, the bewitching hour, starts around 5 for us. Right when I start to prepare dinner.
As I am cutting vegetables or cooking up some chicken, I am also playing defense to the toddler sitting on the play room floor with a 10 foot stare in a 5 foot room. I bounce back and forth as I can see his blinks getting heavier, I make loud noises, I hoot, I holler, I run over to tickle. I piss him off..but I keep him awake.
And then he bounces back, just like that. He’s up, he’s moving.
But it’s like he is up and moving inspired only by the devil.
He is enraged, on a war path and God forbid you get in his way. His sister pretty much cowers as he walks towards her because she has no idea what the hell is coming next.
Once we pass through this phase, typically at or during dinner, we get him to calm down…but if you do one thing that is not pleasing to him – the flood gates open, the waterworks start, the tears, the weeps, the sobs, they just come and come. There is no consoling.
So you let it play out. You walk away, you ignore it until he comes back to you.
And he does come back.
He returns to his normal self just in time to get ready and resist the bedtime routine.
As the tears come down his cheeks because “he doesn’t want to go to bed..” his eyes get heavier and I start to plead with God to just make the day end.
And just like that it does. There is silence. There is peace. There is hope, my friends.
Bed time might have come early, which is nice, BUT there is nothing like nap time.
RIP nap time. I will miss you so. If you’re ever in the area and want to stop by, you will ALWAYS be welcome in my home.