Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nap Hell

Just what everyone wants to read about: naps.

Here is a dark secret our family has had: Seren used pacifiers until age 4! :)

Check it: Newbie parents visit preemie daughter in NICU and boast, "We are not interested in using pacifiers for our daughter. We would really like the staff to not use them."

Fast Forward 16 months: Seren is weaned off the night time use of pacis for fear that she would get used to them or that her teeth would be wonky. No pacis at night. The transition isn't too painful. A week of crying herself to sleep and problem solved. Except for nap. She used them daily every day for nap. And sleeps every day for nap. No skipped naps. (The exception being one week when we bring Wyeth home from the hospital). The child needed 2 solid hours. She slept from 2-4pm every day. We think, "If we give up the paci, we may give up the nap."

Fast forward to April 2010; Seren STILL uses the paci. She starts skipping one nap a week. And we pay for it with an exhausted Seren the day she doesn't nap. She overcompenates the following day by sleeping three hours. Sam and I start talking it up that when she is FOUR there will be no more pacificers. She isn't worried at all. We talk this up for about 6 weeks.

The morning she turned four, at 7:30am she said, "Today I give 'em up!" She gathered each and everyone up and mailed them before we had breakfast. Gone. Done. Yeah! (she hasn't even mentioned them and I can't believe WE held on to them for that long).

But ya know what? We haven't had a consistent nap since.

It is hell. LOL! Since May 4th she takes two naps a week. The first is on Sunday when she just CRASHES after the week. The second nap is at Heathers' house (our friend who watches the kids on Monday afternoon.)

That is it.

She went from 6 or 7 naps a week to 2 and it has been PITA every since. The days she does nap, she doesn't sleep until 9 pm. But most days, she is just EXHAUSTED. And hyper. And moody. And quick to tears. Which makes me exhausted and moody and quick to tears.

We have tried to put her to bed earlier but are having trouble cutting corners to make it happen. Last night she was in her bed by 8 and out by 8:15. Which is better. But she just isn't like herself at all! We have timeouts at dinner, timeouts during bath, yelling, crying...honestly 'home' isn't that fun the last three weeks during the evenings! And it isn't like she is 'sleeping in'! The first week, she did. She would sleep until 7. Now she is back up at 6 or 6:20.

Ideas? How long will this last nap transition will take? We have to get her to bed earlier but it is hard. Maybe more 'standing tubbies' instead of sit down/splash fests.

Good grief. I know it is just a bump in the road and this too will pass but when I work all day, I'd like the nights to be ya know, at least a LITTLE fun. It is like herding grumpy cats through the motions and I'm not a fan.

Thank you for reading. This vent is now complete.


LauraC said...

Welcome to our world times two. The boys NEED to drop their nap but they're at day care where they are conditioned to nap. They are up until AT LEAST 9 PM every night. We put them in their room at 7:30-8 but they are either singing, laughing, dancing or fighting. Some nights I want to scream at them to stop the fighting and be quiet because I have been ON for 15 hours!

I would say to keep it consistent. No naps, and earlier bedtime, and just skip the things you do not need to do. When Jon is gone, I rarely bathe the boys. Maybe it is easier with short hair?

Every time my boys have consolidated or dropped naps, it has been a couple of months of pain.

Whitney said...

I've just read the book Sleepless in America and it is really helpful about how to get them to re-adjust their biological clocks for better sleep. Basically, decisions you make from the time they wake up affect how they will sleep at night. First, I think she is going through the natural transition to dropping the nap, and from what I've read/heard, it will be rough for a month or so, and then will all settle down. Don't blame it on the paci -- she might have done the same thing with it! Second, there are things you can do to make bedtime go more smoothly as you go through the transition. Maybe you can try draping comforters over her windows so that the morning light won't wake her up -- I know you have "black out" curtains, but light definitely gets in. Even the tiniest sliver matters! Noah has the exact same issue, except for the dropping the nap part. We've had great success so far with dimming lights in the evening and getting upstairs 1.5 before target "sleep" time, and then getting out and about with early morning light when it is time to wake up (but keeping it dark until then). Check out the book from your local library!
Good luck!

Beth said...

I wish I had some great advice for you, but I don't. Is she having "quiet time" in lieu of a nap? Maybe she needs still need down time--quiet book reading or TV watching--in the afternoon, and that could help make the evening transition better. Maybe you should ask her how to make things better. Talk about how not napping makes her very grumpy in the evening and ask her if she has any ideas about how to help her be less grumpy. It's worth a shot, right? Anyway, hopefully, it's just a transitional thing, and time will do its work. Good luck!

OWL MOMMA said...

This is such a hard stage! All of mine gave up naps right after 2 (they're freaks, I tell ya... *I* still need a nap). The not napping but not making it through the end of the day thing is hard, but gets better. You might consider letting her go to bed EARLIER and see if that helps (the alternative is sleeping later but that may not work when you've got places to be in the a.m.) See if you can keep the net amount of sleep the same. Without a nap, J would go to sleep at 7. An earlier dinner makes this even more possible. Also, maybe try toying with the timing of her snacks and stuff (and that early dinner)... getting enough protein at the right times might help keep her blood sugar in check and keep her from being moody at the end of the day. Oh, and I'm a huge fan of Quiet Time... but the kids, well, not so much.

Big hugs, momma! It gets better!

PS: as for dark secrets, J had his "bink" til he was over 4, and nursed until 4 and half. K gave up both at 2 and a half. W never took a bink, though I begged him to ;) and is still nursing. We didn't worry much about either need, knowing they'd be able to give it up easily when they were ready.

Julie said...

We went through this when I was pregnant--Lana dropped her nap but kinda still needed one, but if she took one she was up till 10pm. It took a long time to work itself out. Here is what we did that worked well"
1) Earlier bedtime--total sleep matters when she is not getting that nap.
2)No car rides around dinner time. This is still an issue--if we get in the car at 5pm and we are going anywhere more than 15 minutes away--forget it, she will sleep and even if its only 5 minutes, she can't get to sleep at night and then the next day she is overtired. Bill and I curse if we realize she is asleep in the carseat on our way to dinner--we just totally screwed ourselves.
3) Quickie showers with us instead of baths--streamlines the bedtime routine. Sometimes we skip too if its getting too late.
4) Quiet time is hell for us. I tried b/c geez, I need some quiet time!! The problem is that she will play quietly for a little while and then realize she is tired and then I will check on her and she is asleep. Now you may think well, if she is sleeping either in the car or during quiet time she must need that nap. But its part of the transition--with the nap you get too late of a bedtime, without the nap, she is tired. Over time, without the nap, she should sleep more at night in total.

Sorry for the novel. Vent anytime!

Jessica {Team Rasler} said...

So how is it going? Hope that the nap transition is smoothing out already. Gotta be a tough one. I know my mom insisted on afternoon quiet time for a long time after I gave up napping, to which I attribute some of my love of reading! But if she would fall asleep and then not go to bed at night, that wouldn't work, I guess. Blech. Well, hope you guys have moved on to some other fun parenting issue by now... ; )