Long Live The Nap!

123 Comments

three-year-old-nap

Parenting doesn’t come with a manual.

When I’ve tried to describe parenting to people without kids, I often use the example of a scientist. Each kid, at each different stage of their life, is almost like coming up with a hypothesis and trying to either prove or disprove said theory. Everyday you suit up in your lab coat (yoga pants), you have your Bunsen burners (microwave) and your beakers (bottles of formula) and you keep meticulous notes (post-it’s piled on the refrigerator door) as to your findings.

Dropping my three year old’s nap this summer was a bad idea. It was a hypothesis that has been completely disproved by my toddlers personality late in the day. It is entirely my fault and I will take one for the team on this.

He was not ready.

He is not ready.

But the problem with kids, unlike scientific data, is that they are human beings. You can only manipulate kids so far, while scientific findings can be skewed to the left or the right. And this ain’t G.I. Jane. We can’t “un-ring” that bell. I will never be able to get nap time back now that he has seen the no-nap world.

When we started planning for the Summer, we decided to send both of our older kids to the same day camp. The 9-year-old loves this camp and it just seemed like the logical and proximate choice for his little brother as well.

Only problem, camp ends at 3:45, which is 45 minutes after my toddler would usually start his nap.

“No problem”, I said. “He can handle it”, I said.

Silly mommy, naps are for three year olds.

He’s now a month into camp, and although he loves being a big boy and all his new friends, he comes home from his day cranky and exhausted. Trying to get him to lay down and relax at four in the afternoon is pointless and futile. He won’t do it. A couple of times he’s passed out on the ride home, but I can count those instances on one hand. And when he has fallen asleep in the car he has only once stayed asleep when I brought him into the house.

In so many words…I’m fucked.

The afternoon nap was a win/win situation for everyone involved. The toddler got much-needed rest, and woke up ready to wreak havoc on the rest of us with a smile on his face. I had 2 much-needed hours of time without him. I was able to accomplish so much in the afternoon. I will look back on the time of nap as a peaceful time, before I marred the kingdom with my foolish dreams where I wasn’t a captive in my own home from 3 to 5PM.

All I can do now is pass on the wisdom of my idiocy to you. Please, please, please, for the love of all things holy, hear my cry (actually, at this point it’s more of a sob mixed with a wail followed by a gulp of wine).

If you are still blessed enough to have a napping child, hold onto this time with a fierce grip. Heed the words of Jack from the Titanic and “don’t let go”. Screw Frozen, and do not “let it go”. I’m telling you this because I don’t want anyone to go through the evenings of crying and whining and complete exhaustion I’m going through right now. I’m telling you this because no sane person should have to deal with a three year old attached to your leg, crying, “DADDY!!!! DAAAAADDDYYY!! I WANT DAAAAADDDDY!!!” over and over again for 45 minutes as you try to roast a chicken and your husband is running late.

I’m telling you this as a public service. Learn from my mistake: Long live the nap!

Comments

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  1. 5

    says

    Amen! Everyone tries to push you to drop a nap and the reality is that kids will do it when they’re ready and your life will be so much better for it. My 2 year old has always been an early riser (hears his daddy) so he was doing an early morning and afternoon nap until 22 months and only fully transitioned to 1 afternoon nap at the age of 2. Was it inconvenient at times? Yes, but I had a baby girl in December and nap times are the only things that keep me sane so screw everyone else!!

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  2. 9

    says

    I’m pretty sure that most parents know this instinctively. I, for one, tried to draw out the blessed nap for as long as possible. Who would willingly encourage their three year old to give up their nap time???? When it’s gone, it’s gone. At least until they’re teenagers!!

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  3. 17

    says

    i stopped my lo naps at 2yrs, why because despite getting up at 7am having even 30 min nap in thhe afternoon meant he would not go to bed tiil 10pm. No naps means i get him to bed at 8pm. he just doesnt need it. I would love it if he did.

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    • 18

      Jo says

      Oh I hear you. We went from an 18 month old cranking 3 hour naps to a 2 year old that would have a 1 hour one and either by up at 5am or having a screaming fight to sleep at 9pm. Mum and Dad time won in the end but I tell you what those first months tired us out more than her!

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  4. 19

    Christina says

    My daughter decided shortly before her second birthday that she was done with naps. And oh, how I miss the little break I used to get. She’s 2.5 now and generally as long as I keep her belly full and entertained one way or another we get through the day with no problems. Occasionally she’ll pass out in the car or just be particularly exhausted from waking up extra early and while it seems like a welcome relief in the moment, she’s a TERROR when she wakes up, and then will proceed to not go to sleep that night until 10pm or later. So while I do miss the nap sometimes, at this point I say good riddance!

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  5. 20

    Leah says

    My two older ones dropped naps on their own at about 2 1/2 (they’re now 5 and 3). I envy people who get naps. Hopefully this baby will nap until she is in preschool!

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  6. 22

    Jennifer says

    We do “quiet time” for my 3yo…generally right after lunch. And on the weekends even my 9yo and 7yo are required. They don’t have to sleep, they can have a book to read in their own beds (or sometimes they take turns reading to the 3yo so she might fall asleep) but it’s just a break that we ALL NEED…mommy included. It works great and sometimes they fall asleep too. (And bonus…when the girls have a friend over, they do quiet time too…even if they don’t at home…I’ve found most of them need it anyway as they aren’t used to the commotion and drama of a houseful of kids ;)

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  7. 24

    Barb says

    My daughter stopped napping on her own about 2 and while she too would doze in the car on occasion, about 20 minutes was more than enough. It took us a while to get smart and adjust her bedtime…to 730! For a little over 2 years she slept from 8 ( actual sleeping time after bedtime routine) to 7 am. What a glorious time! In bed early enough that hubby and I could watch grow up TV at a decent hour and we could spend a couple hours together. She is now staying up till closer to 9 which is a little to close to my bed time, but she is going to be a night owl like her Dad. Just put him to bed earlier. It takes a while but it can be done…

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