Thursday, 31 May 2012

Nap Time... Friend or Foe?

Ever since Princess was a tiny, cute, squishy bundle I have tried to implement a routine. Following the advice of Health Visitors and other Mums, the routine would consist of dinner, bath, cuddles, bed. I can tell you right now that this didn't work.

She would never sleep in the day. Even at the age of 6 weeks old she was only having approximately 12 hours sleep a day rather than the 16-18 recommended hours. As you all know, she refused to sleep through the night (up until recently) which made for a very tired Mummy.

Finally, around the age of 10 months, I got her into a sort-of routine. She would wake at 9am (yes I know that is late and many would consider a lie-in, but when you're up 5+ times a night for 20 minutes or more, it doesn't feel that way!) have breakfast, then do whatever I had planned for the day. 1pm came lunch time and then 2pm it was nap time. I'd then wake her at 4pm, we'd play until about 5pm when it was dinner time. After that Ross would come home and spend some time with her and she'd have a bath around 6.30-7pm. Usually she went to bed around 9pm and Ross and I would have the rest of the night to ourselves. It was bliss.

When we moved into Ross's Mums for the month, any chance of routine went out of the window. She would wake later, nap later and go to bed later. Sometimes not even going to bed until 12-1am. Many times I would sit downstairs with her watching the rubbish childrens channels that were still airing. (Honestly Disney Jnr, 12am finish? What were you thinking?) I wasn't too bothered to begin with because I knew that everything had changed for her and been interrupted. We were in a different house, her Grandparents were always around so she'd be constantly excited, she had a travel cot in place of her usual cot and a whole different bedroom. I always assumed that once we moved into the new house that things would get better. I could enforce the same routine and stick to it.

I couldn't have been more wrong. I won't lie, Princess will still have her daytime naps, but if she does, I can wave goodbye to my chilled out evening. I can say goodbye to eating my dinner without chubby fingers poking it. I can say goodbye to browsing the web on the laptop. If Princess has a nap in the daytime, she will. not. sleep.

Maybe I should rephrase that. If she has a nap in the day, then bedtime disappears. Bed time could be whatever time she fancies. Tonight it was 11pm (it's currently 23:23 as I write this) and I should probably be getting to bed myself because somehow, her wake up time has gotten earlier. Instead of the 9-10am I used to get, it's now 7-8am. Yes I know to some this is still quite late (if you're child goes to bed at 6-7pm and doesn't wake up until 6am, then count yourself bloody lucky!) However, despite the earlier wake up call, nap time just keeps getting later and later.
At first I thought that this was a perfect time to drop her naps. She's never been a sleepy baby (clearly) and if she wanted to drop her naps at 19months that's perfectly fine with me. But no. If she doesn't have at least some sort of nap during the day, she turns into the devil incarnate. She gets moody, nasty, clingy, the works. Eventually I give in and I'll plonk her in her chair in front of the TV with a bottle of milk or juice and let good old sleep deprivation take over. Obviously by the time she wakes up I'm already regretting it and picturing myself up at 2am watching some mindless cartoon about a child who can't use a camera.

Sometimes I'm lucky. Sometimes she won't nap during the day and will be in bed by 7-8pm leaving me the rest of the evening. These occurrences are few and far between and I cherish them when they happen. Unfortunately, the earlier she goes to bed, the more wake up calls I have during the night.
If she doesn't nap in the daytime that just means the day time gets much harder. Trying to keep a child awake who quite clearly wants to sleep is a task I wouldn't wish on anybody - fellow parents, you'll know what I'm talking about - and I often wonder whether it's worth it. In my mind I know it is, but I can never bring myself to really follow through with it. She'll always fall to sleep.

But no more! Tomorrow, Princess will not be having a day time nap. Despite falling to sleep at 11pm, she'll no doubt wake me up at 7am. 

(I have to add I decided to stop there and finally go to bed. She did in fact wake me up at 7am! Although we didn't get out of bed until 8.30. Lazy Mummy)

Well today we have Princess's cousin round to play so I'm hoping he'll keep her occupied enough that she'll forget all about her nap. Either that or I'll have two sleeping toddlers and I'll be banging my head against the wall. Although it's actually unfair because Tyler will still go to bed at normal time despite having a nap and Princess won't!

So overall I have decided that nap time is in fact a foe. It is evil. Okay maybe I'm exaggerating, but I need my own chill out time where I can wind down before bed. Watch a film with Ross and just generally relax. So here's to Day One of operation Keep Princess Awake All Day. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

4 comments: said...

Hello, I spotted your blog and more importantly (for me!) your name on a comment you left on the crumby mummy's blog. My toddler daughter is called Misty, the name was top of our list by a mile, but I've never actually met a real life one!!!

Great post btw, napping is a double-edged sword at various points in a baby / toddler's life. Misty is now at the point (2yrs 4mths) of only having a couple of daytime naps per week, because otherwise that bedtime hour creeps later and later and as you say, some mummy-chill-time in the evenings is an essential!

Misty Bird said...

Hiya, thanks so much for the reply. I've never met another Misty in real life either, it's nice to know I'm not the only one with the name. People don't forget it that's for sure (which means you always get into trouble haha!)

Nap times are definitely a tricky one to master. Today has been hell on earth but I'm hoping it will pay off! I am in desperate need of some Non-mummy chill out time at night. I will no doubt be updating the blog with my efforts soon. I'll make sure to pop over to yours! X

Suzanne said...

In my experience, naps start waning around 18 months....even 5 minutes sleep means that the bedtime gets later and later. I have always been an advocate of kids under 5 in bed by they're older, we're back to 10pm - argh! Thanks for linking up Misty :) x

becky said...

Hi Misty,
I hope your operation Keep Princess Awake All Day went well! :) I think that is really good practice. Also I would recommend to go for a walk or something like that right before bedtime. That will burn off a bit of energy. :)