Friday, February 11, 2011

The End of Naps

It's coming.

I can feel it in my bones. I can see it slipping out the door - my last bit of sanity. I have been dreading this day for the last couple years and, truthfully, I hoped it would never come. I knew it would though. I was just kidding myself into thinking it wouldn't be here some day. It just happened so fast. But it's finally here. They are coming to an end.


Why is it something as simple as a nap - a small, sleepy respite in the middle of the day - can bring so much joy? Babies and toddlers are instantly revived by one and we spend most of our adult lives trying to find time to fit one in. There is, however, a small time span in our lives when naps are totally ignored and mostly unneeded. From age 3 or 4 to age 12, we suddenly decide we are too cool for naps. Older preschoolers spurn them with disdain and elementary kids laugh at them in defiance. And while this is all fine and dandy for the ones deciding not to nap, there is another, highly affected group that suffers.

ME! (Well, all parents, to avoid sounding so narcissistic).

What am I going to do when my little rowdies completely stop sleeping every afternoon? Although I love spending time with them each day, I use that afternoon nap as a time to unwind and recharge my batteries. As a result, they wake up to a rejuvenated and energy-filled mom to take them through the rest of the afternoon. I'm envisioning becoming a melted pile of run-down muck by the end of each day if I'm not able to take this timeout I have become so accustomed to. But it's coming folks. Oh is it ever coming.

This wek the girls both skipped two naps each. They are actually pretty good about laying in their beds for a while and being quiet. In fact, I usually don't even notice that they are up until they have been in there about an hour. Then I will start to hear little sounds of movement - a laugh, soft singing, or the more obstinate beating of feet on the wall - to alert me that they are actually awake. At this point in time, it's not bad at all. I make them stay in bed a little bit longer to make sure they really won't nap and then I let them get up and play quietly in the playroom (which they actually do very well. I think they like having all the toys to themselves).

But I still cringe when I see the near future of three little 3 year olds who no longer nap and are awake for an uninterrupted twelve hours every day. I keep telling myself to take a deep breath, put my faith in instilling a required "quiet time" once the naps have been kicked to the curb, and just enjoy this next stage of our life. Everyone else with children has survived the nap revolution, so I guess I will as well. But if anyone has any extra cases of Red Bull, please send them my way ASAP.

If I could only turn back time. A year ago they were all still in cribs (way easier, big kid beds are overrated) and still taking three hour afternoon naps. Ahhh ... pure bliss.

Happy Napping!

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