naptime

My Kids Dropped Their Nap & I’m a Basket Case

Toddler twins playing together at home.

Though my now 2-year-old twin daughters amazed me back in the day by pretty much never napping before their 1st birthday, once they turned one, something shifted, and magically, they began taking a solid 90-minute nap smack in the middle of the day.

This was something to celebrate for a number of reasons. First, it meant having less cranky kids in the evening, but just as importantly, it gave me a small window of time to do the things I needed to do to function as a human. Not only that, but since I do work part-time, that nap offered a valuable opportunity to do my job during the day, as opposed to having to work the entire night, every night.

Back in March, my daughter A decided she was no longer interested in napping. I worried at first that she’d prevent her sister from doing the same, but most days, A was content hanging out in her crib and babbling during nap time, thus allowing her sister, K, to sleep through it.

So things remained good in my household till just about a month ago, when we switched the girls from cribs to beds…and nap time promptly went to shit.

Of course, switching them to beds wasn’t a matter of choice so much as necessity. After one too many acrobatic episodes and subsequent panic attacks on my part, I decided the time had come to turn the cribs into beds and hope for the best. It seemed like a far better option than risking vaulting-related injuries on a daily basis.

They were ready, but that doesn’t mean we were, by any means. In fact, we didn’t move our son from a crib to a bed until he was a solid year older than the girls, and at that point, he understood the meaning of “stay in your bed.” The girls, not so much. Well, let me clarify. They know what I’m saying. They just choose to ignore it.

So here’s how nap time now goes down in my house: I put the girls in their beds, remind them to stay in said beds, threaten them with a series of consequences if they don’t listen, close the door, wait about five seconds, and watch in horror on the video monitor as they promptly climb out and start running around the room.

At that point, I go back in and scold them. And so they return to their beds for another minute or two before climbing back out, at which point I scold them yet again. I’m usually willing to repeat this process for up to 10 minutes before I give up entirely and let things play out for another 20 minutes or so, during which time the girls have been known to jump on each other, ransack the wipes dispenser, climb on and off the glider, or do just about anything other than sleep.

Sometimes, K will start to drift off, but A will climb into her bed and wake her. Other times, they’ll just both stay up. The end result is the same–I’ve lost my much-needed 90-minute break, and it’s making me utterly crazy. Not only is my work suffering, but my sanity is going down in the process as well.

Look, I love my daughters. Of course I do. But they also happen to be extremely rambunctious little kids. When my son phased out his nap, it was hard losing that unadulterated downtime, but I got some of it back by setting him up with activities to do while I tended to work-related responsibilities, laundry, and the like. But my girls do. not. sit. still. Not for a second. And though they’ve always been mischievous, they’ve taken their antics to a whole new level in recent weeks—which means that if they don’t nap, I can’t get a darn thing done.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I tried setting them up with quiet toys in their room, and giving them books to read in bed so they chill out for a bit while I get a break. None of it works. Inevitably, they’ll start climbing on their dresser or emptying out their drawers, at which point I’ll need to rush in and put a stop to it.

And this is why over the past number of weeks, I’ve gone from being a reasonably well-adjusted adult to an utter basket case.

Of course, things could be worse. Thankfully, the girls are typically so exhausted when bedtime rolls around that they fall asleep fairly quickly and stay that way overnight. (Though I’ve been known to come in and find K on the floor, sometimes under her bed. Apparently, she sometimes prefers to sleep down there—we know she’s not falling because we’ve repeatedly checked the instant replay).

But did I mention that I really, really, really miss that nap time? And that losing it almost overnight is rapidly turning me into a strung-out, frazzled version of my former self?

So if anyone out there has any tips on how to bring back the nap, please fire away. My sanity truly depends on you.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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