The Napping Wars: Update

April 21, 2008

To recap- the Napping Wars began a week and a half ago. We wanted Lily to nap regularly at about 1 or 2pm everyday, and she would not have it. Apparently if you condition your kids to go down at the same time everyday from a younger age, they will just do it. Lily used to nap a bunch so I did not see a need to regulate them. But as they started to dwindle, I didn’t do anything to re-regulate them. And boy have I been paying for it!

As I mentioned before, my girlfriend Mary Beth, aka The Mother of All Mothers, encouraged me to put Lily down at about the same time every day for a week, and Lily would eventually fall asleep on her own. The first day she cried for about an hour. Maybe more. I popped my head in to tell her that I loved her about every 20 minutes, but that really seemed to vex her more than comfort her. The next day was a bit better, I think she cried for about 50 minutes. She went out with her Grandpa and Aunt Bre to Uncle Josh’s soccer game a few days after we started the Napping Wars, and being out in the sun, as well as being very stimulated- though not overly stimulated (there’s a FINE line here people), she went down for a nap pretty easily.

Somewhere in the midst of the war, I made the mistake of trying to force her to nap twice in the same day. She looked tired in the morning- rubbing her eyes and yawning, so I put her in her crib, much to her chagrin. She cried for about forty minutes. But she did fall asleep eventually. And then I put her down for a nap again a few hours later- and same thing, lots of crying, but also some napping. I read articles on the internet, I even bought a book- “The Happiest Toddler on the Block”. They talked about toddlers who wouldn’t sleep through the night, which has not been our problem for a long time (thank the good Lord for that!), but they said nothing about getting your child to nap. I really needed help. But all kids are so different! I didn’t think there was any help to be found. So we just kept on. Consistency was the key they all said.

Lily started only crying for twenty minutes, which was a GREAT improvement. Then one day it was only ten. Ten! So amazing. Then we went back up to twenty. And now she was crying for twenty, then sleeping for forty, and up and crying again. And in that very short window of time that she was down, I would have to feed Topher, and change his diaper, and as soon as he was all set to go- Lily would be up and at ’em again. No time for myself, or the laundry, or anything really. Things were looking pretty dire.

And then miracle of miracles- she cried angrily for ten minutes two days ago, then cried sadly for another ten- and then she was out. For two hours! And this did not negatively affect her night time sleeping in the least. In fact, she seemed to be sleeping for longer! Then yesterday she was with her Aunt Bre again, and she did the 10 minutes of temper tantrum crying, then 10 minutes of sad crying, and then she was out- for 3 hours! And wouldn’t you know it- she still went to sleep at 8 pm! She woke up at 6am, which terrified Chris and I this morning, but we could hear her playing happily in the monitor, so we just let her play, and play and play… It was 7:30 and she fell asleep again! Till about 8:15 when we went into her room to make sure she hadn’t died or something. She is SO GREAT! God is really really Great. What a blessing.

And just now, we were hanging out in the living room, and she started rubbing her eyes. So I got her ready for her nap. They say to have a routine, but not to have the same routine that you have for night time sleeping. Makes sense. When we started the Napping Wars, I tried some really stupid routines that made Lily pretty angry. I made sure we weren’t watching tv cause I didn’t want her to be overly stimulated. So I would grab a book, and a stuffed animal, and we would read for a bit, and then I would sing about ants going marching down one by one, and then I would put her down, and literally run out of her room. Not too effective. I was telling Chris that I wished she was a bit more materialistic in that I wished she had a favorite stuffed animal or blanky that would sooth her. And Chris then informed me that when he puts her down at night, he lays her in her crib, stroke her face, and puts her white blanket up to her face, and she holds it there. So she does have a favorite blankie! And I had no idea! So now I make sure she has that with her when she naps. She had it the day she slept for two hours, and yesterday when she was with her Aunt Bre, and she has it now. And she’s been asleep for over an hour- after crying for three minutes. THREE MINUTES! That’s it!

So if there is anyone out there going through the Napping Wars- good luck. There is hope. As long as your will is stronger than your child’s. And you are consistent. And patient. Very, very, very patient.

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