Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To Nap Or Not To Nap. That Is the Question.

For Bridgette's 2nd birthday I threw her pacifier away. 

Seriously!  I went to the mall and while she wasn't looking dropped them into a trash can.  No looking back. 

What a HUGE mistake that was.  Why?  Because in retaliation, she stopped napping.  I doubt it was a conscious endeavor on her part.  I can't imagine a 24-month old being that conniving.  But it is exactly what happened.  Without her beloved "Binky", she just wouldn't nap.  I hated that.  I loved the quiet.  The chance to be me for just one hour.  Some might think that sounds selfish, but as a parent (again) I totally get it when my friends mourn naptime.

Now, I've been blessed with Little R.  He never took a pacifier.  He never sucked his thumb.  Other than a worn blanket (which he can and does sleep without occasionally), he has no true vice.  I've also been blessed that at age 4, he still naps.

So enters my dilemma; bedtime.

Little R will take a 1.5 to 2 hour nap.  It's such a wonderful, blissful time.  And seeing as he is full of energy when awake, I thought that it was a big necessity, too.  On those rare occasions when he refused the nap, or the neighbor's barking dog cut the nap short, I had a bear on my hands.  Three hours (from 5pm-8pm) of non-stop grouchy, cranky, growling BEAR.  Obviously, he needs the nap, right?  Maybe not.

I had a fairly observant week over the last 7 days and noticed something in my son's behavior.  When he doesn't nap, he is a menace. I get out my protective headgear and the dog runs and hides.  Bedtime can't come soon enough.

When he does nap, he is pleasant.  He is kind.  He is respectful.  However, when it comes to bedtime, fuggedaboudit.  His 8 o'clock bedtime becomes, 9 o'clock, 10 o'clock, once even 11 o'clock.  Not that he's watching Big Bang Theory or CSI:New York.  Just the opposite.  He's screaming, sneaking out of his room, doing whatever he can to keep me from watching my favorite shows.

Also during this week of observation, I asked my friends about their kids' naps.  Guess, what?  I found a pattern.  One that has been staring me in the face for at least three months (maybe longer, I can be rather dense).  A nap during the day means a later bedtime at night.

In an effort to keep my husband and my "me time" and to watch my shows uninterrupted, I have to eliminate the nap.  *GASP

It's going to be a long road.  It will take some adjusting.  Mostly by me.  But I figure, that I'll just do like Davy Crockett and "grin down that b'ar".  Eventually, he'll leave and I'll have my boy back.  In the meantime, it's only 3 more hours until bedtime.


Oh, and so you don't think I'm the worst parent on the planet, I did do some further research to make sure I wasn't depriving my son of what his body really needs.  Here is a lovely chart provided by BabyCenter.com outlining how much sleep our little boys (and girls) need.

AgeNighttime sleepDaytime sleepAverage total sleep
2 years10 to 12 hours1 to 3 hours (1 nap)13 hours
3 years9 to 12 hours1 to 3 hours (1 nap)12 to 13 hours
4 years9 to 12 hours0 to 2.5 hours (1 or no nap)11 to 12 hours
5 years8 to 11 hours0 to 2.5 hours (1 or no nap)10 to 11 hours
6 years10 to 11 hoursnone10 to 11 hours
7 years10 to 11 hoursnone10 to 11 hours
8 years10 to 11 hoursnone10 to 11 hours
Note: The two sets of numbers don't always add up because children who take longer naps tend to sleep fewer hours at night, and vice versa.

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