|A sleeping child is one of the most beautiful sights.|
The day I’ve been waiting for is here. I think. I mean, with toddlers you never really know for sure how long anything is going to last. The only thing that’s for certain is that they will eventually grow up and you will be able to stop changing their diapers for them. ha ha (Totally kidding, Annika is potty trained.)
But for real. Totally out of the blue, Annika started telling me last week that she didn’t want to take a nap. This is the same kid who has never, ever, ever fought napping. She’s given me a hard time at bedtime off and on, but mostly has always been relatively willing to go to bed, as long as I stayed with her.
That last part of the sentence is the really, really important part here. This is the reason why I am happy, nay, EXCITED, THRILLED, REJOICING that she is finally ready to give up her nap.
Up until the age of 2 I couldn’t consistently leave her sleeping for more than 20 to 45 minutes at bedtime. Naps were even worse.
Most moms I know enjoy nap time. They get to have a little break during the day to do some grown up stuff.
Annika slept with my nipple in her mouth for naps solidly until she was a year old. After that I could pop her off, but if I moved my body, she’d wake up and scream.
I read a lot of books during her first year.
See, I didn’t want to sleep during the day. Especially during the months where I had been forced to go to bed with her. for weeks on end, at 8 p.m. and not get up again until 8 a.m. I was even stressed out over getting up to pee in the middle of the night. She’d wake up and stand screaming by the door while I hurriedly finished up.
Not to say that I didn’t sometimes nap. I did. I even went through phases where I napped with her for days on end. But that almost always ended eventually and I’d lie there with book in hand, and eventually, my iPod Touch, which was my Mother’s Day gift from Toyin the first year.
Once she started talking, she even knew that it was a necessary part of bedtime.
“Mama, let me get your ahpod for ya,” she’d squeak as we finished up our nap/bedtime routine.
So, I’ve been pondering no nap for about a week and a half.
Her naps had been getting later and later. Up until a few months ago, if she didn’t nap by 1:30, she was a wreck. She’d meltdown like a motherfucker. One time we had some friends over during the day and by 2:30 or so, the girls still weren’t asleep. I finally managed to persuade Annika into the bedroom.
What happened after that was like a scene out of a sitcom. Annika was screaming for her friend while they sat in the next room wondering if I was beating her (not really). She’d throw herself on the floor, writhing, hissing, and spewing. After a few minutes I’d pop my head out and swear I wasn’t harming her, and that she would be okay in a few minutes, while my new friend and her daughter — the same age as Annika — looked worried.
Even though I was frustrated, and upset for Annika, I couldn’t help but find the humor in the whole thing, imagining how I must look as I popped my head out, looking harried while Annika screamed and grabbed at my legs in the background.
But all of that changed really quickly and strangely. I couldn’t believe it when after several times of napping after 2 or even 2:30, Annika didn’t seem to be affected in the slightest. She even started to look like she was forcing herself to sleep, and then would only sleep for an hour, pop up, and say she was ready to get up.
On Christmas day, we stayed at my parents’ house until after 3 p.m. She was totally fine. In fact, she didn’t want to nap at all. We were planning on going to a movie so I told her she must nap before it. She slept for all of 40 minutes.
So today, I just went for it. I kept her up.
It went great. I was so surprised. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She didn’t melt down. She got aggravated at me a couple of times, but for the most part, was totally fine. Then around 5 p.m. She started telling me that her toys were tired and needed a nap. I knew that it wouldn’t be long.
At 6:30 p.m. I knew it was time for bed when she spit on my pants and laughed. She was asleep by 6:45 p.m. And she’s still sleeping, two and a half hours later.
Wow. I feel such gratitude for The Time of No More Naps.