These two little boogers have been challenging the status quo around here.
First, beginning sometime in January or February, Annie began fighting her nap. She gave me trouble about it every day until I finally said, "OK, we'll make it shorter, and when you get up we'll do a craft or something together." For awhile that appeased her, but I noticed she was staying awake in her room more often than not. So I started calling it quiet time and just insisting she stay in there for an hour-and-a-half. I had a hard time believing she was ready to drop that nap when not long ago she was passing out as soon I covered her up. But she kept protesting and protesting until at last, with a sigh, I walked over to where she lurked resentfully in her doorway one afternoon and said, "You really don't want to be here for naps, huh, Annie?" She shook her head no, her eyes becoming hopeful. I said, "Alright, Annie, you can go up to the playroom for naps, but I need you to be quiet, OK?" With a happy smile she whispered, "I'll be as quiet as a church mouse!" And off she went.
I don't like change. It always comes as a shock when my kids want to move on from where they are and where I am comfortable with them being. But once she gave up the nap I realized I should be relieved because not long ago I'd been worried about how she was going to handle full day kindergarten next year. I thought I'd get calls from the teacher that she was falling asleep in the middle of class. Now I know she'll be ready to tackle a whole day of school, even though she is still adjusting to life with no naps (and being a huge grouch by the end of the day and giving me grief). A friend of mine suggested that if she is getting really tired and grumpy in the afternoon, I can tell her she has to go rest in her room for just 10 minutes. She will go willingly as long as she knows she only has to be there for 10 minutes, and if she really needs that nap she'll take it. Excellent idea, and one that I'm sure I will try at some point.
At the same time that she decided to give up naps, she became very bored and restless all afternoon. She kept buzzing around like a mosquito, from the time I got up from my nap to the time I started dinner, wanting to be entertained. She has toys. She has art supplies. She has books. She has the yard when it's not raining or cold, a rare thing of late. And she has that stupid TV upstairs that I keep saying we ought to just get rid of, but we never do. I wouldn't want to try it now that she's just stopped napping and I still need to preserve peace and quiet in this house for a couple hours a day. I do unplug it for awhile from time to time, but I'm sure my kids watch way too much TV. Oh well. Anyway, I wasn't sure what Annie thought she wanted or needed from me, but for help I turned to the library. I checked out my old favorite Little House in the Big Woods the other day, and decided that when I am done with my rest every afternoon I will read it to her until it's time to wait for the bus. I'm sure that it's exactly what her restless little mind needs, and it's cozy quality time together besides. But now we have another issue.
The little man has started climbing out of his crib. Three days ago, I think, was the first time. I had Annie situated upstairs and I was just waking up from my nap when my door opened. I started to say, "Annie, what are you doing here?" She knows not to come in until my door is open. Then I saw that tousled little blond head bouncing above the foot of the bed, and he came up to me with a smile and said, "Hi, Mama." For many months, I have had unbelievable luck that he hasn't tried this long before. His sisters both started climbing out of their cribs when they were probably a year younger than he is.* And I dreaded it both times. I remember how long I held out in switching Annie to a toddler bed because I was pregnant with Timmy and her naps were going so well, and I hated to be making big changes right before a new baby. But she was always a solid gold napper right up until a couple months ago. Delaney on the other hand.. oh boy, those were some crazy times after she stopped sleeping in a crib. It was like unleashing a little beast. Then came Timmy, such a good little napper. Thumb in his mouth, Wuddy in his hand, kisses and hugs, and out like a light. All this time I just took for granted that despite the fact he climbs everything else, he hadn't thought to climb out of his crib. It was as if he were inside a force field. Once he was in he was in, and when he woke up he called for me and waited for me to come get him. But all good things have to come to an end, I guess, and the boy couldn't stay in a crib forever.
Tim will be converting it to a toddler bed when he gets time today. Yesterday I told him, "It's really time. He's got bruises and scratches all over from catapulting himself out." Yesterday's naptime was all kinds of fun. I laid Timmy down with his 15 or so little cars and trucks, covered him up, turned out the light and turned Mr. Clock blue. I instructed him that he wasn't to come out until the clock was yellow. Then I dozed off for maybe a few minutes on my bed. I heard somebody's footsteps and Annie talking. And that was the end of resting for anyone in this house that day. I found Timmy and returned him to his crib and told him he was to stay there until the clock turned yellow. But he got angrier and angrier with every time that I returned him to his crib, and immediately jumped out. If he had just opted to play quietly in his room after jumping out I would have just left him alone. But he wanted the run of the house and that was not happening. I emailed Tim, "Well, after yesterday I knew it was bound to happen, but today Timmy has declared all out war on naptime. He has come out of his room and I have returned him at least 20 times so far. He can be as stubborn as he wants about this, but ain't nobody more stubborn than me when it comes to naps in this house!!"
The two-hour standoff ended around 3 or so when I asked him if his clock was yellow, and he looked and said yes. I said, "OK, naptime is over." I flipped on the light and opened the door. He said, "OK! I'm happy now. I not mad you anymore."
At bedtime he came out twice, but then Tim went in and told him if he stayed in all night until his clock was yellow, he'd be getting a big boy bed. He didn't come out again until around 6:15, and when Tim brought him back to bed he stayed until it turned yellow at 6:45. And then right in the middle of this, we have to set the clocks ahead tonight.. ugh.
I think (hope!) things should go back to normal once he's in the toddler bed because he won't be feeling trapped anymore in a baby crib. Of course it might take some time for the novelty of no longer having to sleep behind bars to wear off, but I'm praying it will only take a couple days. I miss having a break in the middle of the day, and I honestly see it as an essential part of my routine as a stay-at-home mom of little kids. I've seen the wild look in the eyes of moms whose kids never allow them to take any kind of rest, and that will not be me. I also believe kids NEED rest in some way, shape or form, whether they know it or not. Timmy got a whiff of freedom and now he's going to fight for it. He just wants to be done with baby things and with being a baby. He bopped his Wuddy (lovey) in the face when I tried to hand it to him the other day at bedtime. I'm waiting for him to give up diapers too (so jealous of the mamas whose kids go ahead and potty train themselves at age 2!). When I call him "baby boy," he says, "I not baby boy. I Fixer Man. I fix trucks." He puts a plastic firefighter helmet on and calls it his "fixer hat" and it's so darn cute how much he wants to be a man. I can even get him to take a couple bites of an undesirable meat on his plate if I tell him that it will help him grow big and strong like daddy. But nap again he will, make no mistake. He will get it through his stubborn head that big boy bed does not equal optional nap. Quiet time will remain a part of our routine. I refuse to consider the alternative at this point in time.
|Looking dapper in his new clothes|
my cousin's wife commented asking me how old my girls were when they moved out of their cribs. I looked back through my archives, and I see that Delaney was 2 1/2 before we had to switch her, not an entire year younger than Timmy is. Annie had just turned 2 when we switched her, but she had been climbing out for a few weeks prior to that. Neither of them were climbing out of their cribs when they were a whole year younger than Timmy.