Being a parent is tiring. I think the tasks of parenting are a lot like having a dam in your living room. The dam has holes in it and you have to stop them up with your fingers. The problem is, there are 11 holes. So you have to keep switching fingers and hope that you stopped the flow long enough that you can stop a different one for awhile without flooding your carpet.
The latest one for us seems to be having the 3-year-old give up naps. When our now 5-year-old stopped napping, it was easy. One day he just didn’t take a nap; now he only sleeps if he is extremely tired or he’s sick. But our daughter wasn’t really ready to give them up. She has had a long loveaffair with naps. Lots of kids resist when you tell them it’s time for sleep; not our girl. She would practically run to the bedroom and leap into bed, pulling her special blanket up to her chin. She would always be out in less than 5 minutes, leaving me to spend some quality time with her brother. Unfortunately, we reached a point where she was not able to get to sleep at night. It would be 9pm and she’d be asking for another movie…or snack…or story…or a trip to the zoo. We realized Something Had to Be Done. That Something was eliminating afternoon naps.
Once she stopped sleeping during the day, our daughter became fairly easy to settle down at night. Unfortunately, this magical fairlyland of Easy Bedtime has its price. Our sweet little girl gets to bed time and she turns into Queen of the Grumps. She is cranky, stubborn, irritable, fussy, and generally unpleasant. Tonight, we had the great War of the Pajamas. Stage 1: Yell a little about how Mom picked the wrong pair. Stage 2: Insist on picking another pair, but refuse to enter the bedroom alone. Stage 3: Take 15 minutes deciding whether to wear trucks, kitties, or rocket ships. Stage 4: Refuse help getting undressed and into pajamas, then cry because it’s too hard. Stage 5: Finally accept help, but complain that the pajamas are too tight, too hot, itchy, or just “don’t feel right.”
In fairness, I should mention that she has some sensory integration issues. So probably her pajamas didn’t feel right. However, the problems are mostly just magnified by her exhaustion. At any rate, we did resolve the problem and she was off to dreamland in just a few minutes.
I’m sure that as she grows, all of this will sort itself out. Inthe meantime, though, I sure could use a nap myself.