I've just spent the best part of an hour trying to coax my almost three-year-old into taking a nap. That's 60 minutes of mind-bending stress and misery all over a snooze which might – if I'm lucky – last 45 minutes. Madness.
I know it's not yet midday but I'm going to confess to having wondered if a small G&T would be overly indulgent once she finally dropped off. (Don't worry, I settled for a cuppa and a chocolate digestive instead.)
But man, it's hard going when your toddler drops their daytime nap, isn't it?!
I read a story, I sang Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star ad nauseum for what felt like hours, I begged, I pleaded, I stroked her hair, I tried being stern. I even issued threats and then, e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y, I rocked her to sleep in my arms just like I used to when she was a tiny baby and then she finally collapsed, worn out from defiant crying and general stubbornness.
Then the even harder work began. I made stealth manoeuvres whilst trying to wriggle free from her tiny toddler-sized bed without her noticing me leaving. (And oh how I wished I'd kept up with squats at the gym.) I successfully avoided the creaky floorboard. (And yes, I high-fived my reflection in her bedroom mirror after pulling that off.) I ducked down out of her line of sight so she wouldn't scream blue murder if her eyes shot open and she twigged I was making my exit. I held my breath incase that woke her. I winced (silently of course) when my son chose that very moment to start reloading a noisy Nerf gun right outside her bedroom door. And then I collapsed in a heap on the hallway floor, triumphant in battle but utterly spent.
All that, and chances are she'll be wide awake again by the time I've finished writing this.
Thanks to the fact that she has two elder brothers, I remember this whole dropping-the-daytime-nap stage of toddlerhood well. I don't remember how I survived it, mind.
I can only only hope that once she starts going to nursery in the mornings she might be so exhausted by lunch time that she'll stop fighting the afternoon nap. Because I know she still NEEDS one. Yes, she can technically get through the day without a daytime sleep and yes, that days where she doesn't take a nap make for remarkably easy (and early) bedtimes. But oh, the misery that seems to descend on her midway through the afternoon after a few nap-free days.
I've been frantically googling for tips for surviving the stage of toddlerhood when your previously happy napper starts going all nap-resistant, and here's about the sum of the advice I can find
1. Nap-resistant criers might actually be overtired, not ready to give up napping altogether. It's a vicious circle, this one but in my case I'm sure the past few days of no naps are in part what made it harder for her to fall asleep today yet it was obvious - from the meltdown she had over being denied a snack bar in front of the TV - that she NEEDED to take a nap.
2. Consider changing your nap venue if your toddler suddenly starts resisting nap time. So instead of heading for the bedroom once nap time rolls around, try cuddling up together on the sofa or even making a snoozy den. I'm not even going to attempt this one cos I reckon once my daughter clocks that she's wearing down my resolve around anything to do with nap time she will all but sink me.
3. Ride out the storm as best you can, quit trying to understand it, and drink more gin.
But we'd love to hear your tips and tricks for surviving this stage of toddlerhood. What's your advice for anyone worn out by a daily battle over nap time? Leave us a comment below or join the conversation over on our Facebook page.
TOPICS: Parenting Tips