Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Proof that Naps ARE Necessary

The frantic mad dash that happens around here at nap time is enough to make anyone tired. Except my kiddos. They seem to get hyped and energized by the ordeal and add to the mad brigade as much as they can. At this point, it suddenly dawns on me why naps are so important for kids. Especially my kids.

It usually starts with the baby. I hold his noon feeding off as long as possible so I can put him to sleep after the older kids. I like him to lay down LAST. About the time lunch time is over, he starts fussing for his meal. After a couple squeaks, he's in a full-fledged holler and the whole house takes shape for a catastrophe. Until this point, all was peaceful. But, Alex has officially sounded the alarm that nap time has come.

Then the next step towards total chaos is Janae either insists on going to bed now or else her attitude shows that she actually needs to go to bed five minutes ago. The only problem is that lately, she just starts crying for no reason when we prepare for bed. And she'll keep up the wailing for quite some time. So, now we have the baby squalling and Janae joining in. Who's next?

Well, Landon. Although he's not a crying kid, he does have antics of his own that can be just as debilitating for his character. He's also the first kid I like to lay down because he sleeps the longest. Does he like to lay down first? No. It starts with me telling him to go potty. He insists he just went potty yesterday. I tell him to go and make sure there's no pee left. He reminds me again he got rid of all his pee yesterday. By now, I'm laying down the law and enforcing a trip to the bathroom. He complies, pees like a race horse and then heads outside. I stop him on the thresh hold and tell him to go wash his hands in the bathroom. Thrilled with the chance to play with water, he gladly "washes" his hands.

Meanwhile, The Baby is crying loudly, Janae is crying louder and I'm trying to get both to quiet down. And the bathroom sink is running water. Lots of water.

I get Baby Alex calmed down, send Janae to her room until she stops crying and tell Landon to shut the water off, dry his hands and go to his bed and wait for me. Then, he says he has to go potty. Then he asks for a drink after he gets up from his nap. Then he decides he doesn't want to go to bed and runs through the house wailing at the top of his lungs and landing on the livingroom floor in a tearful heap. Now he's crying. I think his younger siblings are a bad influence on him.

Now all three kids are crying, thanks to nap time. I thought nap time was supposed to be peaceful?

Long story short, Landon gets tucked in bed, Janae gets rational and dries her tears and gets in bed happily (the attitude change is sudden) and I snatch up my sweet little baby and cuddle in my own bed with him. He's squealing with delight and gasping happily in anticipation of getting fed.

The Baby just gets latched on after his heightened expectancy and I hear a door open.

Ugh. No wonder why her attitude change had been sudden: Janae just got the bright idea that's she'd extend the Laying Down For Naps time a little longer and stop with the tears then start later with the Getting Out Of Bed.

So, I get up, ignore the weeping baby and attend to a Janae that decided she would be happy now and not cry. Okay, that's great but you still need a nap, I tell her. She's put back in bed, totally heartbroken that she has to stay there.

Alex who's now dozing gets a good portion of his feeding when I suddenly hear Janae wandering around her room singing, "Trust and Obey." What a fitting song, I muse as I detach myself from The Baby, fully waking him up and attend to Janae's disobedience.

I resume the feeding with the baby and soon hear more sounds coming from Janae. I regrettably leave Alex again go to Janae's room in time to find her streaking around the room naked because she says she peed.

Finally, several trips later, I looked into Janae's room after all was quiet and found her eerily sleeping in her bed with her eyes half open. Obviously, she was so tired she didn't even give herself time to shut her eyes before she went to sleep.

And this ends Day Number 1,976 of nap time at our house. Though the most exhausting part of our day, it definitely is worth it when the house is actually quiet for a good length of time. And stays quiet until Janae gets up. She's always the last one down and the first one up.

How I love naptime! It's my own little oasis in the desert of a long day. It's my own little island in the middle of the ocean of a busy day. Now for a little of my own nap time before little feet plop out of beds and head back out to the great and wonderful sleepless world of wake time!


Pat VE said...

Dear Courtney,
My mom had a technique that she used successfully with me for taking naps. I may have been a little older. I was told I didn't have to sleep, but I must REST for a half hour. She set a timer. When I used this on my kids, I always moved the timer to a distant point in the house--under a pillow if necessary. What I realized after I'd grown up, was that Mom knew that within a half hour I would go to sleep, and of course she wouldn't awaken me. I don't know if it would work with your younger children, but it was one I also used with my kids. Also, when they got to be school age, I made them go to their rooms for an hour after lunch, for some quiet, independent time. That would have been in the summer. They wouldn't necessarily sleep or rest, just be quiet. I can imagine that you covet your nap or quiet time. Hope things are going better for Alex. Pat V.E.

Coeur d'Court said...

That's funny Pat... I use that timer method often with Landon when he won't fall asleep quickly. With Janae, I think it will work better when she's a little older. And I agree: a quiet time is necessary for the children even when they don't sleep. I plan to keep this routine for a long time!
Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, gotta love that naptime! Mine is needing hers at 9 or 10 in the morning these days.Naptime is good because she is in a very clingy stage, so it's kinda hard to get much done when she is awake sometimes. My one sounds easy compared to your 3, but I guess I better take advantage of that while I have it! She will be about Janae's age when I have this next one, and I can imagine her giving me some challenges like that! Hope your baby is having an easier time!