Ahhh, naps. Seriously, I sometimes resent the fact that my kids all hate naps. I tell them that one day, they will be my age, and they will wish they had napped when they had the chance (and then I roll my eyes at myself, which Kullervo says makes the whole world shake). To Oliver and Hazel’s credit, they don’t mind if I take a nap after a hard night; they are happy to play together or watch a TV show so I can. In fact, can I just take a minute to say that although I’m crabby and mean all the time, my kids love me anyway, and when I apologize, they just forgive me. And I never feel like I deserve it, and because I don’t sleep it makes me cry. But I feel so grateful to have such sweet kids who are willing to be so patient with me and with Hank.
So, at Hank’s age, he should be taking two naps, which should add up to a total of two and a half to four hours of daytime sleep. When I started this whole maybe-my-kid-should-sleep-every-now-and-then thing, he would catnap when we were out and about, while I was driving the kids to camp, etc., and not get a good solid nap. When camp ended, I put him down for regular naps and he just wouldn’t sleep. He has gone a couple of days where he napped for a grand total of 30 minutes all day.
Sometimes I can lie down with him, hold him tightly, and he will fall asleep. Sometimes that just means he’s screaming in my ears. I feel like I’ve tried everything. I nurse him until he falls asleep, but when I transfer him to the crib, he wakes up. I nurse him until he’s drowsy, but not asleep, and when I transfer him to the crib, he wakes up. I have held him so that he will just get some darned sleep, but he won’t sleep for that long on me, and then I can’t get anything done. I have begun putting him down to nap and letting him cry for an hour, and then just giving on up on that nap and trying again with the next one. But honestly, it’s exhausting.
So, while I’ve been doing that, I’ve been reading a bunch of books about sleeping. My days and nights are literally filled with thinking about nothing but sleeping. Either I’m reading about sleeping, listening to Henry not sleep, trying to sleep myself, or planning how to deal with the next time everyone is supposed to sleep.
So, naps are failing. Hank wakes up so often at night that it would be funny if it wasn’t so terribly not funny. It’s seriously ridiculous. And I really feel like I need to figure out the best solution for us. I don’t think that one size fits all. I don’t think that an idea that works for some kids will work for all kids. Over the last few days, Hank has shown me that if he decides that he won’t nap… there is nothing I can do that will make him nap. I can ignore him for an hour while he cries… but then he will keep himself awake crying. I think that he will do well with a routine… but it’s hard to establish a routine for a baby when there are two older kids.
And then, today, it hit me. I was attempting to catch up on emails (ha!), drink a gallon of coffee (to keep me from sleeping), and listen to Hank not nap. And I saw a calendar that showed that school starts for Oliver and Hazel in three weeks. They have three weeks of summer left.
I had intended to spend a few days getting Hank on a schedule, and had anticipated that within three or four days, he would be sleeping regularly and our lives could go on. This hasn’t happened. Instead, Oliver and Hazel have been cooped up inside. Thankfully, we’ve had some rainy days, which mean that we would have been inside for a decent part of that time anyway. But with no end in sight to the current dilemma, I made a decision today.
I am done trying to put Hank on a schedule until school starts. I am going to spend the last few weeks of summer with these kids, and have a blast. We are going to go to the zoo if it strikes our fancy. We are going to go to the beach if we feel like it. We are going to spend time with friends, and read books, and play outside with the neighbors. And if Henry naps while we’re out, hooray. If we are home and he naps, hooray. And if he is a zombie because he has chosen to not sleep, so be it. I am going to do my best not to take my sleeplessness out on my kiddlywinks, and make sure that the end of summer is great.
And when I made that decision, I breathed a big sigh of relief and really feel like I’m making the right choice. Beyond that, all I want is for Henry to start sleeping well before he learns to call out for Mommy, because then all efforts to cry it out will go out the window.