This post will be simply to serve as a reminder when (God willing) I have another little bit and am struggling with anxiety and a battle of the wills over naps.
Naps have been the bane of my mama existence for a long time. Elle has always napped. But not well. After about 5 months, she decided she was DONEZO with sleeping for longer than 30-45 minutes at a time. Along with that, I felt (feel) like her sleep needs constantly shift and I never have any idea what I'm doing. What works one week won't work the next and I'm a frustrated puddle on the floor.
Currently, Elle is taking only 1 nap. I'm still not certain that she was completely ready to give it up, but she was fighting me tooth and nail on the morning nap and it was more of a source of stress for both of us than it was beneficial. Forty-five minutes of crying (or rocking if I had nothing to do) for 20 minutes of sleep was not enough of a pay off to make the morning from hell worth it. She was honestly pretty OK without it. She stopped dozing off after her 11 am feeding, so I knew that she had adjusted.
BUT at this point, during her one and only nap during the day she was ONLY napping in the afternoon for 40 minutes. I could pretty much time it. So I had JUST enough time to slap together a sandwich and eat it and maybe clean up the breakfast dishes.
I had no idea what to do to lengthen this afternoon nap. I left her in her crib until it had been at least an hour so. Because I needed to try to help her understand that I wasn't going to come get her at the first sound of her waking if she hadn't taken a solid nap. [Turns out, that did NOT work for my kid. I'm not sure if it has something to do with the fact that I held/rocked/nursed her to sleep for so long so she was aware that there were other, more snuggly options out there and was upset about it. Or that she just is not a good self soother... either way. It was ineffective for us.] And she's not a happy, play-in-my-crib-until-someone-comes-to-get-me waker. She's pissed. She wants some TLC stat when she wakes up. [I'm not complaining a bit. It is one of the single best parts of my day. But it does make the whole sleep issue a bit trickier.]
Then, one day I stumbled upon some site that promises to solve all your children's sleep problems and make you happy forever on the ever reliable internet. I read there that putting your little down too late or too early could cause the early waking in your kiddo. Automatically ruling out the need for a LATER nap (because she had just moved to 1 nap, I knew she couldn't handle a longer wake time) I tried putting her down at 12 instead of 1. And that did it! She slept for 1 1/2 hours that first earlier nap time. The next day, however, she did not. But I soon became certain of a molar busting through (which has to be so painful! Yeesh!) that I could blame for her early waking.
We're still taking one nap. Napping more consistently for 1 1/2 hours (praise Jesus!) and still trying to figure things out. (Lately, she's been wanting to nap at 11:30 , which just makes that stretch before bed a little tricky. )
Moral of the story- it is a puzzle. But we are figuring things out. That's the story of being a parent, right?
2nd moral of the story- (but, unarguably the most important moral) every time my child naps for a significant amount of time is a gift from God. A gift of rest and rejuvenation. A gift of productivity. A gift of peace.
Even BIGGER than that, I've learned, is that even the non-nap, up all night "partying" days - weeks even- is a gift. A gift from a God who loves me and does every single thing for my good and His glory.
It's not a gift that is immediately fun and restorative. Nope, He has never promised me that. But He has promised me Himself, and all the gifts He gives me serve to point to how wonderful He is.
Ultimately, HE is the source of any joy, peace, restoration, (insert your own fancy feeling noun) anyway.