Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thoughts on Sleep OR The Little Boy Who Refused to Nap

Daddy was sleeping, so they thought they'd "sleep" too.

There once was a boy named Andrew who thought that life was too interesting to be missed, so at about 2 1/2 years old, he decided to not nap as often. His mommy went crazy. The End.

Okay, so that's a terrible story.

But in all seriousness, I think I need my children to nap more than they really need it. Like if I want to take a nap. Or clean something. Or just have some peace and quiet all to myself.

So for the past 2 months, give or take, I've been trying to adjust to life with fewer naps for my children. Judah (4 1/2 y.o.) has always been a good napper, and still kind of needs naps. But if Andrew doesn't take one, Judah doesn't think he needs to take one. He IS the bigger brother after all. And as the bigger brother, he can't possibly take a nap if Andrew stays awake. He's got the older brother image to keep up, ya know.

Before I continue, I need to explain something. When Judah was a baby, I took sleep schedules VERY seriously. When it was time to sleep, there was practically nothing, save church attendance, that would interfere. And Judah seemed to do very well with that. He was a good napper, and a relatively good sleeper.

Enter Andrew two years later. I had visions of the same type of schedule. Well, I tried, anyway. The same basic outline sort of applied. But Andrew just never seemed to need as much sleep as Judah, and he wouldn't sleep as long for naps. And he was a bit more fussy. But I still took a sleep schedule quite seriously, planning life around the sleep schedules.

Fast forward another two years, and we have Enoch. I still use a sleep schedule for him... but I'm not nearly as tied to it as with the other two. Enoch is more easy-going than the other two. I'm not sure if it's just because I'm more easy-going with my third baby, or if Enoch is more easy, but probably a combination of the two. If I want to go somewhere, I just drag my kids along and hope Enoch naps along the way!

I said all that to say this: I've become somewhat more lax on sleeping the kids. I have a few more random thoughts to say on that later, but now, I want to continue on about Andrew.

I went through several weeks where I was going head-to-head with Andrew in a battle to get him to nap. The battle would last 1-2 hours where sometimes he would end up napping, and sometimes not. I'm not quite sure how you force a child to sleep, especially one as headstrong as Andrew.

So, I've learned to just take the nap days that I can, and if it's not a nap day, get them playing hard so that the blessed bedtime comes early. We've had bedtime come during suppertime. We just roll with it.

I'm not sure if this is a ploy to have more "mommy time", but it's gotten so that Andrew won't fall asleep (if he's going to fall asleep at all) unless I lay beside him on his tiny little bed. But today, after a failed attempt on my part for a naptime, all Daddy needed was one minute, and Andrew was out. Puh-lease. What is it about dads, anyway?!

Okay, so Andrew will nap like every other day, or every third day. I'll take it.

Now, for my random thoughts on sleep... I've been thinking about what mothers have been doing for centuries, when they lived in tents, small sod huts, riding across the prairie, living with many children in a few small rooms. How did they do the sleeping thing? I know how sensitive my children are to sounds. I am just imagining living in a sod house with sheets to separate rooms, me clanging in the kitchen, the big brothers playing loudly beside me, and the baby in a bed behind a thin sheet next to us. Did the babies just get used to it, and when they got tired enough they passed out? I want to know!

The other thought I have is this: the house we currently live in is small, yet I know that six children were raised here. There is a small bedroom off the dining room, which is the boys' room. I think that was the parents' room. And then there is a bigger bedroom off the living room, which is our bedroom, which houses a queen bed, dressers, and a crib. But that room probably housed six children. I'm just sitting in amazement as I think of it.

The moral of the story: Sleep is important. So I'd better go sleep while I can... Good night... zzzzzzz...