The Great Nap Debate
August 16, 2010
Preston's at a turning point in his little life right now: He's desperately trying to get rid of one nap, while I am desperately trying to hold onto it. Guess who's losing this battle? Yep, me. I want to keep him on two naps a day, because A) Two naps means two separate breaks in the day for us; B) More importantly, two naps means he'll be able to maintain the late bedtime which, as I've mentioned, is key for my work schedule; and C) If he goes down to one big nap in the middle of the day it makes it really hard for us to go anywhere and do anything in the afternoons. I work all week, so weekends are prime bonding time for us, and it's also when we see our families who happen to live in the suburbs. Translation: We spend almost every weekend commuting back and forth for up to an hour each way. When he was taking two naps, they were at 9/9:30 a.m. - 11:30/12, and again at 3/4 p.m. - 5/6 p.m. That worked out perfectly for everyone involved because we could go out to breakfast before the first nap at the crack of dawn when there were no lines and no hassle; and then we could have an afternoon playdate or trek up to see our family. If he moves to one nap a day, it will likely be around 1 p.m. - 3/4 p.m. How does one make plans around that?
Remember, I've got two days a week to see family and friends, and spend time with Preston. At this point, I'm seeing my friends once every 2-3 weeks if I'm lucky. Once his sleep schedule changes, I will probably be seeing them even less, I'd imagine. Especially my best friend, who's due with her first child in December, and who also just bought a house in the 'burbs; they're moving in October. It's hard to imagine how and when I'll ever see her, especially once her baby arrives -- she'll have a newborn baby to tend to, and I have a full-time job and a one-year-old who will be sleeping in the middle of the day. Coordinating playdates will be rather difficult, if not impossible. And we've pretty much been waiting our whole adult lives to be at this stage together.
"Time" has not been on my side lately, especially on the summer birthday party circuit. A few weeks ago, we showed up to a friend's son's three-year b-day party at the bitter end -- we were literally the last people there, everyone else had already left by the time we arrived. And it wasn't because we're total jerks; Preston was sleeping and we didn't want to wake him, obviously, so we showed up as the party was ending, to bring the gift. Of course my friend understood, that's not even the issue. The bigger problem is, Preston is a different age than all of our friends' kids. There are about four kids that are two months younger than he is; and even more that are older by a few months to a few years. As a toddler, the small age difference won't matter, but as a baby it makes all the difference, because everyone's at different stages. And once his sleep schedule officially changes, he'll be more in line with the older kids than he will be with the younger kids.
That is, if you don't count the crawling/walking thing. Did I mention he's still not doing either yet? Not that I'm at all worried that he's turning one in two weeks but has never seen the light of day on all fours. Or his knees. Sure, he gets around, by flip-flopping from stomach to back, and he's standing better with our help, but as far as any real independent mobility goes: nada, zilch. Fingers crossed that the next time I mention this I will have a different story to tell...
Sunday we actually made it to one of my best friend's son's two-year birthday party on time -- it was called for 4 p.m., and we got there at 4:30. That's as "on time" as you can expect to be with an infant. Preston went down for his morning nap at 11:30 and slept till almost 2 p.m., so it worked out quite perfectly. But here's the pickle: His own birthday party is this coming Sunday, and I hadn't considered the shifting sleep schedule when I booked it for 1 p.m. Now that he's trying to get rid of the two naps and go down to one nap a day, which is what's been happening the last couple of weeks, I'm a little concerned he won't be up for his own party -- or, that he will be up but he'll be cranky. And no one likes a cranky baby, especially the parents of said cranky baby.
The days of manipulating his naps, or anything he does for that matter, are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
We're actually considering waking him up at 7 a.m., since lately he's been sleeping till 8 a.m. Then we might have a shot at getting him to go down for a morning nap before the party starts. I'm perfectly okay with him going down to one nap at 12 months, if that's what he wants, but is it too much to ask for him to do this after next weekend, once his party is over?
How old were your kids when they went from two naps to one? Did you try to manipulate their sleep schedule, and did it backfire? So far we've been successful with how we've manipulated his bedtime to be 8:30/9 p.m., but the rest he pretty much dictates himself at this point. Is it a losing battle from here on out? What are the advantages/disadvantages to one nap vs. two naps?