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Do You Ever Break Your Own Rules?

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

We’re coming off a very long and exhausting weekend (who isn’t, right?), that involved a playdate at the park in 90 degree heat on Saturday, then a kids’ pool party that same night at my best friend’s house (which was a blast despite my concerns). But we were literally the last ones to stick around, which meant we didn’t get Preston home and to sleep till 10:30 p.m.—yep, you read that right. Ten freaking thirty p.m. Then on Sunday we spent the morning in the ‘burbs at my in-laws for breakfast, and had a quick visit at my bro’s house to see his kids before heading home to get some rest before having some friends over for dinner—once again, we pushed his nap off a little, and didn’t get him down till almost 3 (his usual nap is from 2-4:30/5). And on Monday (today) it was back to my best friend’s house for more pool action this morning, and then to my parents’ house for Preston’s “nap”—which never happened because he wouldn’t go to sleep, probably because we didn’t attempt to put him down till after 3 again. My poor, sleepy kid…

Later tonight, we had a barbecue at our close family-friends’ house, also in the ‘burbs, and considering Preston was functioning on no sleep today (plus, hours and hours in the sun and pool) he did very well—his cousins were there, so that always helps give him a strong burst of energy. But unfortunately his lack of sleep meant we couldn’t keep him out long enough to see the fireworks, which he would’ve loved obviously. At about 8 p.m. we decided to bolt, because I could sense a meltdown brewing...

We had to make two stops before getting home from the suburbs which is about a 30-45 minute drive in and of itself—one to get gas, and one to pick my dog up from my parents’ house. By the time we got home it was 9 p.m. Preston fell asleep the second we turned the car on (literally), and was passed out the entire ride home (see photo above). But when we got home, the transition from car to bed wasn’t a smooth one, even though we already had him in his PJs and nighttime diaper—he woke up very crabby and nearly inconsolable, so I gave him a bedtime bottle and let him fall asleep on me in my bed. My husband then put him into his crib, and he went right to sleep, but as I’m typing this he just woke up hysterically crying. He’s so over-tired at this point, so my husband’s in the nursery right now desperately trying to get him to go back to sleep.

Did we just totally screw up his sleep schedule with all this running around all weekend? I’m sure he’ll get back to his normal routine within a couple of days, or at least I hope he will!? I feel a little bad about keeping him up so late the past few nights, but he had so much fun so I also have zero regrets.

It’s funny, Jay and I were just discussing this on our way home tonight: what a difference a nap makes. Preston barely ate dinner tonight, he was in such a daze by the time we got to the barbecue. I don’t know how parents who don’t nap their kids do it. Preston is such a happy and easy-going kid—and I firmly believe it’s his regular naps and regular bedtime routine that directly contribute to his happiness. Being well rested vs. being tired? It’s a no-brainer. I know there’s a big difference in my mood when I haven’t gotten enough sleep, so why would it be any different for him?

It was such a fun, jam-packed weekend with lots of quality family and friends’ time—those memories will last forever, so I just couldn’t justify ripping him away from all the fun to put him down for a nap. I rarely make exceptions in his routine, but this was one weekend I was happy to do it (well, let’s see how tonight goes before I nail that statement down).

While I am firmly in the pro-nap camp, and we are very routine people in my house, I think it’s okay to veer off schedule from time to time. Fourth of July weekend seemed like one of those times to me. What are the rules in your house, and when do you think it’s okay to break them?