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The End is Near: Naptime Refusal

On Saturday afternoons, if we have no plans, my son and husband usually take a long nap together on my son’s bedroom floor. They lay out their blankets and pillows like they are camping inside of the house. I love peeking into the room to hear my husband snoring loudly and to see my son laying five feet away from where he started his nap. Both of them would sleep on their stomachs, arms in the same position, like sleeping twins on the floor. But the last time they did this, I peeked into the room and saw my husband still snoring loudly, but my son was sitting up on the floor, wide awake. I accidentally made eye contact with him, and he crept out of the room while I silently shushed him, and we shut the door again to allow my husband to keep sleeping because sometimes I’m a nice wife. 

I can sense that the end of napping is near, and I don’t like it. I selfishly don’t like it one bit. I probably bragged about it too much, and God is now laughing at me. I know this happens to every parent at some point, but I’m surprised that my son is already slowing down on his daily naps. Not long ago, he was the best sleeper in his class. At home, he would nap a solid three hours. Now, he naps more sparingly. 

Something I didn’t realize and probably took for granted was how sacred naptime is, especially now that I don’t work full-time. My son goes to daycare every weekday until 2:30, and at every pick-up, I cross my fingers that there will be a good report. More often, I get a “well, we didn’t nap today” greeting from the teacher, and I can already see our afternoon laid out ahead of us. It either ends up with him falling asleep in his car seat and me getting nap-trapped, or he is incredibly grumpy the rest of the day. It’s like a toddler tantrum times ten. If he doesn’t nap at school, I still try to do a short after school nap. If we’re an hour in with no success, I’ll switch over to “quiet time” mode before dinner time. But since we are so new with quiet time, my son doesn’t understand that I want him to play quietly in his room. Having a quiet time at school and then at home is probably cruel to an almost-three-year-old. But I’m trying everything at this point just so he can get some much-needed rest.

The most frustrating thing about this transition is his ability to fall asleep in the car at inconvenient times. It sometimes happens later in the day when we are on the way to an outing or a family dinner (after we have tried but failed at naptime). It is impossible to wake him up from his car naps with him in a good mood. One particular time, he didn’t nap during the day and was especially grumpy. We had a family dinner at a restaurant and were five minutes into our drive when I looked back to see my son passed out, mouth wide open, snoring. I whispered several curse words to my husband as he realized what had happened, and we quickly came up with a plan for me to stay in the car to let our son sleep a little longer while my husband went into the restaurant and ordered our food. When our son woke up ten minutes after arriving at the restaurant, he woke up angry. And I mean angry. His demon child alter-ego came out. This can’t keep happening. 

Indy moms – do you have any tips for me? Please leave a comment if you have a useful nugget of advice or if you’re going through the same thing and just want to commiserate! Sincerely, a mom who really misses daily naptime.

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