Henry is an excellent nighttime sleeper. Bedtime routine is done by 7:30 p.m., he is typically asleep five to ten minutes later, and he routinely sleeps till 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. Henry used to be an excellent napper. But, it seems somewhere in the last 6 months, a switch flipped and some days he has a very hard time winding down for naps.
When relaying our troubles, most folks have commented that he is probably just outgrowing his naps. This is of course possible – some kids never make it till 3 ½ and stop napping much earlier. The trouble is, I swear he is not ready to give them up. Yes, yes, a small part of my argument is that I am not ready to give them up. I treasure the afternoon nap during our “home” days. I can get school work done, or Matt and I can enjoy a quiet afternoon of watching football or golf. Some days, we ALL get a nap in! Enough about my reasons though – back to Henry. When Henry does fall asleep, he sleeps hard. At home he will easily take a 2-3 hour nap. So when well-meaning people tell me he is ready to give them up, I say, nope, no way, no how. This kid is a busy body and he needs mid-day sleep to gear up for an afternoon of play.
The problem we are having isn’t one of not being tired – it is one of a little mind refusing to slow down. In the past six months we have had numerous adventures. I have found him rearranging all the clothing in his dressers. I have found him standing on top of his dressers. I have found him out of his room, standing on the bathroom vanity, rummaging through the medicine cabinet. Which, by the way, luckily had no medicine in it. I have walked in to find him stark naked, laying on a towel on the floor, which he was calling his “beautiful new rug”. I have found him sitting in a toy bin that he had placed on the rocking chair. To remedy these situations, we have taken everything except his bed and a few stuffed animals out of his room. We have locked his door until he falls asleep to prevent escape. Removing all stimuli has helped tremendously, but it doesn’t do the trick every time. Yesterday was a “home” day for us. After about an hour of listening to him doing who knows what in his room, I heard him calling for help, because he was “stuck”. I figured, heck, there isn’t anything to get stuck in or on, so I’ll let him go for a while. A few minutes later I could hear a little panic in his voice, so I went in to investigate. He was under the mattress. Yup, he had taken everything off his bed, and somehow lifted the mattress up off the wood frame just enough to climb under it.
So, on days like yesterday, when the weather was gorgeous and we could have been at the park enjoying the day instead of having another nap time debacle, I wonder – maybe he really is ready to give up naps. But when 6:30 rolls around and the meltdowns begin I think, nope, he needs a nap. I try to remember on these days that I know him best, and I know what is best for him. And for now, naps are still a must, no matter how hard he tries to fight.