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Lack Of Nap Attack

No Nap

I recently received an email from a children’s website letting me know when naps for my 23 month-old toddler will end. I smiled to myself and continued reading my emails without ever bothering to open it up. Why? Because it didn’t apply to me. My daughter does not nap. Yes, you read correctly. She doesn’t nap, and her naps had ended sometime ago.

When this revelation first presented itself, I did not originally take it with such ease as referenced above. I first started realizing that this was happening about six months ago. I asked my friends about their children’s naps and received wonderful tales of how they slept for two hours in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon too … such angels! And I was happy for them. Really.

So I attended a few local mommy groups and when the discussion turned to sleep, I boldly stood up and admitted that my daughter’s naps were going away and waited for the other mothers to chime in with their disappearing nap stories.  They didn’t. I stood there alone. Instead, they asked how old she was and when I replied 18 months I was met with widening eyes and more silence. I quickly sat down and decided to get to work.

I researched all over the web about naps for children. I read sleep pattern books that pertained to my situation. I tried all the tactics they recommended, following everything religiously. When my husband started looking at me like I was nuts, I would promptly and confidently refer to “the sleep book” as if it was my see-I’m-not-nuts pass from being committed to the loony bin. And still … no naps appeared.

Then, like many mothers out there I imagine, I decided to go ahead and blame myself. I decided I was a bad mother. My child needed sleep like she needs food, milk and oxygen, and I was not providing the right environment to let that happen (whatever that was). I couldn’t figure it out. I wasn’t smart enough, innovative enough, and instinctive enough to know what she needed. And it was the last one that really got me, not believing that I had the “natural maternal instinct” to know exactly what the answer was. I made it mean all sorts of things about me. It wasn’t pretty.

I had basically resigned myself to living in this depressive lack-of-nap blame game when I had a catch up conversation with my sister-in-law in Texas, whom I rarely get to speak with. She’s a no-nonsense powerhouse of a woman who works around the clock and is raising three boys (I can’t figure that out either). She asked about her niece (my daughter) and I told her all about the naps, my research and the books. She paused for a minute and said, “Well you know Amy, all that’s fine and good except your daughter didn’t read those books.”  And of course, as usual, she had a point.

My darling girl did not read the nap books. She had never really been a good napper and apparently had decided that she was done.  She didn’t seem especially cranky or tired or irritable at the time her naps should be. She bounced through her days with the same boisterousness and zest for life that makes her uniquely her. Granted, some days she turns the volume up louder than others, and sometimes her station is tuned to hard punk rock versus smooth jazz, but never at a specific time that would highlight a pattern. She gets twelve to fourteen hours of sleep per night, and none during the day, and she seems happy and fine and well adjusted.

It may not be the norm, in fact it may be the extreme rarity, but now I can unashamedly admit that my daughter doesn’t nap. That’s just a fact … it is what it is. I’ve stopped making it a reflection of me as a mother and started looking at the positive sides. My husband and I may not get that midday break but we do get to sleep until 7:30 or 8:00am most days.  We also don’t have to rotate our days around a nap schedule anymore, so we can plan all sorts of fun daylong activities without constraints. And when the early afternoon rolls around and we need a pick-me-up, we’ve rediscovered our love of afternoon coffee. Well, that’s not entirely true. We didn’t have to rediscover it. I think coffee never really goes away.

Author: Amy

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