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Surviving The Nap Wars

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This doesn’t look like sleeping.

I’m having a pity party today. Care to join me? It has been one of those weeks where no matter how hard I’ve tried to fit it all in and stay flexible, it feels like everything has blown up in my face.

How is it possible to have an almost-10-month-old and still have days where you feel like you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing? We’re having some serious nap wars over here. In case you’re wondering, I am losing.

Cullen’s naps are suddenly all over the place. My predictable sleeper is now wired and cranky, which has left me tired and…also cranky. Here’s what his napping looked like up until last week:

  • 6-6:30amup for the day
  • 8:30-10:30am — morning nap
  • 2:00-3:30pm — afternoon nap
  • 6:45-7:00pm — bedtime

Obviously there is some give and take there, and I don’t try to hold him to any specific times or schedule, but he almost always falls into these patterns on his own. I’m guessing that our current nap issues are caused by a few different changes he’s going through right now.

For one, he just started sleeping through the nightI know, I know — sleeping through the night and now here I am complaining about naps! But he was never the “get up and stay up” type at night — just woke, cried, ate, and immediately went back to sleep. So he’s not actually getting much more sleep now, it’s just more consistent. It is also amazing.

He has also started walking. And everything I heard was right: once they start they literally do not stop. He is into everything.  He hates all of his toys, and is only entertained by trash cans, cords, phone charges, remotes, the toilet, the steps … you name it.

I know this is normal for his age. I also know that we hang out with a lot of other babies, and I seem to be the only mom literally running in circles to keep up with a 9-month-old maniac.

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A few days ago, after chasing him down the hall to chew on the toilet base (WHY?) 50 times, I finally drug out the pack n’ play and tossed him in with a few toys. He was not amused. This was also the same day that he took zero naps. ZERO. Finally, somewhere around 7pm, we both crashed. I spent the rest of the night in a fog wondering what the hell just happened.

The next day was a little bit better. His morning nap was routine and predictable, and he even snuggle up on my chest for a bit before hitting the crib. I’ll take it as an apology for the day before.

Capture

But now? We are back to the nap wars.

Now that he’s sleeping straight through the night, he’s waking earlier than he used to, which is fine (and understandable) since we’re both getting more consistent and restful sleep. But it seems that because of this he’s inching out his naps times, or even trying to just drop down to one?  (Please tell me it’s too early for that!)

This morning he got up at 6. We played, ate breakfast, went for a walk, played some more, nursed, got a clean diaper — the works.  By 9am he was rubbing his eyes and giving me all the signs that he was, indeed, tired.  So we did our nap routine, I put him into his crib, and I walked out.

He stood at the side of the crib alternating between screaming and chewing on his crib rail for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile I paced the kitchen, slurped coffee, and stared at the monitor. The whole “put him in the crib and walk out” thing doesn’t feel like a break to me.  I struggle to relax until I see he is actually asleep.

Once a long while had passed and the crying had intensified, I went back in and rocked him for a bit. He still seemed sleepy. I put him back in and left again. He crawled around the crib.  Played with a few hanging toys, practiced his walking from one end to the other…

And just when I was literally ready to give up hope and move on with our day, I looked down and he was flat on his back eyes closed.

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90 minutes after our original nap routine began, he was asleep. And he’s continued to sleep as I typed out this ridiculous rant. So now what — when will his afternoon nap happen? Will he take one? Am I brave enough to attempt to leave the house?

All of this feels a little bit dramatic and absurd. Just typing it out has made me feel a bit better. I know that stuff with babies is always changing and unpredictability is the name of the game, but eventually it just wears me down.

I love that Cullen is so active and that he’s thriving so well, but all this activity doesn’t leave me time for much else.  We have baby-proofed out the wazoo, but he still manages to find little (dangerous) things to get into constantly.

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Eating the door stop typical.

Casey’s work hours have stretched so that I’m now on my own from wake up to bedtime, so I count on those naps for my sanity. When he skips them, I do crazy things like freak out on the internet.

I’d really like to hire some help to give me a break and allow me to get a bit more work done, but I’m not sure when to tell them to come since his sleep times are jumping all over the place. I keep putting it off for “one more week” in hopes that things will settle into some sort of predictable pattern.

And with that this nap is over!  Sorry for the dramatic pity party today.  And please understand I have not lost perspective.  I know there are many, many worse things to be dealing with than an an active, healthy baby who is too excited about life to sleep.  I am lucky to be home with him to pull leaves out of his mouth and get big slobbery kisses.  It has just been a long week.

Read more from Emily on her personal blog Daily Garnish, where she creates healthy vegetarian recipes, recaps her latest running adventures, and chronicles life as a new mom to her son and two crazy dogs.  You can follow along on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest too!

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