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Nap Wars: The 18 Month Edition

not napping

This is not a nap.

Up until now, I’ve been afraid to talk about Cullen’s sleep. Mostly because it’s been so good and so predictable that I was afraid to say something and somehow ruin it. But since that has all gone out the window know, I figure it’s fair game for conversation.

I should start by explaining that Cullen dropped down to one afternoon nap very early – right around 11 months old. Up until that point he’d been taking two consistent, long, glorious naps for many months, and we were in a good groove. And then just before his first birthday, he started boycotting the morning nap – rolling around his crib for an hour (or more) without sleep, and thoroughly confusing his mom and our schedule.

But like everything else, eventually we settled into our new one-nap lifestyle, and I ended up finding that I actually enjoyed it much more than our two-nap days. Suddenly my mornings were open and free for plans, play dates, and story times – without the need to race out during a short window between naps. And while it took a bit of getting used to when the one-nap transitioned happened, it ended up providing me with a really nice break in the middle of my day – perfect since I work from home (during nap times!). Once he settled into his afternoon nap, Cullen started sleeping around three hours each day. Sometimes it was a bit less, sometimes even more, but usually right around three hours. Trust me, I know that is a LONG nap, and not one to be taken for granted! That’s exactly why I haven’t talked about it.

Last week, something changed. I’m not doing anything differently, and our schedule is the same as it’s always been, but Cullen just isn’t tired when he goes into his crib. He seems tired as we drive home from activities, and up until the minute he gets in there, and then BOOM – wide awake as soon as he hits the sheets. He’s been playing, rolling around, tossing stuffed animals out, putting his leg up on the rails and practicing his climbing attempts (help!  so not ready!), and generally doing everything but sleeping. Last week, he took one nap out of the five weekdays.

Some moms have told me to just leave him in there for “quiet time” – and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. But it’s hard for me to work or focus on other things when he’s making a ton of noise and hollering for his pacifier (which he’s thrown from the crib) every 20 minutes. The other problem is that he’s not actually ready to not sleep all day. While he’s happy and full of energy at 12:30 when he should be sleeping, if he doesn’t nap he is a full blown mess by 4pm. Our evenings are whiny, clingy, and and really tough for both of us.

So what gives? There is no way he’s dropping all naps completely at only 18 months, right? I fear that if any child is going to do it, it will be mine. History suggests that he usually errs on the early side of these types of milestones. Here’s hoping this is just another phase, and he’ll be back to snoozing this week. Fingers crossed!

When did your little ones drop naps or stop napping entirely?

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