Monday, May 10, 2010

The Nap-Time Drive

William does not like to sleep.  Nighttime involves a long Super-Nanny-style routine of screaming, guiding him into his room, more screaming, more guiding him to his room, negotiations for water, milk, stories, hugs, more screaming, and finally silence (theoretically sleeping but could also be laryngitis from all the screaming).  Luckily, Daddy usually handles the nighttime routine.

The same routine, attempted at nap time, achieves all the same results except the silence.  Once, after an hour, he agreed to "go to sleep", dozed for precisely 3 minutes, and then declared nap time over.

Time to give up naps?  In fact, William only has a nap about every other day, when I determine that he really needs it.  Some indications that William needs a nap:
  • He has 2 or more meltdowns in the span of five minutes.
  • He hits me, or Jadzia.  Or he hits me because I caught him hitting Jadzia.
  • With no prompting whatsoever, he says "Mommy I'm not very tired right now."
  • I observe him taking thirty-second cat-naps on his tricycle, train table, or on the floor.
  • He asks me to read him ten stories in a row.
  • He becomes slightly more demanding than usual.
  • He giggles like an insane-asylum inmate.
  • He throws his toys.
  • He demands television, and a glass of milk.
  • His listening drops from around 40% to -50% (the negative meaning he actively does the opposite of what I'm asking).
The only way I know of to get William to sleep is to put him in the car and drive until he dozes off.  I used to time every outting to end around nap time so he would fall asleep.  He soon got wise to the fact that I was taking the extra-long scenic route home from playdates.  I would make up bogus reasons for the detour.  In winter, we were looking for snowmen.  In spring, we were looking for new parks we could visit later.  The moment I see that he's konked, I drive home and transfer him, and his sister, into their beds.

Now I don't even bother lying, or timing my outtings for that matter.  If we're sitting at home, and it looks like he needs a nap, I'll say "I'm going to put you in the car and we'll drive until you fall asleep."  Why not?  If he had any power against the magic sleeping spell of the back seat, then it wouldn't work whether I lied or not.  Of course he fights me, but he still sleeps.

Today, I was driving around the neighbourhood, feeling like a failure because I didn't have a better nap time routine for my son, and because I don't command enough respect to prevent him from hitting me as I put him in his carseat.  Instead of driving around the block, I drove straight up Brant Street (past where it's still called Brant Street) into farm country.  As William began to nod, I saw a blue heron fly by.  As Jadzia started to look drowsy I turned around.

There in front of me was the entire city of Burlington, looking clean and new in the sunlight, and Lake Ontario beyond reflecting the brilliant Mediterranean blue of the clear sky. 


Cara said...

Seriously, my nap routine is as good as yours. Don't feel like a failure for having a persistent kid. I like the excuse of looking for new parks.

Super Happy Jen said...

I actually do find some nice parks that way.

Natalie and Mark said...

Honestly Jen I am the routine queen with my kids and sleep, but it doesn't matter sometimes, they fight it and later make me pay for making them fall asleep! Like tonight for example they both had great naps, went down easy, but at bedtime, the gloves were off. Mark could not get them to settle down. We'll see if it gets better but I've had to keep trying because with 3 kids to put to sleep the routine takes the thinking out of the equation. And the truth comes out... I am not capable of the brain power required to come up with good arguments... thanks to routine... It's my fallback!

Super Happy Jen said...

We have a bedtime routine: Brush teeth, go pee, put on a pull-up, stories, screaming, screaming, screaming, screaming, sleep.

Cara said...

Maybe you need a gimmick for bedtime? Things got better for us at nighttime when I got the Twilight Ladybug. Before that bedtime was a nightmare, and then I said "Hey look, we are going to have beautiful calming stars to look at, how lovely. What a treat, if you cooperate."

So maybe you could replace your fifth bedtime step with something like that: stars, a music box, a soothing CD, one of those Dora/Diego image projectors from Walmart, etc. The novelty of it might redirect him from screaming every night.

Music was too stimulating for Leyla; that's what I like about the stars. They are basically like having glow-in-the-dark stars in the room to look at each night.

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