Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Napping House Where Nobody Is Sleeping

Alice still "naps." And by "naps" I mean around 1 o'clock we read books, I tuck her in bed, and as soon as she hears me descend the first stair step she gets out of bed, turns on the light and resumes playing whatever magical game I so rudely interrupted. Whether or not she naps is up to her, but she's shut in her room for nearly two hours. It's been like this for at least a year.

"Does she still nap?" is a question I'm asked a lot. I'm not sure why people are so enthralled with my child's napping habits, but clearly they are. It's a guarantee, when I tell them that even though I think she needs to nap, she probably only sleeps 2 out of 7 naps, the people have their opinions.

"She has too many distractions in her room. Here's what you need to do. Remove all of her toys and books. Then she'll have no choice but to sleep."

Really, Einstein? It's that simple. Why, oh why did I never think of that? Now tell me, when she starts using the clothes in her dresser as her own fashion show, what then? Am I supposed to remove her dresser as well? And when she resorts to counting and playing with her toes? Cut 'em off? I have tried this "bare bones solution." It doesn't work.

"Well, maybe this is her way of telling you she's growing up and doesn't need to nap anymore. Maybe mommy just needs to accept that nap time is over."

Brilliant. That has to be it! Just a sec though, when she's melting down around 4 o'clock every day because her brain just can't function anymore and she's tripping over her own feet because her body can't keep going, please do tell, what's your address so I can drive her to your house and you can entertain her delightfulness? My child still needs to nap. Without a doubt.

"You aren't tiring her out. From the moment she wakes up, you need to be providing her with physical stimulation so when nap time rolls around she's exhausted."

Let me get this straight, if I take her for a dog walk, a bike ride to the playground, and a trip to the bouncy house all before lunch time, that ought to do it, right? I've done that, and she didn't nap. The amount of energy she exerts is not related to the amount she sleep.

This is Alice. Some days she allows her body to sleep and some days she doesn't. A few days ago, I went in Alice's room during nap time to ever so kindly yell remind her to lay down and go to sleep. She wasn't in her bed or her chair, but her closet door was shut. She has a small cubby in her closet and it's the only hiding place in her room. I, assuming she was hiding, decided not to feed into her game and quietly left her room. At 5 o'clock, I returned to fetch her. Nap time never lasts past 5 unless I'm reading a life stopping trilogy. I walked into her room and still no Alice. I opened her closet and there she was huddled in the corner, asleep. When I roused her I asked the obvious, "why were you sleeping in your closet? Were you reading and you fell asleep."

"No Mama. There was a bug. In my room. I was hiding from it. You know, bugs can't get you in your closet."

So, the next time some well meaning old lady suggests my daughter has too much stimulation in her room. I'll likely retort, "Or not enough bugs. A faulty ant farm might fix my napping problem.

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