It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Transitions ain’t easy

Nigel is giving up his afternoon nap. (Boooo….) He is three now, though, and so long as he gets a decent amount of sleep at night he doesn’t need one. (Booooo….) I’m being mature and professional about this, really I am. (Booooo….)


Nap-weaning, like walking, like speech, like potty-training, like just about any other developmental progression, doesn’t necessarily (does it ever?) occur in a nice, straight line.

“Come sit with me, and I will read you a story.”
“I want to sit on your lap.”
“Anna’s in my lap for this story. You can sit in my lap for the next story.”
“NO!!!” He stomps off to glare at us from the safety of the Quiet Stair.

“Okay, everybody, snacktime! … Nigel? Snack is ready. Come have snack, sweetie.”
“I don’t WANT snack.”
“You sure? It’s plums and bananas.” (Which he looooves.)
“I don’t WANT plums and bananas.”
“If you don’t come now, they will be all gone.”
“I don’t WANT plums and bananas.”
“That’s okay. You don’t have to have them if you don’t want them.”
Twenty minutes later, when snack is finished and the table cleared…
“Where is the plums and bananas? I WANT SOME PLUMS AND BANANAS!”

“I don’t WANT to play with the tiles!!”
“Then don’t. If you don’t want to play with them, Nigel, you certainly don’t have to.”
“But I don’t WANT to!!!”
“Nigel, do you want to play with the tiles?”
“Then don’t play with the tiles. That’s okay.”

He sinks into a heap of tears. I pick up the soggy heap, give it a snuggle, then put it gently but firmly to bed. Because some days? Some days there’s just no percentage in being awake…

February 11, 2008 - Posted by | Nigel, sleep, tantrums


  1. Ugh, I remember that. I stopped fighting the naptime wrestle, but sometimes there is nothing else that will do.

    I used to put them to bed with an air of defiance. “If you can’t be nice, be cranky by yourself!” And then they’d fall asleep! EVERY time! I can learn my lesson when it’s right in front of my nose…

    Comment by Undercovermutha | February 11, 2008 | Reply

  2. Poor tired baby. I hate the days (extremely rare but they do happen)when we miss a nap. Poor things just work themselves up so terribly.

    Nigel’s at the age where he legitimately doesn’t need a nap every day. When do you know he’s hit a day when he needs one? When we have a day like this!

    Comment by Dani | February 11, 2008 | Reply

  3. Oh god, I know. Ours naps about half the time now, and the difference is lovely when she does. I hate to see them go…

    If she’s consistently out of sorts when she skips a nap, she probably still needs them. Why let them go?? [she says, waggling her eyebrows]

    Comment by kittenpie | February 11, 2008 | Reply

  4. Yeah, when they get that cranky, it’s to bed they go. My husband even does that to me on occasion. I fight it, too, just like the kids.

    You do??? Wow. When I see the kids fighting a nap, I shake my head. Generally, I’d LOVE to have a nap…

    Comment by mamacita tina | February 11, 2008 | Reply

  5. I’m not sure if I’ll ever try to wean them…unless they stop sleeping at night.

    Well, that’s a good sign. Nigel, apparently, has been taking an hour to fall asleep instead of the usual 10 minutes. That would be another good sign!

    Comment by Redhead Mommy | February 11, 2008 | Reply

  6. Yeah, at age 3 and 5 1/2 months, Pumpkin is starting to skip the nap (sometimes successfully, sometimes like poor Nigel), about half the itme. At least 45 min to an hour of “quiet time” gives us each a break and some down time, even if it’s not as nice as a nap.

    That’s exactly what we’re now doing. If, after 45 min or so of “quiet time” he hasn’t fallen asleep, I figure he genuinely doesn’t need the nap. But we ALL need the quiet time!

    Comment by Ms. Huis Herself | February 11, 2008 | Reply

  7. Oh, I so understand this. I dread the day when the daytime nap disappears altogether.

    Naptime is when I get stuff DONE! (Like reply to comments! Which is IMPORTANT.) What will I do without that time? Sigh.

    Comment by Kat | February 11, 2008 | Reply

  8. I’m way past three and I still need a nap if I’m cranky. 🙂

    ME, TOO!!!

    Comment by chosha | February 12, 2008 | Reply

  9. chsosha beat me to my witty remark.

    Still, aren’t there just some days when you wish you could get away with that?

    No! I don’t wanna go to work, do the laundry, make dinner, go to the grocery store or pick up the dry cleaning! Then fall into a heap of tears and have someone patiently and lovingly scoop you up and tuck you in bed?

    Sheri, you’re describing my DREAM!

    Comment by Sheri | February 12, 2008 | Reply

  10. Well, we aren’t trying to let them go – even if she’s not sleeping, she needs to stay in bed for the regular nap period. it just doesn’t always result in actual napping.

    Comment by kittenpie | February 14, 2008 | Reply

  11. I have used this dialogue a lot in the last few weeks. We have moved from a daycare where my daughter slept 99% of the time to a nanny care setting where… hmmm does she nap at all.

    We’ll see where it is going.

    All that aside though.. I must confess we are truly overly dependent on napping to organize our household. My daughter probably set the tone with her 3hour + nap history for so long, she is as you have said just wired for sleep. With her we got addicted. Baby A. sleeps fine but not that much and I have had to revise my prep everything, do everything while they’re asleep family management plan. I realize now two things.

    1. the will not nap forever so eventually we will have to learn to do stuff with them ‘in hand’.
    2. it is good for them to do stuff with us as we do it instead of being buffered to the upteenth degree.

    Comment by mo-wo | February 18, 2008 | Reply

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