It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Second time, same as the first

Four thousandth time, same as the first…

Yesterday was a Monday. It was Tuesday, I know, but it was “a Monday” nonetheless, the day when the tots return to daycare after a weekend at home, a weekend full of activity, adventure, different routines. A weekend full of family time and fun.

A weekend full of everything… except naps.

In this case, it was the first day back after two weeks off. I expected tired children. I expected fragile children. I expected grumpy children. And hoo, boy, did I get it. The whining! The tears! The negativity!

But that’s okay, because I have long since won the Battle of Sleep with these kids. When they get like that, I put them to bed. And they sleep. And they sleep and they sleep.

And when they wake up? They have transmogified from whiny, irritable, tear-streaked critters back into their usual chipper little selves.

Phew.

In a way, I don’t really mind Mondays. Who’s going to argue with extended naptimes?

The problem is not with the children.

“How was his day?” Noah’s mommy is so sweet. She’s got such a nice way with her boy, she’s delightful with me, and she’s just so gosh-darn cute. I really like Noah’s mom.

“He started out pretty cranky, but then he had a mega nap, and he was fine.”

She is astonished to discover that he doubled his usual 1.5 – 2 hour nap into a three-hour sleepathon. The boy was TIIIIIRED. He had serious catching up to do.

The next day…

“Would you please wake Noah up after two hours today?”

“Did he have trouble falling asleep last night?” Though I’d been careful to wake him a little earlier than normal, it’s possible he slept late enough into the afternoon to mess up his evening.

“Oh, no. He was sleepy after dinner and just fell into bed at pretty much his usual time. It’s just that he woke up this morning at five.”

I have this conversation, or some variant of it, with soooo many clients. The request that I limit or eliminate the child’s naps so as to encourage sleep at home.

If it comes from a parent who has nurtured and maintained good sleeping patterns in their child, I am open and co-operative. If it comes from a parent who has never been able to help their child develop healthy sleep patterns, I am not.

Besides? Early waking because of a long nap the day before? It doesn’t work that way. If he got too much daytime sleep, he’d have had trouble falling asleep at bedtime. He didn’t. He “fell into bed”, and did it at the usual time. A pre-dawn waking is a normal night waking turned into a wake-up call. (Everyone wakes in the night, several times. Mostly we just roll over and go back to sleep. Often we don’t even know we’ve woken — but we all do.) Since he normally wakes at about 5:45 anyway, his sleep is likely getting quite light at that point in the night. He needs to learn to roll over, or at least to play quietly in his bed.

What he does not need is to lose his nap, to pile sleep-deprivation upon sleep-deprivation.

Now, in fairness, she wasn’t asking me to skip his nap, only to ensure it isn’t a protracted one. I can certainly assure her of that… because I can pretty much guarantee today’s nap won’t be protracted. He’ll wake up on his own, at his usual time.

He did his catching-up yesterday. As he does every Monday.

But maybe I won’t tell her that…

September 9, 2009 Posted by | daycare, sleep | , , , | 11 Comments