Pretty much from the moment I became a mother, I lived in fear of the day my daughter would give up napping.
When would I EVER have a moment to myself again?
And when I got pregnant with my second daughter, my fears intensified. How could I possibly manage to be a decent parent if they didn’t both nap at some point during the day?
Then, about four months after Ani was born, that day came. Ella started dropping her naps.
At first it was just a day here or there, maybe once every week or every other week. Then it became every other day. Then the napping only happened about once a week.
And the world did not end.
In fact, my life, shockingly, got easier.
As Ella first began giving up naps, we bought a small clock for her room, with enormous digital numbers on them. She learned that nap time was from 1:00 to 3:00 every afternoon. If she woke up before that, it was fine, but she needed to stay in until the appropriate time.
At that point, she was still in a crib, so she would call for me and I’d bring her a stack of books to read or something to color on.
Then, as she transitioned into a bed and naps became more rare, she could do whatever she wanted as long as she stayed in her room.
And to my shock, it was actually BETTER than a nap. I still got two hours of peace (and time to work), and she had some time to decompress. She didn’t wake up crabby (although I do miss the crazy bedhead she always had after a warm afternoon nap). She went to bed easily at night because she was actually tired.
And, best of all, because there isn’t real sleeping going on, the time actually doesn’t matter that much, which means I can arrange it to work around the REAL baby’s nap schedule (which is currently a little less predictable). If Ani sleeps in like crazy one morning, we’ll do early quiet time at 11:00 or so while Ani takes her first nap (I am an expert at quickly resetting the time on the digital clock, let me tell you). If we have somewhere to go in the early afternoon, we just do quiet time a little later. It’s so easy and convenient, and I am pretty much guaranteed a child-free time block of time everyday, which I don’t think could have happened if they were both napping.
Of course, some days she still falls asleep, if we’ve had a particularly busy morning. And I don’t complain about that either.