It’s my guess that if you ask any parent of a young toddler what the best time of the day is, the answer will be nap time. Previously it may have been happy hour, or when Must-See-TV starts, or that second coffee break, but that was before they had kids.
Four months ago, when Trixie was 14 months old, I could usually count on her to take a nap by about 10am, but I wasn’t real particular. If she acted tired, I would let her take a nap, even if it was 8 o’clock in the morning. As far as I was concerned, it was never too early for a nap. Not being a morning person, I needed Trixie’s first nap to shower, get dressed, and generally wake-up. If I was having a good day, I might even get a little work done, but that was usually left for the afternoon nap. She didn’t always take an afternoon nap, but it regular enough for me to believe that it existed. (See A)
Things began to change around 15 1/2 months (B). I still let Trixie go to sleep in the morning when she wanted to, but it became increasingly difficult to get her to take a second nap. We had horrible days where she took a short morning nap, and then spent the whole afternoon in a cranky, frustrated stupor, unwilling or unable to take a second one.
We wrestled with this for a month until we decided enough was enough. We decided to push her to stay up until nap time (1:00) and the payoff was immediate. (C) The following nine days were the most consistent sleep schedule Trixie ever had. Her schedule has fluctuated since then, but one the one-nap-a-day rule remains in effect.
So, now our only sleep problem is trying to get Trixie to stay in bed at bedtime. For instance, tonight it took over an hour of her jumping out of bed, running around her room in the dark, pulling out all her toys, banging into things and generally sounding like a raccoon going through the trash before we finally got her to sleep. Aside from reverting to the Pack’n’Play (which she still can’t climb out of) we don’t have a solution — unless going in there with a flashlight and banging on the garbage can lids would work.
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Other points of interest on this chart:
(D) First climbed out of her crib, just five days after we switched over to one nap a day.
(F) After several weeks of successfully sleeping without the crib side, Trixie began rolling out of bed at night.
(G) Trixie was sick.
(H) Trixie wouldn’t stay in her crib when she was sick, so we switched her back to the Pack’n’Play for about a week and a half until she learned to stay in the crib again.
Thanks to dearsarah for reminding me to do this nap transition story 🙂