This post will be deleted or heavily edited

I know, you should never post things on your blog that might get you into trouble, especially when it comes to your daycare provider. But I’m not too worried — they have never read this blog. If they did, then they wouldn’t be under the assumption that Trixie takes a nap every morning at 10:30.

I have no idea what goes on at daycare, but once again I pick up Trixie today and find out that she took another 30 minute nap. I’m like, “What the hell!??”

Not at the daycare, of course. There it’s more like, “Hmmm, that’s very interesting. She took a morning nap, you don’t say?” But the whole time I’m thinking, “Trixie has been on a one-nap-a-day schedule since almost the beginning of December, and I’ve got 10,000 points of data to prove it, so what gives?” Um, yeah, I’ll probably have to take this post down…

Anyway, I usually drop her off around 8:30-8:45, and she ends up taken a nap there around 10:30 every single day. Is she really getting that exhausted in less than two hours? If she is, then fine, but I find it hard to believe. I’m not suggesting that they are making Trixie go to sleep, because as far as I know, that’s impossible. Basically, I guess I don’t understand what is going on, and the reason it’s a problem is that it’s messing up the rest of Trixie’s schedule. In particular, it’s throwing her afternoon nap into a tailspin.

To play the devil’s advocate, Trixie has spent the last week and a half getting over a stomach virus. It has affected her appetite and was responsible for the morning naps she took last week. But she’s better now. She didn’t take any naps this past weekend, and I figured we were back on schedule. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens over the next couple of days. If daycare is really that überstimulating or if she’s still not 100% well, and she needs a short catnap, then I’m glad she’s getting it. I’ll apologize for this misguided steam-releasing rant. But just don’t tell me that a 10:30 morning nap is normal or regular.

[UPDATE 2/14/05 2:48pm] I just thought of one more thing. Trixie is having major, major separation anxiety when I drop her off in the morning that results in 10-15 minutes of terrified, inconsolable crying and banshee screaming. Maybe that energy expenditure is enough to knock her out for a short morning nap.

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30 Responses to This post will be deleted or heavily edited

  1. SuzyQ says:

    Ben,
    If I were you, I might try to make some unscheduled visits to the daycare while Trixie is there. You might get a better idea of what’s going on.

    Just a thought.

  2. benmac says:

    Well, they actually have webcams set up, but I don’t watch them religiously. I check in maybe every half-hour or so. I guess I should keep a closer eye when 10:30 rolls around.

  3. Kimberley says:

    Yeah, I would definitely check the babycam. I’ve had good daycares and ones I pulled my kids out of. (3 kids, age 15 to 1) One kept sending home notes that my daughter was biting, and she’d come home with bite marks and never bit anyone that I ever saw out of daycare. Self defense, maybe? I never believed them and we left that group.

    Are all the kids in her group supposed to nap then? Why is she given the opportunity to nap? Or does she just demand a nap, laying on the floor in the middle of the play kitchen section?

    Does sound strange. Keep out a watchful eye and get to the bottom of it.

  4. Leslie says:

    If this makes you feel any better – – my daughter NEVER took naps at home, but she did at daycare….EVERY DAY. I think that playing with the other kids and such wore her out. Being at home with mom all day was much more relaxing, I guess!(?)

    Also like you said, no one can force a child to take a nap — it’s impossible. What do the kids do in the morning at daycare?

  5. Rozanne says:

    Keep in mind that you’re the consumer here. If you want them to do differently, ask. This is your child you’re talking about after all. I don’t blame you for being frustrated. a 30-minute power nap won’t cut it for an 18-month old toddler, and it’s clearly messing up her schedule. I recommend you politely find a way to ask them not to put her down at 10:30.

    I have a feeling you’re going to find out that that time slot is considered “break time” for the daycare staff. They probably are more concerned about getting their break than they are about tailoring the school to each child’s individual needs.

    I apologize for my rant, too, but this stuff makes me mad.

  6. Abbycat says:

    When you find out how they get Trixie to sleep, let us know so I can tell my daycare people. My gal is taking shorter and shorter naps at daycare, which messes up her at-home nap and bedtime schedule. I had hoped that daycare would ease my burden somewhat ๐Ÿ˜‰ but instead I’m getting a lot less sleep now!

  7. brian says:

    I think you should put a wire on her before you send her into daycare. Then you can sit outside in an unmarked white van and listen in on the whole morning.

  8. lori says:

    A babycam??? That’s so cool – you can “watch” the daycare staff watching your child. That’s got to ease some of the anxiety about how they’re treating your child once you drive off.

    That’s too bad Trixie can’t talk and tell you what’s really going on, but watching the babycam to see if she’s *really* napping has got to be the next best thing. Interesting that she seems to be taking exactly 30 min naps when at daycare (except for last Thurs). Hmmm…

    Here’s a thought…maybe she’s NOT taking naps? I mean, actually sleeping. I used to loathe nap time when I was in Pre-School (wish I could get them back now though!) and would just lay there on my cot and pretend like I was napping so I wouldn’t get in trouble. I must have done that for the whole year I was there. I just wanted to play or do arts & crafts – anything but sleep.

    Good Luck!

  9. linda says:

    I understand, from a parent’s point of view, that you want your child to be cared for according to your schedule and needs. As a former day care provider – in order to run an efficient and balanced environment some rules and boundaries are established. If you want individualized care – stay home with Trixie. If you want someone to watch her and make sure she’s safe and fed and changed during the day – don’t worry about the naps at daycare. Kids sleep when they are tired – in the back seat of a car, on the floor or in their bed. As you mentioned – ya can’t make her sleep if she doesn’t want to.

    Just wondering – are you staying with her during the 10-15 minutes of separation anxiety? Drop her off and leave. If you stay it only extends the pain for her.

  10. tj says:

    THere is always the possibility that they are doing something at daycare you don’t want them to do and it’s definitley a good idea to get to the bottom of that. But I also think there is a good chance that being with all these other kids does wear her out and she needs a little down time.
    I’m a stay-at-home mom and have one son. I’ve tried exposing him to other kids early on – not daycare but probably at least once a week, often more. But every time he gets to play with other kids he gets super excited and tires easily. It seems he spends all his energy being happy about the other kids that he doesn’t last very long.
    It might just be a transitional phase, too. Maybe she has to get used to the whole scenario and at the moment she’s in stimulation overdrive?
    Let’s hope it’s that and not the daycare. Good luck!

  11. Sarah says:

    I work in a day care and right off the bat, I’ve got to tell you … some kids are very stubborn when being put to sleep. I’m in charge of the one-year-olds, so if I had Trixie, she’d be in my room. Our schedule pretty much goes as follows in the morning: free play/breakfast (7:00 to 9:00), snack (9:00 to 9:15), dance (9:15 to 9:30), story/circle time (9:30 to 9:50), free play (9:50 to 10:10), gross motor (10:10 to 10:40), fine motor/art (10:40 to 11:10), free play (11:10 to 11:30), lunch (11:30 to 12:30), nap (1:00 to 3:00) … that’s our basic morning. Diaper changing is spread out among those times. No time in the morning for any naps and we try to encourage any sleepiness to be held off until nap time.

    Also, concerning the transitional anxiety – I know how you feel. If it helps to know that she does better if you leave quicker, then it’s true. With a good number of children I’ve noticed that after the parents leave, they calm down after a few minutes and are happily playing. It’s rare that a child gets so tired from the anxiety unless they’ve been crying the WHOLE time or they’re ill.

    Hope this helps.

  12. Christy says:

    How are classes in the daycare divided? Is she in an infant class or a toddler class? At our daycare, starting around 12 mos (or when they’re ready), they move into a toddler class. There are no more cribs, they sleep on cots that they bring out at nap time. Everybody is on a one nap a day schedule and they nap together right after lunch. So where is she sleeping and how is she sleeping with 5 or 10 other kids running around her? You definitely have to check out the webcam.

  13. Maddie's Mom says:

    I echo what a previous poster said: if you really don’t want her to sleep at 10:30, ask them to keep her awake until you get there.

    However, I know from experience that starting day care can wreak havoc on a toddler’s sleep schedule. She may be exhausted and cranky and only rocking will soothe her…which leads to sleep.

    And, as for the separation anxiety, that will pass eventually. My day care providers recommended that my husband peek in the window after he dropped off Mads to see how quickly she recovered. He did and felt much better about the drop-off after that.

    All in all, I’m just offering a big “Hang in there, Ben! It will improve!”

  14. Kari says:

    i think checking the webcam around naptime would be a very good idea, i have worked at a couple of daycares and although it can be very tough to get a child to sleep it’s not impossible, usually the adult can outlast the child, and covering the child’s head and patting their back does wonders. it wouldn’t be bad for you all to request that Trixie not take a nap, an alternative could be laying on her cot looking at a book.

  15. Umm… I think he was joking about the babycam.

    Right?

    I know that kids often behave differently in day care than they do at home. My daughter, for instance, when she was around Trixie’s age, led her daycare providers to believe that she couldn’t talk. At home, it was full sentences. At daycare, nada. It was very bizarre and went on for months. So I would expect some upheaval, but definitely, as the consumer, you should be able to dictate certain parameters.

    Especially with the data to back up your claims! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. benmac says:

    Everyone: Thanks for all the suggestions. I will ask the daycare to direct her toward another activity if she gets sleepy tomorrow. Since there are a bunch of questions in this thread, some of the answers may overlap:

    Kimberley: She’s in the toddler class and they aren’t supposed to nap then. I’m not sure how the nap comes about. They say she looks tired and they let her lay down (in a crib I think).

    Leslie: It looks like they mostly play, and have a snack, and story time. It (unfortunately) doesn’t seem as structured as what Sarah detailed.

    Rozanne: You’re feeling my pain. It’s a frustrating situation because we feel like the teachers at the daycare are good and really care about the kids ๐Ÿ™‚ The problem is that if Trixie really is sleepy at daycare, what are they supposed to do to keep her awake? I can’t exactly give them a baby cattle prod and suggest that they ‘nudge’ her if she starts dozing off (can I?)

    brian: I like the idea, but couldn’t the truck have “AMCE Florist” on it?

    lori: The problem with the web-cams is that it’s not complete coverage. For example, I think they are letting her nap in a crib in the infants room, and I don’t have access to those cameras.

    linda: It’s frustrating, but I agree with your point. If she’s really tired, then she does a nap even though it wrecks havoc later in the day. As for the separation anxiety, it takes me about 5 minutes to drop her off, and they said she cries for another 5 or so.

    tj: I’m sure hoping it’s a transitional phase.

    Sarah: That’s a great schedule. Thank you so much for sharing it. I’m trying to drop her off as quickly as I can. I am wondering if all the initial screaming wears her out.

    Christy: She’s in the toddler class with the one year olds. I think they’re letting her sleep in a crib, but I’m going to ask that if she has to rest, they let her do it on a cot. Maybe that will keep her from falling asleep.

    Maddie’s Mom: That’s a big YEP, on the soothing and rocking. She’s very clingy at the daycare. She’s constantly begging to be held.

    Kari: Thanks for the cot idea. I’ll try it tomorrow.

    knitting_baby: Actually… there really are web-cams. But they are pretty lo-res so it’s not hugely rewarding to watch. I’m thinking I oughta take some sleep charts in, but that might be overkill ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. mom2four says:

    I think you’ll find that as she gets used to going to daycare, she won’t need a nap. My youngest (they are 3) go to preschool, and they weren’t taking naps at home but they fall asleep on the bus to school, take a nap with no problem, and fall asleep on the ride home (and have no problem going to bed at night). When they first started, they took a lot of naps, and as they got used to the stimulation, the naps have dropped one by one.

  18. Amy, mother of Emily says:

    To touch on another point of your post, I was interested to see how many times you mentioned editing your post. It appears you are feeling some anxiety about your writing now that Trixie is in daycare. There’s this whole new audience for your website- one that you may need to rely on to treat your child well!

    I started a website for my daughter and resolved my ethical/moral/fear of repercussions quandries by adding a password to the website since I didn’t know how to walk that fine line.

    You seem to have struck a very good balance in discussing your wife and your personal life. I will be looking forward to seeing how you handle your writing about this new change in Trixie’s life.

  19. My little boy’s daily habits are completely opposite of those at home versus daycare. He will barely nap at daycare, too much to see. At daycare: 2 naps maybe 40 mins. each. At home, 3 naps of about 1.5 hrs each. Radically different daily schedule.

    Based on others recommendations. We sit him down, tell him we’ll be back to pick him up later and promptly leave – never looking back. Kids get used to the routine…

  20. Becky says:

    No nap at daycare today? Did it spontaneously happen, or did you ask them to keep her up? I am interested to hear how it all played out!

  21. Tom N. says:

    Ben, I don’t know how many of your readers also read Dooce, but for those of us who do, your “rant” is pretty tame in comparison. I wouldn’t worry about upsetting people with your post. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Nina says:

    When I was in daycare we had a designated nap time every child took a nap together. My recolection was that all the other children napped or at least lied still, i would talk to my neighbor until the staff moved me to a corner where i could play with some toys quietly, i’m sure they told my mother that I napped even tho i was just quietly playing.

    I thought it was my idea to open up a daycare with webcams. Darn! They’re already doing it huh….oh well.

  23. schaff says:

    Once upon a time, sleep charts were recording the world’s mysteries. Now they are dictating them. Has Trixie Telemetry driven you mad with power?

  24. benmac says:

    Amy, mother of Emily: I like to think of the site as clinical not personal. That’s how I usually draw the line in my head when deciding what to post. And for me the daycare issue was right on the line. But I’m glad you feel that the site has a good balance. thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    James E. Robinson, III: You’re lucky that you get the ‘good’ nap schedule!

    schaff: The hand that records the sleep data…

  25. Philip says:

    Just another thought: her needs will change, and the routines will change too. What she does at home and daycare will be different, because those are different environments; particularly if she’s having sep. anxiety. That will knock her flat pretty quick, and maybe a mid-morning nap is the way of regrouping so that she can handle the rest of the day.

    Drop-ins are good, too. Pick a day where you can pretend to leave (from her perspective) and then watch how she does in those first 90 minutes.

  26. angie says:

    I can assure the parent of this child, that if Trixie were not sleepy, there is no way in hades that the daycare teacher could make her go to sleep. What is probably more true than not, is that Trixie still requires several naps a day, while her parents have decided she can get along with one. Your child’s body clock is no different than yours. Her body tells her its time to sleep and she goes to sleep. That is until she reaches the stage, where everything else is more exciting than going to sleep,and thats anothe problem. Daycare teachers don’t have to force kids to sleep. At this age children in day care normally do not play with each other as much as they play side by side independently of one another. So Trixie is used to playing mostly by herself, she could surely do have playtime if her teacher put the other kids down for a nap and Trixie were not sleepy. Also the level of intensity children display when at play sucks up lots of their energy. So don’t jump so quickly to the conclusion that it was the daycare teacher who puts Trixie down. Sometimes parents don’t see what’s in front of their eyes.

    I am a Nana and take care of my grandchildren quite a bit to give my daughter and son-in-law time to be a couple. However, one of the things we disagree on is how early they have put their children in daycare. I also disagree with an imposed one nap a day for kids so early. They mistakenly two naps will keep the child up. So they rather have one long nap. What they do not understand is that we do not make up sleep. If you don’t sleep when you are sleepy, you can sleep for four hours later and make up for that lost sleep. Your body clock understands it did not get sleep when it needed it and there is a lack of energy for a period of time. My daugher has her 17 month old son in daycare because she wants him socialized with other children. Yet as i said, he does not really play in a meaningful way with others. They are simply an adjunct to whatever toys he is interested in. Up until the age of two, most, though not all, children generally do not interact in a meaningful way with the other children. They tend to play side by side rather than WITH one another. In hind sight (as a grandparent rather than a parent), I realize that while as parents making decisions for our children, we should be cognizant that we often asked our children to behave within a circumstance that is foreign and frightening to them. In February and perhaps even today, children, Trixie’s age do not understand the concept of time (short or long) so, when you leave them at daycare, they have no idea if you will come back to get them. When you say Mommy or Daddy will be back to get you. Duh? And, no matter that you show up today to pick them up. Each day for a long time they suffer the same anxieties about being left alone. I think parents mistakenly believe that because at some point in the morning the child stops crying and begins to play, that is proof that the child is okay about this whole arrangement. Do we ever stop to think -they have no power whatsoever to do anything about it. They must adjust, but the adjustment is involuntary and can cause real anxiety and sadness. That is why it is critical to pick them up at the same time everyday. When you are late, the fear comes back. I also think it is important to understand that when they are screaming about you leaving them in the mornings, that you treat those feelings as real and valid. It is hard for parents to hear those cries and sometimes the reaction is to get angry rather than to feel sad. But often the remedy is it is to get out of there as quickly as possible. Many parents are so busy telling the children that the place is ok and the teacher is nice, that they forget to do the one thing that is very important. YOU SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE THE CHILD’S ANXIETY TO THEM EVEN AS YOU ARE ASSURING THEM THAT YOU WILL BE BACK TO GET THEM. IF YOU CONSTANTLY ASSURE A CHILD THEY HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR WHEN ALL THEY FEEL IS FEAR, HOW DO THEY RECONCILE THEIR FEELINGS WHEN YOU DENY THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE THOSE FEELINGS. IT’S ALWAYS BETTER TO SAY I KNOW YOU FEEL SCARED, AND THAT’S OKAY BUT I AM COMING BACK TO GET JUST THE WAY I DO WHEN I LEAVE YOU AT GRANDMA’S. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR FEAR, BUT YOU ALSO GIVE THEM A PIECE OF INFORMATION THAT THEY CAN RELATE TO. BECAUSE YOU HAVE ALWAYS PICKED THEM UP FROM GRANDMAS AND BROUGHT THEM HOME. THEY CAN FEEL COMFORTED WITH THAT INFORMATION. HOWEVER AT THE AGE WHEN THEY CANNOT SPEAK MUCH LESS COMPREHEND, YOU HAVE A MUCH DIFFERENT DILEMMA. THIS IS TOUGHER ON THE CHILD AND A SENSITIVE PARENT. I sometimes get the feeling that parents think well, all kids cry, but they get over it. I am not so sure children do get over these partings as quickly as a parent would like to believe. What they do is make an adjustment as all human beings do in difficult circumstances. But exactly where does a 15 month old store the fear, sadness and anger? Some parents refuse to believe that at such a young age, children feel complex emotions. However studies show that in fact those parents are very wrong if they believe that way. I understand that some parents have no alternative but to put their children in daycare. What is most important is not to dismiss any of behavior displayed by the children to being placed in daycare as merely behavior without an internal emotional consequence. Many parents do not think their child can be harmed in a emotional way, because look at all the kids in day care and they seem okay. It is important to always see your child as an individual, even though you are reading books that tell you how a 15 month old or a three year old should behave and your children seem to be on point. My rule of thumb is when you are deciding things for your child, particularly a child under two years of age. Ask yourself how you would feel in a comparable circumstance. What if your boss called one day and told you to go over to a new company and work there until he tells you to return to your old company. You know no one and you are not sure how you are going to fit in. Even as an adult, we find some things daunting, well so does your child. So be gentle when they cry when you leave them at daycare. Understand tantrums in the morning may simply be their only way of telling you how they feel, because they know you are going to leave them in a foreign place. They know nothing of the time and research you’ve done to find a good safe place for them. They know nothing about your work obligations. And mostly for a long time, they are not sure that you will come back to get them. I remember the first time my son-in-law had to pick up my granddaughter, he picked her up quite late, because he had no idea how she watched the time all day and how she was afraid no one would come and get her. So when children who normally were there when she left, had already been picked up by their parents and nobody had yet come for her. She was in a panic. Her mom had been told early on that children depend on your punctuality to help them feel safe.Often but not always, daddies are the last to really understand the necessity to shape their lives to better accommodate their children’s needs. Once you decide to put your child in daycare, its a contract and you have duties to fulfill too, particularly for the emotional well being of your child. Many parents do not understand the depth of feeling many children experience. Many parents dismiss a child’s tears as the child being too sensitive or acting out. Anything- rather than understand that children can be profoundly affected by being left with strangers. No matter how great the daycare, never forget the people doing this are being paid to do it. Which means it is a job. It is never a real substitute for the comfort of home or a loving parent. The Center for Disease Control put out a study on the impact of childcare/daycare on children and while not totally conclusive, they did find that 17% of the children in daycare displayed really agressive behavior traits at the end of their daycare stay and upon entering kindergarten. It is possible that the agressive behavior stems from parents dismissing or ignoring the real anxiety and sadness many children feel on being placed in daycare. If parents deny a child’s fear, that can turn into anger and aggressiveness. Parents who must work and daycare is their only remedy for their children should not feel guilty about having to place their children in childcare. But they also must take the extra responsibility to work diligently to help their children adjust to this new phase in their lives. It is sometimes easier and less guilt making to dismiss a child’s tears and extreme behavior as merely tantrums. Never forget that tantrums can also be evidence of a child’s anxiety, sadness and anger at having absolutely no say about their lives. As I said earlier, each time you make a decision for your child, it doesn’t hurt if you ask yourself, what would I feel, if a spouse, employer or other authority made a comparable decision for me. Would I be angry and frustrated? If the answer is yes, then you may be in touch with how your child is feeling—and more sympathetic to their dilemma.

    Also while being vigilant about the quality of care your child receives in any day/childcare facility. Always remember how demanding childen are as they grow. If you have chosen to hire someone to care for that child and you have done your due diligence in selecting a child care center, honor those people who care for your children. If your child is someone for whom you would give your own life. Clearly your consideration, time and empathy towards their emotional well being ought be high on that list too.

  27. benmac says:

    We appreciate your enthusiasm on this topic, but we have a 1,800 word limit on comments at the Trixie Update. Could you please trim 12 words in order to meet this requirement? Thank you.

  28. Ann says:

    Goodness, Angie. Are you new to the Trixie Update? If there has been one daddy that has shaped his life to accomodate his child, it would be Ben. And, at last report, Miss Trixie was doing pretty well at day care. And it’s pretty clear that she gets a lot of quality mom and dad time.

    At any rate, it seems clear that you do indeed disagree with your daughter and son-in-law about their decision to put your grandchildren in daycare. As a bit of unsolicited parenting advice back to you – I would recommend you try to let this one go. It’s clear you’ve thought a lot about it and you have your grandchildren’s best interests at heart. But your daughter has probably heard your side by now, and either she disagrees or feels her other options aren’t as good. Yes, you have more parenting experience than her. But she’s the parent now and as your adult child, she would probably appreciate your support – even as she understands your disagreement.

  29. Elizabeth says:

    “What is probably more true than not, is that Trixie still requires several naps a day, while her parents have decided she can get along with one.”

    If there were ever a well-researched and well-documented case of a child being ready for a single nap, it’s Trixie. I refer you to this post for more information on Trixie’s nap readiness.

  30. Valerie says:

    Whoa. Someone has too much time on their hands! I watched an Oprah show last week that was about meddling parents who can’t let go after their kids are grown and have their own lives…..wish I had taped it, I’d send it to Angie. Before I had my son, I swore up and down that I wanted to be a SAHM and that day care was having other people raise your kids. Then, I had my son. I’ve been home with him for 15 weeks now, and I think I have found the solution: work PART TIME! My friend babysat a child who was 9 months old and had never been left with someone other than her parents. She cried for 2 1/2 hours! There had to be a balance to better prepare children for the world. I think that I’ll be doing my son a favor by having him in day care for 1/2 days. He’ll learn how to socialize, share, and trust others and also will learn independence and confidence when he learns that he’ll be ok without Mommy around and that I’ll be back to get him. But, he’ll also get 1/2 days with me at home to get his loving nurturing care that kids need as well. If you stick them in day care all day (when the kids spend more time with their caregivers than their parents, ultimately others raising your children), that could be bad. But staying home with them and never introducing them to the world can be bad too, because that produces socially inept people who freak out at the first day of kindergarten. I think Ben has a good solution by the 1/2 day thing. And look, I didn’t even go over the word limit! :OP