So-long sleep

A warm afternoon about 1pm, curtains a drawn, and a ruggedly handsome, doting father is tenderly putting his calm, serene daughter in her cot for some quiet time

[Adoring Doting Daddy] “Ok so you’ve got teddy?”
[Slight Tired 2.5 Year old girl] “Yes daddy… and purple teddy daddy”
[ADD] “Oh yes purple teddy, here you are sweety”
[ST2.5] “…and Elmo daddy, where’s Elmo?”
[ADD] “Silly daddy, here you are”
ADD Turns to leave the room
[ST2.5]“And books daddy…”
[ADD] “OK sure sweety, here you are”
[ST2.5] “the pants book daddy, where is the pants book?”
[ADD] “woops, silly daddy, here you are. Is there anything else you need?”
[ST2.5]“ummmmmmmm… music daddy, silly daddy forgot music”
[ADD] “your right! here you are…ok? good. I’ll see you soon after your quiet time”
AD kisses daughters forehead, adoring brush back of fringe, uplifting music seems to be playing somewhere
[ST2.5] “That’s the wrong music daddy”
[ADD] “Oh, what’s the right music sweety?”
AD finally finds the right music, reaches over for a quick kiss, decides no adoring hair brushing is needed
[ST2.5]“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy… what about teddy’s socks?”
AD frantically looks for the small white newborn socks that teddy seems to require to prevent soft toy hypothermia. Puts them on making a show of them being on nice and tight
[ADD] “There you go sweety, quiet time now, see you soon”
AD leaves the room, pulling the door two slightly and walks towards the kitchen when the crying starts, which turn into a scream and then intermediate hyper-ventilating, and coughing and “DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDY!!!!!!!”

My evil arch nemesis

No it’s not the screenplay of my yet-to-be-published horror novel, nor is it the introduction of a post about some horrible injury or illness that my daughter suffered on the weekend. No it’s much, much worse. The Illiterate Infant household has crossed one of those final lines between babyhood and toddlerhood (or toddler hood and childhood depending on how lucky you are). That line is the afternoon sleep and we are now officially on the “no afternoon sleep” side of it.

It’s a clever bit of cosmic trickery because my first post, written back in July was a personal high five to myself, congratulating me on getting my daughter through her latest piece of daytime sleep rebellion. Since then I’ve been strutting around, secure in my ability to handle anything my growing child throws at me with my gifted parenting techniques.

With a false sense of security firmly instilled little miss 2.5 chose her moment to pounce and before I knew it it was gone. The hour and a half to sit on the couch, revive with a cuppa or even talk to my wife in the daytime has been swapped for a negotiated “truce” involving mum and dad bringing various offerings into the cot in the hope that she will quietly play, read or cuddle them in such a way that she will relax enough to fall asleep. Instead we are subjected to a period of blood curdling yelling and screaming before we go in to see a healthy little girl, albeit with slightly teary eyes who happily tells us the latest adventure teddy has been on.

I know nothing lasts forever and I realise that really, her sleep is as much about my wife and I being able to relax for a fleeting moment as it is about Miss 2.5’s health and well being. I’ve also noticed that she does pretty well without it unlike 3 months ago when each evening would be like a re-enactment of M*A*S*H (the injured soldiers bit, not the drinking gin and wearing your dressing gown to work bit) but I just wish that 3 weeks ago someone had said “make the most of it”.

So, practically speaking, is it over? When did your little ones day time sleeps finish? Is sleep a good friend of your household or an evil force that must be banished at all costs? If you’ve lost it, do you want it back?

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40 Responses to So-long sleep

  1. ISophie says:

    Oh dear…
    My just turned 2 yr old wont nap unless he accidentally falls asleep in the car.

    Sucks

  2. Mark says:

    I’ve been mourning the loss of our afternoon nap for a few months now. People tell me time is a great healer but I like to think the nap was the greatest healer of all.

    We’re now at the stage where his yawning/tantrums kicks in around 4pm which is far too close to bedtime to be allowed to happen … it’s become a battle to keep him awake which is hard work if you’ve signed up to the Geneva convention!

  3. Zanni Arnot says:

    Fabulous post Kevin. I think we all relate! I actually embraced the loss of day sleep because day sleep meant me bouncing around with the sling for 40 min and at 2 it was killing my back. Also it meant Elk actually went to sleep at 7 without fuss so I had my evenings back which I valued far more than day sleeps.

  4. I’ve been through this a few times with Grace (who is almost three now). Each time I thought she had dropped her day sleep turned out to be a phase. Fingers crossed it’s the same for you.

  5. My children have always been terrible day sleepers but they make up for it by being excellent at night time. Rachel x

  6. goodgollymissholly says:

    There is nothing sadder than when the squids give up their much loved (by the parents!) daytime sleeps!

  7. Thankfully Mia is still on two (short) naps a day although I’m pretty sure I am about to drop it down to one as we are struggling to get the two out of her. I am not looking forward to the day when she doesn’t sleep at all. I think that is my worst nightmare! And speaking of which, I think your post has jinxed me as I can hear the munchkin awake now!

  8. kriscia says:

    Hey there. I enjoyed reading your post! I lamented the departure of day-time naps with both my chicks; it happened much too soon with them. But then, I was never a day-time napper myself when I was little so I guess it’s genetic? Or pay-back, as my mum will tell you!

  9. Krystle_Sky says:

    I’m so thankful when my Mr 3 sleeps, which is less and less as the days go on. Unfortunately a daytime sleep is now met with a late bedtime. And the days he chooses not to sleep means throwing bedding on the floor, unpicking stitching on bedding. shaking a water bottle over his room.. But occasionally he sleeps, or lays quietly and reads book.

    Good luck! It makes for a very long day when they don’t sleep and there’s no parental downtime.

  10. Sim says:

    My children stopped day sleeps pretty early on in their little lives (pretty sure they were both still under 2). Apparently there is way too much fun to be had in my house for anyone to contemplate lying down and closing their eyes for a couple of hours. They were absolutely right, that was the time that Mummy put on her cocktail dress, poured herself a glass of champers and had extremely fun guests over to play. Oh hang on, nope, it was really just the time that Mummy cleaned up the mess they had made that morning and perhaps fitted in a coffee. I do have to say though, that I am now appreciative of them not sleeping during the day. If I pick up the 3 year old from preschool and see he has had a sleep, I almost burst into tears on the spot, knowing that he will be up until around 11pm wanting to play. Staying up late is worse than staying up during the day, as it is acceptable to have that glass of champers and watch inappropriate television for small children late at night.

  11. Emily says:

    My little one is 2.4. She’s still sleeping 3 hours so I’m hoping it lasts for quite a while longer. But the upcoming Christmas rigmarole will no doubt throw a big spanner in the works, and might get her to ‘reconsider’ her need for sleep!

    Love this post. Totally went on the journey with you, Adoring Doting Daddy.

  12. becc03 says:

    Man I hate that transition….why, why, why can’t the sleep go on for a much longer period??
    #ibot

  13. it really is hard to accept that the afternoon sleep doesn’t last
    it is especially harder to accept that once gone, it never comes back
    on a positive note – the minute my little ones gave up their day sleep – they slept completely (like dead animals) through the night
    good luck, especially with a tiny little one coming soon
    xx

  14. oh God! You’ve reminded me of my eldest son and his ‘so called’ day sleep. This child of mine (now 22) learned to climb out of his cot before he could walk! He would climb out, scoot over to the bedroom door, pull himself up and bang on the door screaming to be let out. I would go out to the backyard to escape the din (and to stop myself from letting him out!) Eventually he would fall in an exhausted heap at the back of the door, and I would gently force (if there is such a thing as gentle force!) the door open and put him back in his cot. This was a daily routine, and I reckon he’s got it coming to him when he has kids of his own!

    Good luck with that!

  15. My eldest dropped down to one sleep at 10 months, then only sporadic day sleeps from 2yrs. At 2 1/2 she no longer had any day sleeps at all – but the bonus was that at night she slept really solidly for the first time ever! So while I missed that (unreliable) down time during the day, I do prefer knowing she’ll sleep soundly through the night.

  16. Bahahahahaha – my youngest is 10 so I simply can NOT remember when day time sleeps ended BUT what I can tell you is that there will come an age when you’re begging them to turn off their phones and laptops and go the hell to sleep only to have to threaten them with a bucket of cold water to get their butts out of bed for school 8 hours later….. *sigh* How I miss the early days…..

  17. mamagrace71 says:

    LOL! We are just going through the “transition” stage and it is torturous! Some days they’ll sleep for 3 hours, others about 30 minutes (with 30 minutes thrown in there trying to settle them down). It’s like they’re teasing me. I just want a clear cut answer: Are ya gonna sleep…or not?

  18. My now 3yo won’t sleep at home, but she has a sleep at daycare. Peer group pressure.

  19. Bron says:

    Beautiful writing x my daughter gave up the day sleep at 19 months. Takes a while for the afternoon crankiness to go tho!

  20. I still mourn the day my daughter dropped her afternoon sleep. She was about 2.5. She’s in Prep now and I still miss it. Think it’s time I let it go…

    And hey, what’s wrong with going to work in your dressing gown? Or gin for that matter? (not that you said there’s anything wrong with it, come to think of it…)

  21. Kelly HTandT says:

    Oh Kev, I’m so sorry for your loss! It’s a heart wrenching moment, saying goodbye to the peace and quiet of the afternoon nap. My 4yr old was a champion sleeper and only stopped day napping a couple of months ago, so we got 4 sweet sweet years out of him. My 2.5yr old still has a 2hr arvo nap, not sure he could give it up just yet. He’s one cranky kid when he hasn’t napped! But i miss the bliss of having all 3 of them down for a nap. A quiet cup of tea. Some blog reading perhaps. *sigh*

  22. Our first child, Sinister, gave up his day-time naps 3wks BEFORE his younger brother was born. When Nefarious came along, I never had that “opportunity” for day-time naps with both boys. Evil little…

  23. Helen in heels says:

    Thankfully my 2.4 year old is still having day naps. But not without his scissors, dinosaur (the t-Rex not triceratops), toy soldier, his brothers money box, his Dads spanner, books, cuddles, water …

  24. Oh yes, our two and a half year old did this earlier this year, and it was not a happy experience. After a couple of weeks of trying to lie down with him, talking to him, etc. In the end, I just ignored his screaming and after a few days, he went back to sleeping. NO way was I letting that day time nap drop! Our oldest has just turned four and we’re still persisting with his day time naps. Sometimes he sleeps and sometimes he doesn’t. Whatever the case, he has to stay in his bed in his room. And if he’s good and quiet for the two hours, he gets a star sticker for his sticker book which he loves. 🙂
    Ronnie xo

  25. We instituted “quiet time” instead which is sitting nicely on the sofa with a cuddly toy and watching a DVD. Think it was Thomas at the time. This also evolved in Daddy time in the weekend, as it was “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy” from the moment he got home on Friday til the moment he left for work on Monday. This gave him 90 minutes to 2 hours by HIMSELF. He usually spent it grocery shopping and other such glamorous pursuits.

    Worked a treat then – and still does now at 8.5 🙂

  26. Poppy says:

    It is tough. My daughter was not even 2 years old when we started having troubles with the afternoon nap. I literally spent hours sitting next to her bed, waiting for her to finally fall asleep, so I can have my alone time. After a while I gave up, because I was very-very pregnant with our second child, and realised, that I am not going to be able to sit next to my toddler for hours, I am going to have a crying, hungry baby as well. So that was the end of my piece and quiet. And I was sooo upset, it felt like a personal defeat, and I missed my adult-time so much… Now little brother has turned 1 and a half years… and he has started to have troubles too with the afternoon nap… what will I do? 🙂

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