The END of Napping as We Know It

It has happened now for good.

The END of NAPPING for big sister.  At just about 40 months, she has said goodbye to her afternoon nap and hello to an earlier bedtime!

The end of napping as we know it is tough for me.  I CHERISHED coordinated nap schedules with big sister and little brother snoozing peacefully, freeing me up to do my own stuff.  I talked about how I love quiet time in this post.

How do I know the end is here?  Well, she hasn’t napped in over a week.  Today I tried my best to tire her out, complete with running around at open gym, more climbing and playing at the Y, and over an hour of reading together.  I successfully left her in her room for quiet time, and when I checked on her, it was clear she was just playing and chattering to herself.  Sigh….

According to the BEST sleep book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D., naps disappear between ages three and six.

“On their third birthday, most children (91 percent) are still napping every day. At age four, about 50 percent of children nap five days a week, and by age five, about 25 percent of children are napping about four days each week.”

With naps out the door, I think I will still continue about an hour of quiet play in her room after reading stories together, secretly hoping she will decide to nap on some days.  Other parents, what do you do when the napping stops?

Big sister sleeping at 10 months old

Big sister sleeping at 10 months old

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Separation Celebration!

We all know a lot about separation anxiety and how difficult it can be to leave your screaming child with another caregiver.  I’ve dropped both of my babies off at daycare, before I quit my job just over a year ago.  Though I know both of my children would eventually calm down and enjoy playing (or so the teachers told me), it still can tug at my heart strings leaving unhappy children.

In stark contrast to separation anxiety, I’ve lately been feeling more Separation Celebration! Let’s start with a definition:

Separation Celebration – proud, happy goodbyes, when you see your child excited to leave you to experience new and different things with other children and teachers.

I first experienced this last week, when I left my 3 year old daughter with her swimming teacher for her class, after being in the water with her for the first few class sessions.  First off I was happy NOT to get in the chlorinated water, and second I have been feeling that my daughter is ready for more time away from me.  Since she had some difficulty listening to the teacher in previous swimming classes, we weren’t sure how it would go when she’d be on her own.  With some apprehension – and forewarning from the teacher that there may be tears – I held her hand and walked her to her class.  She simply let go of my hand and went to her teacher – all without any tears, screaming, or protests!

I was impressed! I walked away from the class, so she couldn’t see me, but covertly spied on her from afar.  I saw my daughter happily kicking, paddling, jumping in, and splashing around according to her teacher’s instructions.  I could not have been prouder!  After class, she ran (whoops – walk around the pool sweetie) back to me, happy as a clam.  Later in the week she told me she now can put her ear in the water. She’s proud of what she’s learning too.

My second separation celebration also occurred last week, when I dropped both kids in childcare at the Y, so I could go to a body flow class (tai chi, yoga, pilates mix set to music). While my 17 month old son was a little upset, my daughter was excited to go play. After a wonderful class, I picked them up and we hung around the play area for snack time and more playing.  My daughter met some other kids around 3 years old, and said, “Look mom, I’m making friends.”  Again, I was thrilled to see her having fun and enjoying the company of her “friends.”

My firstborn is growing up for sure!

It is so rewarding to see and experience your child coming into his or her own.  To be able to get dressed, use the bathroom, eat, and get ready to leave the house with minimal help (and tantrums) is a HUGE accomplishment. I even see big sister telling little brother how to behave. “You don’t throw your food on the floor” is what she has been saying lately.

She’s definitely ready for  3 year old preschool – something I hope to have her by Fall, when I hope to be back at work in either a part time or full time capacity.  It’s reassuring, knowing my husband and I have done a lot of the heavy-lifting of parenting (and will continue to do so), that has helped prepare our daughter for the next phase – going to school. I’m excited for her to learn from teachers other than me and Daddy O (or other relatives and babysitters) because it really takes a village, as they say, to raise a child.

The separation is good for both parent and child. I love my time away to get out and recharge. And as parents, we need our date nights for a chance to reconnect and not only talk all about the kids. We owe it to ourselves as moms to take care of our OWN needs too in order to be a happy, healthy mom and wife, who can set a good example for our children.

Stand up Straight Mama!

I was told to stand up straight by my own mother, and NOW by a doctor. As a child, I could ignore this, but as an adult I have to pay attention – lest I want to try to “work-it” with hunched over shoulders in my 30’s.

Ugh….so where is this stand-up straight business coming from? Well, having two babies since 2009 and not really “training” to get back into shape for volleyball and basketball, led me to attempt to play like I could in my glory days. Hunching over to pick up and nurse my babies, and working at a desk (when I was still working full time) did little to strengthen my upper back, so I was overcompensating with other muscle groups, leading to the tendon “impingement,” or rotator cuff tendonitis. This is my second go-around with this delightful over-use injury. I first experienced shoulder pain when my daughter was about 4 months old from playing volleyball, basketball, and shoveling snow (yes, I live in Wisconsin). This time around it is more difficult to rest my arm when I have one 20lb. baby boy and another 30lb. little girl to care for all day long. It is not fun being an injured mama.

The good news – my rehab includes stretches, exercises and massage!  I’ll have Daddy O. try to assist, but I also am going in for the real deal at a local Aveda spa.  All moms deserve some pampering, and I feel a little more justified indulging in a massage now that I have an injury to help heal.  In a few weeks, I hope to be myself again: standing straight and tall, shooting the J or slamming the ball at the opposing team as a regular “lady killer.”

Have you ever had an injury or sickness that made it difficult to take care of your kiddos?  How did you get through it?

RELATED ARTICLE

This article reminded me of what my doctor and physical therapist explained.  Check it out if you want more info.