Motherhood, Olive


If you follow me on any sort of social media channel, you will have no doubt noticed (and perhaps eye-rolled) my continuing saga of “I think Olive is giving up her naps what is happening she’s only two make it stop I need the nap I NEED it!”

The debate, is over. I can’t deny it anymore, I think it’s time for acceptance.

Here are the facts: I can get her to nap, but it doesn’t happen until around 6.5 hours after she wakes up, instead of 5 hours after like it did in the good old days. It then takes 30-45 minutes of book reading and cuddling and general urgings to please for the love of god sleep child! Then, then she will sleep for around 2 hours and that’s great, except then she’s good to go for another 6.5 hours. But because her nap time is being pushed back, everything else follows suit and her bedtime was being pushed back about 2 hours every day. Plus I was losing the 45 minutes of getting her to nap. So, the time gained by napping was being negated anyway, you know what I mean?

(Parents: nodding. Non-parents: Bewildered expressions and shrugging.)

So for a while now we have been experimenting with no nap. And, it’s not terrible. She doesn’t seem to miss it, bedtime is a million times easier (she falls asleep mid-book, rather than after many, many, many minutes of back rubs and songs and lying with her in the dark.) She sleeps 13 hours at night now instead of 12, and when we have days where we are out and about, I admit, it is nice to just carry on, rather than experience the panic of looking at your watch and realizing “Oh shit! We need to get home so she can nap.”

I am trying to encourage quiet time in her room instead, because that’s the hard part of this whole equation. Without that 1-2 hour block of silence in the middle of the day, I am literally talking, and being talked to, for twelve hours straight. Questions. Instructions. Explanations. Voices for her stuffed animals Ralph, and Grey-y, her He-Man action figure, and her puppet, Seal. It’s non-stop. And lovely, of course. Ha! Fantastic! She’s so verbal and it’s great. Really. Charming, actually.

And also? Insane-making? Because it doesn’t stop? Ever? EVER.

Recently we’ve been talking about emotions. I’ve been trying to name them for her as I experience them so she can recognize them, and perhaps begin to do the same and express her emotions verbally like a human being instead of just angrily flinging objects at me like a tiny primate.

What this means is that I now have a tiny person peering in my face all day asking “Mummy happy?” at the slightest hint of a smile, and “Mummy sad?” when I take my medication, and recently in the produce market when I told her sternly that she was to keep her shoes ON, she asked, and then repeated about eleventy-nine times “Mummy frustrated? Mummy frustrated? Mummy FRUSTRATED?” on and on and on no matter how many times I answered, until everyone in the store was forced to look over at us and bear witness to the barefoot toddler and FRUSTRATED mummy.

The timing is interesting because not only was I under the assumption that kids napped until three or four (am I insane? Is this real, or just something I made up?) this is also my first month writing for Earth911, and I am still getting used to juggling this new workload. Nap time was my chunk of time in the middle of the day to sit, work on new posts, follow-up on emails, and just generally get things sorted out during regular business hours. I still have that time, but it’s at 9pm now, after Olive is asleep and I’m done cleaning up from our day. So it just requires a bit more planning and organization from me, and also some time snuck in fifteen minute increments here and there throughout the day.

I would like to point out, however, that I have no one but myself to blame for this recent turn of events. This is karma, pure and simple.

In Olive’s six-month update, I – idiot that I am- wrote this:

So basically naps=horrible and I might be the only mom ever to be counting down the days until she only has 2. Or 1. or NONE! Then we can hang out all day without this hell.

Ha! Hahaha! Hang out all day! 

HahahahahahHAHAHAHAHa. Oh my god, I was insane. That is a first-time mother, right there.

In all honestly, I’m OK.  I am relieved that bedtimes are so much simpler, I think it might be really cool to be able to take her out for full day excursions now – I mean without diapers or naps we are just two free and easy ladies ready to take on the town! All day museum visits, hours-long art gallery excursions….look out world, here we come!

(But also:  Dear Olive, if you ever decide that this whole staying-awake-for-twelve-hours-at-a-time thing is for chumps you just let me know and I can totally arrange a return to naps. No problem. No problem at all.
Love, Happy Mummy)

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  • Reply Emily Stapley October 22, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    I love your posts on motherhood the best– they make me laugh because I can relate (I also have a wonderful, willful toddler who never ceases to amaze and delight, and ocasionally FRUSTRATE!) and on this path we’re on, it’s nice to feel like we are all in it together. So thank you for that 🙂

  • Reply jamie October 23, 2014 at 1:21 AM

    i always think to myself… what are we evolutionarily adapted for? humans were capable of surviving and excelling before the modern world, before these perfectly crafted and silent (or white-noise-filled) environments. babies were historically jostled around all day, right? when kids are sleepy, they sleep through everything, it seems. or is it just that they’re not actually adapted to silence and stillness? from what little i know, i’m inclined to say, don’t try to force naps. if they’re meant to happen (by which i mean if the child’s body needs them), they’ll happen in the midst of all the goings-on, whatever they may be. granted, i am fairly well convinced that until a certain age little ones expect to sleep in direct physical contact ( with their primary caregiver and often to be in motion (why they always stir when you try to untangle from them, but will stay asleep in a sling/carrier thing while you do every last chore, but wake up as soon as you sit down, and why people are always using rocking motions to calm a little one or induce sleep). it seems strange to me that babies that nap in the daytime need to be rushed home to these artificially still and quiet and alone spaces. certainly in prehistoric times, momma didn’t quit digging for roots or talking and hooting with the other mommas in order to convince a little one to have a bit of sleep, now, please? and i’d suspect that prehistoric babies that cried a lot would get eaten, so it’s not likely they were using CIO back in the day, either. i am just convinced that little ones’ needs to be close and connect and momma’s needs to be doing productive stuff throughout the day can’t possibly be in as much conflict as we construe them to be in the modern world. of course, typing and staring at a screen *is* rather foreign to our genes… maybe like a cat that wants to lay across your keyboard, a toddler is incapable of believing anything truly important can possibly be going on between motionless you and that motionless machine (despite your insistence)? :

    and, from one hippie to another, can i ask… why are we adults so obsessed with covering babies’ feet (besides the fact that their teensy miniature shoes are SO adorable)? as surely as a dog wants to stick its head out the window of a car, a little one is going to want those foot coverings off much (most?) of the time. wouldn’t life be easier if we just accepted this state of affairs for the natural phenomenon it is, one that will pass as surely as their hair will grow? especially because, the more ways you let them decide for themselves how they want their body to look and feel and be carried, the more quickly they learn *how* to make good decisions about those matters and take healthy ownership of their body (esp. confidently setting healthy boundaries). plus, if they’re just going to be transferring from house to car to store, are they really outside long enough for their feet to freeze off? probably not. i say, let’s see more children, all wild and free and barefoot! it’s not like they’re going to walk barefoot in the snow; only out of a display of stubborn defiance does a kid voluntarily suffer. if they’re truly allowed the freedom to choose their foot covering situation, they’ll choose what feels best, and that’s just not going to be dangerous or harmful unless their nerve endings don’t function properly (and they almost certainly do in a kid so persnickety about foot coverings).

  • Reply Suzy October 23, 2014 at 6:26 AM

    I’ve been having similar debates about Amelie’s naps. The effort involved in getting her to sleep barely seems worth it some days and, like you guys, it means her bedtime gets pushed back. That said, I’ve decided to keep things flexible – some days she naps (if it suits and she’s tired) and sometimes we sail on through. Not gonna lie, I prefer to have that time to myself during the day, it makes me a better parent in the afternoon, but sometimes we keep on rocking and that’s cool too.

  • Reply aneasyworld October 23, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    Yup, the mancub dropped all naps ridiculously early too, whereas his cousin is three and a half and yes, still takes a good two hour kip every afternoon. I cannot even imagine. I went for a while of walking him around in the pushchair to get him to sleep, but when that started taking upwards of half an hour I called it a day. It is liberating having a non napper and being able to do whatever you like, but yeah, figuring out a ‘quiet time’ arrangement is more or less essential. I recommend audio books and a basic CD player that she can operate herself. With #2 I have vowed to cling on to naps for as long as humanly possible. They are the best.

  • Reply Natasha October 23, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Both mine stopped napping just after they turned two. At first it was hard, but then with bedtime being easier I got my evenings back, so all in all I prefer the no nap. Plus, number two was totally unpredictable with napping – one day she would go down at one time, the next day no dice, and so on and so on… I never knew when she would sleep and for how long, so once I got used to her not sleeping during the day at all, life became much more routine. Which I like. Love how with parenting it’s always a case of “it looks different when you get there” 🙂

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