Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Naps Were Precious To Me

Not mine (I rarely am able to nap), my children's. Having both girls go down for a nap every day meant I had a little bit of "me" time. Time when I could clean, sew or have a chance to read the Bible without interruption. A few weeks ago that all changed. I had been fighting Heidi for two or three hours every night at bed time.

You must realize this is a child who has NEVER needed much sleep. While pregnant with her I wondered if all babies moved as much or as constantly (I found out with Hannah they don't) and used to asked Karl if our baby would ever sleep. When she was born I found out she didn't - at least not much. Therefore, until around a year ago, her bed time was anywhere between 12:00 and 1:30 am. There were a few times when I would give in to peer pressure - all those other parents looking down their noses at us, saying, "surely that can't be good for her" - and put her down at a "normal" bedtime of, say, 8:00 or so. Right on schedule, six or seven hours later, she would be up, not crying, but RUNNING back and forth in her crib and giggling. I like my sleep. I would switch back to putting her to bed at midnight and getting up at 7:00 instead of 2:00 or 3:00.

All that to say that when I couldn't get her to go to sleep at bed time I started to realize a change was needed. She knew she was to stay in bed (except to use the bathroom which she would do twenty times an hour in an effort to see what I was doing -usually trying to go to bed myself), but she would come up with incredible excuses to call me back to the bedroom. Often I would hear tears (she's a great actor folks) and go to check on her. She would be sad , "because my friend died". "That is sad", I would respond, "which one." To which she would emotionally choke out "Toma" or some other such name she had made up on the spot. She was "scared" of all the scary lions and bad wolves in her room, but once I realized I had authority over them, I would tell them all to leave the room before she even though to call me back to do so. I thought I had that licked until one night when she called me to inform me, "Momma, there's a HIPPOPOTAMUS in my room". Hmmm.
All this and I still didn't want to give up naps. When I realized how much I (not just her) was dreading bedtime every night and that it often was reducing me to tears, I finally surrendered. Heidi no longer takes naps, and she is a happy girl. She goes to bed within a couple minutes of being tucked in every night with no complaints and no excuses. It's wonderful. Except that I no longer have any alone time during the day. I try to enforce a quiet time with her, but Heidi is a chatterbox and very social. If there's someone in the same room she has to talk. When I finally get through to her that Momma needs a bit of time where I don't have to answer questions or listen to prattle, she'll start talking to herself. Not much help. So, without naps now, when do I sew? When do I clean and organize? When do I pay bills? When do I blog? When do I fit in a quiet time? I know I'll find a way sooner or later, but for now I feel a bit disjointed. I'm sure you other mothers out there have experienced this. Any advice you have to offer would be appreciated. Or, maybe I should just forget about getting anything accomplished and hire a maid. At least I can go to bed when I want to now.


  1. I like the hiring a maid idea.
    I am totally impressed. I had no notion of just what caliber Heidi was! I haven't had any quite like that - the closest is Zachary and it's a different kind of intense. He has always driven me. He's a driver (which I think will be an amazing quality and asset if I am a wise mother in all my mothering career).

    I think you will find a way Shauna, but some of the best words I've heard are along the lines of "this is a season..."
    Whether it's a season of not knowing what to do,
    of finding a new time for your alone time,
    of finding another outlet for your creative spark,
    or a season to put away the sewing machine for awhile (I know, *SOB*).
    Not necessarily the words you want to hear, but it can be very freeing to realize that this too will pass, and it's okay to do things a different way for a while.

    I'll be praying for you. You need that rest when assembling a new baby!

    Love you,

  2. "Intense" is a good word, 'Lene. My mom is often telling me she's the most intense child she's ever met - what a comfort! As you say, though, I know God can use that for His glory. I just pray for wisdom to know how to direct it.
    I also agree that realizing this is a season is probably the best way to go. I'm just trying to figure out how to best function in this season. Probably by the time I do that, we'll be on to the next. Right?
    I'm thankful, too, that Heidi is getting to the age where she can be of help to me. She loves to scrub the toilet bowl while I'm cleaning bathrooms and will spend a good fifteen minutes doing so - I don't know when I've been so dilligent at that task!
    Thankyou so much for your prayers and encouragement, I appreciate it!
    Love, Shauna

  3. Oh Shauna! How I feel your pain! I know this is a difficult season, but I also know it won't last least I'm hoping not (LOL). With Nathan, he quit naps at about 2 yrs. I was very sad about that, but I insisted he have a "quiet time". He spends an hour in his room or in the basement (with toys). This has been very difficult at times to keep to. HE is a social chatterbox too. If I remove myself from his presence he still talks to himself but at least I don't have to concentrate on it ;) If she's having trouble for an hour, I would just start out at 15 min's and gradually work it up. I know it will take some time and patience, but she will get used to it. All the kids expect to have quiet time from 1pm to 2pm everyday that they are home. We are all happier for it. I will be having to stop naps with Hannah very soon. We are fighting her at bedtime EVERY night except those that she does not nap on. I am NOT looking forward to this adjustment either. If you have to, put a gate on her bedroom door so that she can't get out but you can see in to make sure she's ok. That's my plan. Hope you can get it worked out. I used to get out the vacuum just to keep Nathan occupied...I get it! :) Keep your chin up, Mommy! You're doing a good job!