Have you ever deviated from your child’s nap time routine? I did once. It went a little something like this:
6:45 am: Wake up to find that Hazel is still asleep. I can’t believe it! Joy overcomes me. I’ll just close my eyes and enjoy the next 15 minutes before I go and get her up.
7:45 am: Wake up to hear Hazel cooing in her crib. Shit. Full panic mode. We are 45 minutes behind schedule. What is going to happen to her nap? Will she go to bed tonight? This is a total disaster.
8:00 am: While giving her a bottle I try to see the positive side of the situation. I tell myself to relax. Try to enjoy this, Laura. You WANT her to sleep remember? So what if you’re off track with the routine for one day. It will be fine. Just take your cues from Hazel- she can sleep when she’s tired. Why would you ever wake your child up in the morning?! That’s crazy talk. I find The Baby Whisperer and read up on how to be a relaxed, go-with-the-flow mom.
9:30 am: Screw that hippy bullshit. Things are starting to crumble. All I can think about is the fact that she is supposed to be asleep from 9:30 to 10. I literally cannot stop myself from looking at the clock and feeling the pang of regret over what I’ve done. She’s supposed to be sleeping right now. I must resist this powerful urge to put her down for a nap.
9:35 am: I’m going to put her down for a nap. I can’t stop myself. We have to try to get back on track.
(30 minutes of nap resistance)
10:00 am: It’s fine. I’m fine. She refused the nap, I knew that was going to happen. It will be ok as long as I stay calm. I’ll just put her down a little early for her afternoon nap. Sure, she’s a little crabby but I’ll take her out for a walk and some fresh air. I can do whatever I want because we have no routine today. I will embrace it.
11:30 am: I walk around with a bounce in my step, I am a cool, 21st century mom. I feel like other people can see what a flexible, progressive mother I am. They are impressed. I sign up for mommy and me yoga classes that take place right in the middle of her normal afternoon nap time. I won’t be constrained in a prison of naps! Everything is going to be a-ok.
12:00 pm: Shit. She fell asleep in the stroller without me noticing. SHIT. There is no way she will sleep for 2 hours in the stroller. What am I going to do? I begin to vigorously shake the stroller in a vain attempt to keep her asleep for as long as possible.
12:45 pm: Hazel wakes up. I am filled with fear and uncertainty as she stretches and smiles up at me. WTF are we going to do for the rest of the day? 45 minutes?! That’s doesn’t resemble either of her two normal naps. She’s definitely going to need more sleep but.. when? How much? How do people survive like this?! I hate myself so much right now. I immediately call to cancel the yoga classes. WTF was I thinking.
Spend the next two hours looking for any sign of tiredness. Run through every possible napping situation for the rest of the day twice in my mind, but am unable to make a decision about which is best.
3:00 pm: This is the time she normally gets up from her nap. With shaking hands and faint nausea, I take Hazel upstairs in hopes that she will sleep. I feel completely out of control. Anxiety is at an all-time high. She falls asleep and I go downstairs, pour myself a glass of wine to calm my nerves and spend the next hour contemplating how long she should sleep and what this will mean for the rest of the day and, even more concerning, bedtime.
4:00 pm: She has never been asleep this late in the day. Panic has set in, the baby books are out and I am in full research mode. After pacing nervously in front of her room for 15 minutes, I finally build up the courage to go in and wake her up.
She is angry. This is the worst day of my life.
4:30 pm: Hazel has calmed down considerably and is playing nicely. I start to relax and believe that it is possible to deviate from the nap schedule. I decide to reevaluate whether or not mommy and me yoga would be possible.
5:00 pm: I am in hell. Everything sets her off. She had a tantrum when her blocks toppled over (she hit them with a stick), when I put my hair in a ponytail and when I wouldn’t let her lick the dog. I curse myself for allowing this to happen. Yoga is out of the question.
5:30 pm: I set fire to “The Baby Whisperer”
5:45 pm: Finally, it’s (kind of) bedtime. I do all of the bedtime activities as slowly as possible so that I can start them earlier. Hazel is an absolute monster, I am afraid of her.
7:00 pm: She goes to sleep without any drama. Once downstairs, I fire up my computer and begin researching whether or not one day outside of the normal routine will impact a child’s sleep. I vow to never again sleep in or deviate from the nap schedule.
—The Next Day—
7:45 am: Oh shit.