I knew it was going to happen one day. I thought there’d be a build up to that day. I thought it would mainly be her choice than ours. That day came. It was our choice. It was a tough one, but something had to be done. And now…
The nap is no more!!!!!!!
Yep, at 2.5 years old, Ella no longer naps.
It started before Christmas, when sleep deprivation was really starting to come to a head for me. I was struggling. Struggling with anxiety, low mood, lack of interest in anything, and all the other lovely things that sleep deprivation brings. The problem wasn’t just Sienna, and that in itself was the problem. There were nights that I went from one room, to the other, back to the other. Because Ella was struggling too. She would wake and, some nights, be awake for a couple of hours. She wouldn’t want to be on her own. Yet, if she got in our bed, she would want to play and would wriggle around, uncomfortable that she couldn’t sleep. And she’d be noisy, which would inevitably wake Sienna.
She was also struggling to get to sleep in the evening. After a full on day with both girls, I would crave the evening, when I could have some peace and quiet, and a bit of time to me and Sean before bed. But Ella was resisting bedtime. She’d go to bed, then cry and shout for us, and ask to come downstairs. Where she used to go to bed around 7pm and be asleep by 7.30pm, she was staying awake until 9pm and sometimes later. I was often going to sleep at the same time as her.
About a week before Christmas, there was one night when she fell asleep on the sofa about 6.45pm, was carried up to bed, and then slept all night. It was on a day when she didn’t nap. The next day was a nursery day, where she never naps, and the same happened again.
So, we realised, it was time to wave goodbye to the nap!
I definitely dreaded Ella dropping her nap, as it was the only space I had in the day to get stuff done. Be it some business work, a bit of blogging, sorting something out in the house, or catching a few z’s myself if I’d had a particularly bad night the night before. So, I was reluctant to let it go. She was still sleepy in the day at nap time. She still could have been pushed in to a nap.
But the impact on the night time meant something had to be done. So, at naptime, she didn’t go for a nap. I’ll be honest, it’s been a real struggle most days to keep her awake. There have been days that she has fallen asleep on the sofa while I’ve been upstairs settling Sienna for a nap, or fallen asleep in the car. And, on those days, the issues have returned. She’s been awake late and waking in the night. So, I have to battle as soon as I see those eyes start to droop, or I have to quickly get some sugar in her!!!
The upside has been that bedtime with her is a doddle. She generally can manage to last until 7pm now, though in the first few days she was asleep by about 6.30pm. Generally, she starts to nod off as I’m reading to her. If she doesn’t, she’s asleep within minutes of me leaving the room. There are no fights, no arguments, no up and down the stairs. An evening back to being just us. And I’d definitely rather have that than an hour during the day and no evening.
The night time has mostly been better too. She has still woken a fair few nights, but it’s a simple case of telling her to go back to sleep, and she does straight away. I think a lot of it is related to her having a cold, as she’s been much better the last couple of nights, and not woken at all, since her cold has gotten better. It means I’m getting more sleep too. And, thankfully, Sienna’s sleep has also improved. Things just seem so much better now that sleep is occurring!
When Ella was napping, our afternoons were pretty set around her nap. But we now have a bit more freedom. While I still feel a little led by Sienna’s naps, as she prefers to sleep in her cot, I know that she can nap in the car or in the pram if need by. So it gives us the freedom to be out and about all day. I would rule out agreeing to doing things in the afternoon, as it would depend on what time Ella went to sleep and woke up. Now we’re not restricted, and have a lot more flexibility in our day.
And, I get more one-on-one time with Ella, while Sienna is napping, as Ella would usually nap at the same time as Sienna having her longest nap. It’s nice to get a bit more time, where I’m not holding Sienna, or trying to please her too.
So, it’s not all as bad as I thought it would be. And, missing that hour is more than made up for by gaining back the evening and at least a little more sleep!