Friday, March 19, 2010

quiet time

My boy-o is nearly three and a half, and lately, it's been a real struggle to get him to fall asleep at a normal time of the evening (ie. before 9 p.m.!).  So, I've been struggling and wrestling and wrestling and struggling with the idea of stopping the midday nap.  Because I LOVE the midday nap.  It is my only me-time.  I guard it selfishly, refusing to use it to tidy or do laundry or dishes or anything else resembling work.  It is the only time in the day that is mine and mine alone.  L. leaves for work at 7:15 a.m.-ish every morning.  She gets home at 5:45 p.m.-ish everyday.  It is then time for supper and dishes and bathtime and storytime and cuddle time etc., until about 9 p.m.-ish.   Then I talk to L. about her day and vice versa.  Then I drop to sleep by about 10 p.m.-ish, and will wake with one kid or the other up an average of 3 or 4 times per night.  So you see - I NEED that time.  NEED it.  Really, really NEED it.   Without it I might shrivel up and die.  Or get arrested for homicide.  You get the picture.

I know that other parents of non-nappers have instituted what's known as the midday "quiet time," where their wee beloveds are deposited in their rooms to quietly occupy theirselves.  I have my reservations about the feasibility of this option for my wee beloved, given his disdain for all things involving quiet and self-occupation - but I decide to try it anyways. 

The following is a play-by-play of today's "quiet time":

12:30 p.m. - I deposit Oliver in his room with a load of books and small toys and let him know that I am going to put his sister down for a nap and then come back to check on him.  I let him know that he needs to be resting and playing quietly.

12:33 p.m. - I've finished feeding Lucy and am rocking her to sleep.  "Mama!"  "Mama!"  "Mama!"  Oliver shouts to me from his bedroom.  "Mama!"  "Are you done yet?!"    I try ignoring him and hoping he'll go away.  I should know better.  The little voice gets less and less little as the minutes drag by. 

12:35 p.m. Since Lucy is clearly not going to sleep in the midst of her brother's cacophony, I put her down in the crib (wailing commences) and run to tend to her brother.  I let him know that it is not time to chat with Mama, nor will I be coming back to check on him again.  "It is time to play quietly, ON YOUR OWN."  I tell him sternly.

12:38  p.m.  Lucy wails herself to sleep in my arms and I put her down in her crib.  Walking past Oliver's room, I hear: "Mama?  Is quiet time over yet?"  I sit down at the kitchen table with my netbook (which I am currently typing to you all on), and let him know that I'm done talking with him and that I will come and get him when quiet time is over.

12:40 p.m.  "Mama!"  "Mama!"  "MAMA!!!!"   "I'm ALL ALONE!"   His voice is starting to sound like fingernails on a chalkboard.  How can I get it to stop? 

12:43 p.m.  "Mama?"  The voice is little and mournful now.  "Mama - Can I come out now?"

12:45 p.m.  "Mama?  I have to pee!"

12:47 p.m. (post pee break) "All done quiet time?" 

12:50 p.m. "Mama!"  "Mama!"  "I need SNUGGLE PUPPY!" 


12:55 p.m.  "Mama.  I'm very quiet.  Let's stop being quiet now!"

12:59 p.m.  The bedroom door starts swinging open and shut, my wee beloved hanging off of the knob.  I finally lose what was left of my frayed and tattered patience and use my homicidal voice.

1:05 p.m.   Clearly, my homicidal voice does not appropriately convey the depth of my murderousness.  The bedroom door starts swinging open and shut once again, my little dude now making silly faces and noises at me.   I have to laugh because if I didn't, I would be knee-deep in a puddle of frustrated tears.  Laugh so hard I feel like I'm going to throw up.

1:07 p.m.  "Mama - I don't like being alone."

1:09 p.m.  "Pssst!"  "Pssst!"  "Mama - I'm making the cat go away."  "Psssssssssssttt!"    I mentally make plans to buy an absurdly large bottle of wine later. 

1:10 p.m.  "Mama!  Mama!  I found a cookbook!  I know.  I've got a great idea.  Let's COOK SOMETHING!" 

1: 11 p.m. - "Can I come out now?!"

1:14 p.m.  I can't do quiet time anymore.  Quiet time is yucky, homicidal, badness.   Spring the child, while mentally counting down the hours, minutes and seconds until L. returns home from work.  Utter a small prayer to the gods of patience that I do not off the little sucker (aka my wee beloved). 

Oh naptime.  Why have you forsaken me? 


  1. T, I am totally with you on the necessity of the nap for me-time. My daughter, who is now 11, napped in the afternoon until she was almost 5, as I recall. We did do the quiet time routine for while at the end of that, as well, but she was an only child at the time and more chill about playing by herself. Not that you asked for my advice, but I'm going to give it anyway! :) If he WILL take a nap in the afternoon but it's keeping him up a bit later, I personally would probably keep him napping as long as I could, and put up with the later bedtime. At least you have L to help out with evening stuff so you're not dealing with it by yourself. I'd do just about anything to preserve that me-time though! :) Good luck with all of it. I feel you, sister! My LO is 15 months and transitioning from two naps to one...sigh.

  2. We dropped Cormac's nap at around 3 and it was hard! But I couldn't cope with spending my entire day putting people to sleep! We switched to an hour of tv time while F was napping, also I kick them outside during that time (not sure what yard options are like for you). If it's any consolation, this is right around the age where they become much more independant, soon you will be looking around for O and he will be off on his own playing quietly.

    Our kids go to bed at 7 and get up at 6 and only freya naps for around an hour, we are just to busy for much more. Is it possible for L to get up with O in the night?

    Anyway my only suggestion other than TV (ha!) is to get some really hot shit toys (new lego sets or plasterscene and bionicles are big here) and making those for quite time only. Also books on tape.

    Good luck, I tried quiet time and it didn't work for shit. In fact it would never occur to cormac to ask if it was over. Our quiet time consisted dof me holding the bedroom door closed while trying to put freya to sleep in a carrier on my back, whicle cormac screamed and gouged the drywall with any remotly shart piece of plastic he coudl find. Needless to say that didn't last long.

    Also althought the nap is glorious so is the 7 pm passout :)

    PS it does get better

    pps it took me a 45 min wrestling/screaming match to get cormac dressed today (turns out I cannot overpower my 4 year old enough to get pants on him even if i sit on his chest :( at which point I threatened to strap him into the car naked.

    ppps i would like to point out that i am highlighting the worst not the best of my parenting moments here.

  3. Sounds like Sasha's rest time!!! He is starting to get better though so stick with it...It's definately worth it. Sophia now almost automatically goes into her room right after lunch and plays quietly for an hour and if we happen to be out over that time when she gets home she'll take a rest time herself!
    Try stories on tape (hearing someone's voice helps Sasha not feel alone) and on the days when he just won't stay in I am not above bribery with special snacks!!!

  4. AGH! I am not alone in this craziness called "rearing children"!!

  5. I have no idea what planet kids who actually do quiet time come from!! I know that mothers everywhere will shudder but seriously stick him in front of the we speak 2 of my boys are watching a movie while the baby sleeps.

    My 3 oldest kids all gave up their naps at around 2 years of age but they also started going to sleep at 7:30pm. I cherish my me-time but I really love it when the kids go to bed early. Definitely worth giving up the nap in my opinion(not that you asked for it).