Jessica asleep with book

Naptimes keep me sane.

Lack of naptimes…well, let’s not dwell on their effect just yet. I’m determined that my children will nap most days until they are at least in pre-school / nursery, preferably beyond (because pre-school / nursery will wear them out, right? Right?)

Sometimes it’s nice to get some parenting advice and I’d love to be able to offer some on this most frustrating of subjects, but unfortunately, determination does not necessarily equate to success and so I only really feel equipped to offer advice on the following parenting skill: preventing napping.

How to prevent your children from napping:

  • When your extremely tired toddler is very nearly asleep – eyes closed, arms still, breathing regular – decide they must be cold and attempt to place a warm duvet over them. Do not wait a few more minutes for them to actually fall asleep. Do not gently place a nearby blanket over them. Instead, wrench a corner of duvet from under their little head. See their eyes snap open. Watch in dismay as they scramble to their feet, grab the bars of their cot and wail as if you just stepped on a limb. (An already bruised and battered limb.) Attempt to tuck them in while murmuring soothing words of encouragement. Fail because child has turned into an octopus. Swear. Remember vow not to swear in front of children. Retreat to another room. Listen to them chatter to themselves for the next hour before getting them up again. (Ideally at this point they will finally be showing signs of sleepiness like lying down, rubbing eyeballs etc..but, of course, of course, it is now too late for them to start napping if you want to put them to bed on time. Which you do. You really, really do.)
Woohoo! A napping child.

Woohoo! A napping child.

  • Meanwhile, get some new neighbours. Get the new neighbours to erect scaffolding and do drilling at the *exact* moment you walk the pushchair containing a sleeping baby down the driveway. Take the (now crying) baby inside and bribe it with some milk to stop it disturbing the toddler. Attempt to soothe baby back to sleep amid noise of sporadic drilling and the clink of scaffolding poles being thrown onto the ground. Ignore all good Naptime routine rules and instead attempt to feed baby into coma. Succeed. Place baby in crib. Attempt to creep out door. Hear toddler shriek in excitement. Retrieve suddenly wide awake baby.
"Tired? Me? Nope."

“Tired? Me? Nope.”

  • Give up entirely. Place children on sofa, switch on Fireman Sam and make a cup of tea. Pretend to self that children will go to bed early because they’ll be so tired. (Haha.)
Not napping.

Not napping.

  • Spend afternoon mollifying two increasingly grouchy children and wondering at what point it becomes acceptable to drink wine. Lots of wine. Remember you don’t currently drink (much) due to the joys of breastfeeding. Eat chocolate instead. Do this in secret because the toddler now knows what chocolate is and even the baby has some idea. Vow to do better tomorrow. Look forward to bedtime – theirs and yours. Wonder how early you can get away with starting bedtime routine. Poke toddler so he stays awake during dinner. Poke baby so she stays awake during toddler’s dinner. Decide to delay bedtime slightly so husband can share in joys of putting overtired children to bed.
Is it wine time yet?

Is it wine time yet?

And there you have it. If you too would like to experience the joy of dealing with a cranky toddler and a grumpy baby at the same time, I highly recommend you follow some version of the above. Just make sure there’s wine ready for post-bedtime relaxing.

Ready for bed and butter wouldn't melt in those cheeky mouths.

Ready for bed and butter wouldn’t melt in those cheeky mouths.