Such a strange turn of events...the one thing that maintains my sanity some days has become the culprit of some of the biggest stress in my life right now. Whouda thunk it? Yes, Carter's nap is ruining everything.
Jacob napped right up until the summer before he went to Kindergarten, when we had to stop having him nap at daycare, both because we wanted him to adjust to life without it and because he was staying up extra late with that second wind of energy. I think he had given it up at home much of the time by then, but for the most part naps lasted right up until he was five. We may have had a few periods before that where he stayed up late, but those phases were relatively short-lived because we never banned him from naps permanently until that summer. But now it looks like we may need to do that extra early with Carter. Granted, it's only been about a week, but he is taking things to the extreme right now and it is making us crazy.
Another culprit is his new big boy bed. I'm starting to think that part of the advantage of getting your kid out of a crib early is that they blindly believe you when you give them all sorts of threats about leaving the bed. They believe it and it just becomes habit. However, Carter is apparently old enough to have ideas big enough to overshadow consequences in his mind. We're having a heck of a time getting him to stay in bed. He's been up and down, turning the light on and off, grabbing toys and books, singing and yelling, having to visit the bathroom, and doing everything he can to stay awake. He was awake until 11pm one night, 11:30 another night, 10:30 last night, and possibly 10:30 tonight. I was up there at 10:15 when I heard him turn his light on, and gave him a stern warning to stay in bed. But unlike most times when he gets sternly warned, this seems to go in one ear and out the other. It's not like him to immediately ignore what you say and start doing it all over again (that is a page out of Jacob's book, however), but in this case, he's right back to his antics a few minutes after you walk out. The lure of freedom must be really strong. Even still, all I can figure is that his nap is suddenly just enough to keep him awake to do all of this.
Of course, in the morning he sleeps late. At daycare I think there is enough peer pressure to still get him down for a nap by 1pm, but at home on weekends, the late morning means he doesn't want to nap at his normal time. So he will screw around in his room for a couple hours, finally fall asleep at 3:30 right before I'm ready to release him from "rest time", and then sleep late. On Saturday he slept until around 5pm, which I knew was a mistake, but I got caught up in things and didn't get back up there earlier. On Sunday I fell asleep on the couch around 4pm, and when I finally regained full consciousness, I realized it was 5:30 and he was still sleeping! So of course he was up crazy late both of those nights. But even with earlier nap wake times during the week, he's still doing the late night thing. He's completely screwed up.
Of course, complicating this is that he is clearly not ready to ditch the nap. The last two times he skipped, he was falling asleep sitting up at dinner. It happened at my family Memorial Day picnic (which wasn't unexpected given the hot weather and all the running around he did), but then it happened again last week when he was home sick with Craig (the gooey eyes that led to a diagnosis of a slight ear infection). He didn't nap, and then we had to do everything in our power to keep him awake at dinner! He was siting there, chewing, with the heaviest eyelids. Poor kid.
The bright side is that since the nap is at least partially to blame for the lack of weekend activities lately, we may be released from that situation sooner than we thought. Carter goes down for a nap at 1:30, refuses to sleep until 3:30, then naps until 5:00, which effectively takes over the entire afternoon. We can't do anything else all day if we want Carter to sleep. It's right in the middle of the day, and we can't fit in anything else on either end. It's hard to fit things in the morning as it is (particularly with sports on Saturday and church on Sunday), and not everything we want to do is open in the evenings. So this is part of why we haven't had much fun lately.
In theory, ditching the nap should solve two problems--the late nights and the homebound afternoons. But it'll cause two others--a child who is a sleep risk from 4pm through 7pm, particularly if we drive anywhere (which could bring back the problem of the late nights); and the loss of my productive block of time on weekend afternoons. I'm not quite sure what to do about those issues right now, but we may not have a choice. For now I guess we have to stick with the status quo and see if this is just a phase, but if it's not, we need to be prepared to ditch the beloved nap. I never thought we'd have to part ways so early...but we shall see.
As a final side note, this is post #1,400! If I do some quick math, that averages out to one post every two days, which is pretty impressive! I've talked about an awful lot of parenting problems and shared a ton of memories over the past eight-plus years, and it's amazing this has gone on so long when so many other blogs have faded away. But I've said before that this is my therapy, a place to vent and talk through things, and apparently I still need that outlet, all these years later! I'm pretty sure life would be one big blur without it, too, so thank goodness for this priceless memory preserver!