Why some animals eat their young...
There are only two things on this earth (at the current moment) that make me angry, one is stupid drivers and the other is my son when he won't take a nap.
Being a mom is really hard and quite taxing. I feed, change, clean up, correct, help, and love on my little ones all day from the second they wake up, and often times all night too. Come two o'clock or three o'clock in the afternoon, I need a break. I need to be alone for five minutes. I need my house to be quiet. I need everyone to stop crying. I need to enjoy coffee or iced tea or ice cream in peace, alone. I need to attend to my disaster of a house. I need to not have to say, "Please be nice to your sister" or "Please put on your clothes" one more time. I need to pee, ALONE.
My children both need naps, every single day. My chance for aloneness. My chance to recharge, read, watch TV or pay bills, alone... I put Annika in her bed, and she goes to sleep. I put Isaiah in his room, and every single day, for the last year and a half, he cries, whines, wants juice and has to poop AND FIGHTS taking an afternoon nap. Maybe he's over naptime and doesn't need to sleep, you may wonder, but his attitude tells me - every single day - that he still needs a nap.
I spent the last hour and a half trying everything in my power to get him to sleep. I tell him to lay down. I try to reason with him. I threaten him with timeouts and spankings. I tell him I'll give him a special treat. I ignore him. I tell him he needs sleep to grow big and strong. I say that I'll be back to check on him in five minutes. I tell him not to wake up his sister (who went to bed so easily). I tell him he will have to go to bed early. I tell him that everyone needs to sleep. I tell him his daddy will be home right after nap time. I try nice words. I try stern words. I try spanking him. I try the pointed finger with the half whispered words through pursed lips. And I am out of things to try. I want my son to get the sleep that he needs, and I'm sick and tired of fighting him to get it.
And I just want to be left alone. FOR FIVE MINUTES. (Or for the duration of nap time.)
I'm so incredibly frustrated about our nap time woes. I hear many people say that their child has never fought nap time. That I just need to make him sleep. Then I read that, in America, many of our diagnosed cases of ADHD are - in fact - kids who simply don't get enough sleep. I am trying everything in my power to get my child to sleep, but he is strong willed and doesn't want to take a nap. I remember when this all started, he would say, "I no take a nap." And though his language skills have greatly improved, his desire to take a nap has NOT CHANGED.
In fact right now, he's sitting in the kitchen half whining and half crying, "Mommy", over and over and over and over and over again. And I'm angry. (I probably shouldn't post this on the heels of my last post, all my readers will know I'm an awful angry mother...) But I'm having one of those days where I envision the "this is your brain on drugs" commercial, where they destroy the kitchen with a frying pan. I'm so beside myself with anger and frustrated feelings that I want to do that. I want to break something. But I actually really don't. I don't want to be so angry. I don't want to be so frustrated. I don't want to hurt my child or myself. But I still don't know how to get him to sleep.
It's true that most of the time he will take a nap or go to bed if John or I lay down with him. I'm not entirely opposed to it, and resort to this tactic often when my "wait five minutes for juice" tactic doesn't work. John used to be against it, but found that it's one of the only things that doesn't cause a huge fight at bedtime, so he changed his tune. I honestly want Isaiah to go to bed by himself, to be able to put himself to sleep. And I hesitate to lay down with him every day at nap time, because then he needs me (or John) to sleep. And maybe I'm just selfish. I want him to go to bed alone, so that I can have that extra half hour to myself. I want to do nothing and surf on the internet and Facebook stalk. I want to lay on the couch and potentially watch an episode of Law and Order, or even two in a row (unheard of!!) while my kids are sleeping. Or I want to do the ultimate in selfish behavior, I want to take a shower, without worrying that the kids are destroying something.
I just want a break. I need one. For my sanity. For my kids to have a good mom. Honestly, if Isaiah would just stay in his room, and be quiet while Annika sleeps and mommy gets her alone time, we'd be fine! But thus far, I haven't been able to get him to do the "quiet" part of the "quiet time". He always seems to need something or seems unable to be quiet when I ask him to be quiet. Oh, he's plenty quiet when he's up to something...
I joked to John the other day that I wanted to get a babysitter for every day from 2:30 until 5, so that I didn't have to deal with putting Isaiah to sleep and I could just go to Starbucks, alone. And then I admitted that it was just me shirking my responsibilities. It's up to me, as mom, to make sure my son gets the sleep he needs. But I'm failing.
Maybe I'm so overwhelmed by Isaiah's defiance at naptime, because I just don't have an answer. I can't make him do what I want. I haven't found anything (that I want to do and is best for Isaiah ultimately) that works consistently. Maybe I just need to get over my desire for a shower or Law and Order and continue to lay down with him. Everyday. Until he's 16. Well, hopefully it will end before then, but you never know!
And to end with proof that my son really is tired, and I'm not just trying to force the nap... Remember how I said he was in the kitchen crying and whining? Well, he fell asleep sitting there in the corner in the kitchen, right where I put him.
So, other mommas, tell me: What am I doing wrong? Tell me I'm not the only one going through this. And tell me what I need to do... Why am I so flustered? Why does this make me crazy? What should I do now?!? Do I need to change the Feng Shui of his room? Do I need to tell him different facts about sleep?