Fatherhood Adventures

It appears my son is transitioning from two naps each day to one.

This change is not exactly being welcomed with open arms by his parents. That may sound a little odd, but we have come to relish the downtime of a kid nap. In fact, we have taken it for granted because it’s been this way for some time.

Over the last seven to eight months, we have been spoiled by his daily sleeping pattern. He has been a creature of habit and taking two, two-hour naps, one in the morning and another in mid-afternoon. This has been a wonderful routine.

What was commonplace only a few weeks ago is now rare. Over the last couple weeks, he has been averaging about one solid two-hour nap per day. Some days it’s shorter, other days it’s a tad longer. With a kid, no day is a carbon copy of another, and you just have to roll with what comes your way, even if it’s not ideal and not exactly what you have in mind. At least that’s how I look at it.

All the books say around the one-year mark is when parents can expect their little one to shift from two naps to one. However, as any parent knows who reads these books, there’s always a disclaimer to everything the author writes – it goes something like, ‘that being said, every child is different, so use your discretion and instinct, there’s no right or wrong approach.’ Either way, Beckett turns 16 months tomorrow, so maybe we have been lucky to be getting two naps this long.

According to these same books, it’s said the morning nap is the first to drop. That makes sense, but our experience has been he’s ready for the morning slumber, only a few hours after he wakes up in the morning, and resisting the afternoon rest. It’s strange. Common sense says he should want to stay up longer in the mornings since on most days he’s coming off 10, 11 or even 12 hours of sleep. That’s not been the case. He’s been ready to go down in the morning and fighting it in the afternoon.

Whatever the case may be, Pam and I are sad to see the twice-a-day naps going by the wayside. As a matter of fact, my wife prefers to not believe it. If it’s to be said that Beckett is fighting two naps every day, it should be mentioned Pam is refusing to accept this new transition. It’s understandable.

The fact is these naps are just as much about the parents as the kids. Chasing around and keeping a toddler safe from himself is arduous work. Like all kids his age, Beckett is into everything and craves stimulation. He knows only one speed and it can be exhausting. Consequently, long naps provide a much-needed hiatus and some time to catch up on other things or simply just relax and relish the peace.

Multi-tasking with a toddler is nearly impossible because with this abrupt change in sleeping patterns has come a surprising spike in energy level and stamina. I am constantly amazed at the motor on this little guy. It used to be easy to tire him out, but now he can roll (sometimes literally) for hours without a break.

If he does not get to run around and burn off some energy, he’s a bull in the proverbial china closet. It reminds me so much of a puppy. He needs to be active or he’s a loose cannon around the house. That’s why gloomy, rainy days make matters a little testy at times. There’s only so much that can be done inside and there’s no question he favors the outdoors. Reading a book or watching a video no longer does the trick.

The other day I took him to the park in his stroller. As soon as we got near the place, he must have sensed freedom. He immediately started to squirm and tried to wiggle his way out of the stroller to his own two feet so he could run anywhere he wanted. He worked himself right up into a good old-fashioned tantrum until I eventually got far enough away from the road and to a big patch of grass.

Off he went with reckless abandon with a wonderful smile and shrieks of excitement. He can switch from a miserable nightmare to a delightful boy in the flip of a switch. It seems his likes and dislikes are becoming much more prevalent these days, and that can be a good thing and a bad thing.

Like anything else on this parenting voyage, we are adjusting with the changes. My wife, again doing her best to overlook the fact Beckett may only need one nap a day, feels it’s important for him to rest in the afternoon even if he’s not going to sleep. In other words, Pam, who was under the weather, needed a little respite and far be it from me to question that.

Perhaps a short text message exchange sums it up best. As I often do, I shot her a text Tuesday afternoon from work curious if he was napping or not. He had gone the entire weekend without taking that afternoon nap, but we both thought it could have been because we were at the beach both days. She wrote back, “no”. A little short, needless to say, leading me to assume she was craving some personal time. I wrote back something along the lines of maybe we should start keeping him up past his morning nap and go for a long afternoon nap instead. Her response, “uh huh.”

I laughed to myself because I knew what she had to be thinking. ‘The nerve of this guy, there here he is sitting at a computer in a quiet office, drinking his green tea, arm chair quarterbacking.’

I decided later it would be best to not bring that up again anytime soon.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.