Posted by: Hannah | 08/02/2011

rock a bye baby

Oh my, the first day back after vacation is something else. Most of my dayhome kids nap every day while they’re here – although their parents tell me they don’t nap at home. I believe this because we had the same problem with Thing #1 when he was in full time daycare… we used to have to shut the house down on weekend afternoons to get him to nap. But we always did, because it was a small price to pay for a happy, rested child.

Many of my parents don’t agree with that philosophy. Because it’s the weekend, and they are spending two full days with their kids for the first time all week, they have a tendency to sacrifice naps on the altar of Quality Time and Fun Family Activities ™, pictures optional. Again, I get it. It makes Mondays a bit of a nightmare, usually – but it’s part of the routine now, and I’m used to it.

But holy shit, today. TODAY. I haven’t seen the kids for ten days. Which means some of them haven’t napped regularly (or at all, in one sadly obvious case) for nearly two weeks. Tired is not the word. Balls-up exhausted beyond all reason or rationality might be a better way of putting it.

My quiet kid won’t nap for his parents. They don’t adjust his bedtime accordingly. And he is an early riser. Today, he has black circles under his eyes. He’s unfocused. He keeps dropping whatever he’s playing with to lie down on the floor. I daren’t put him down for a nap just yet, because I’m trying to restore his schedule, but as soon as lunch is over that little fellow is going to find his sleepy butt in bed.

The toddler almost fell asleep over morning snack. When he’s overtired he needs to fuss to sleep, and from the nap room now I hear him whining, half-asleep, so sleepy he didn’t have the energy to chew Cheerios but still irate at finding himself plopped in bed at his usual morning naptime for a bit of rest.

And the four year old, who still naps for three or more hours every afternoon thanks to very unhealthy sleep habits at home, keeps flopping onto the furniture and curling up into the fetal position, face white.

I’m looking ahead now to when I reopen after the baby is born. One week is all I’m closing for. ONE WEEK. But then I think about having five overtired kids, one infant, one six year old with the post-holiday hangover, and me. And I wonder what in the name of god I was thinking.



  1. I see this all the time. And I honestly don’t get why some parents don’t appreciate the value of their kids sleeping. I mean, you’d think the difference between a tired kid and a well-slept one would be patently obvious.

    My view is more cynical: Some people don’t want to interrupt their schedules in order to have to stay home all afternoon with a sleeping kid.

    Hey parents! It’s part of your JOB.

  2. When the kids come to me that exhausted, I write the day off for outings, and we have a catch-up-on-sleep day. That might mean a child drops off at 8:30 in the morning and doesn’t wake until 1:30 in the afternoon, or someone who normally naps for 90 minutes in the afternoon gets three hours. So be it.

    Were I to be entirely selfish, I’d have to admit don’t mind my Quiet Mondays at all… but the poor kids!

  3. Poor tykes!

  4. I don’t mean to be preachy but I JUST dont buy it that most kids dont “need” naps…b/c my experience is also that most of them do….you just need to figure out how to make it work for them.

    Felix is 3.5 and still naps several days a week…not always, but several. And it NEVER interrupts his nighttime sleeping. He goes to daycare 2 days a week where he doesn’t nap….and it ALWAYS means that we have to adjust accordingly for the next two days (allow for longer sleeping, quieter house for naptime, etc…) It’s not always easy…and it’s rarely convenient….but he is happier AND healthier when we make time for his nap, even if it means cutting out an activity.

    When Felix was an infant…I remember friends practically boasting that their kid was a “nighthawk” and that they loved watching late night tv with their kid….those same kids STILL have messed up sleep schedules and their parents don’t find it quite as funny anymore. There’s nothing cool about having exhausted and cranky kids….nothing at all.

  5. Oh, yuck. We regularly have cranky Mondays (I’m a nanny), but when it was getting bad I pointed it out to Mom a few times. Thankfully she is a gracious and smart mama who listened and tried much harder to make weekend naps a priority. It’s not perfect, but it’s better. The problem now falls when Dad thinks 8:15 is a fine bedtime when the youngest’s magic bedtime number is clearly 7:45. I heard Mom telling him that it didn’t matter if 30 minutes seemed insignificant because there was a clear correlation between happy mornings and a 7:45 bedtime so watch the clock! I’m grateful for the big naps I see from everyone on Mondays, but so sorry you have these exhausted little ones.

  6. Secret? I try to be really non-judgmental, but I JUDGE THE HELL OUT OF THOSE PARENTS.

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