An End of an Era: Mourning the Loss of Nap Time

end of elsie napping

It is an end of an era. We are officially swimming in uncharted waters. Elsie has said “so-long” to nap time. Abruptly. Whole-heartedly. Exuberantly. Like everything else she does in life.

I say these are “uncharted waters” because Zoe, at four-and-a-half, has yet to give up her nap. The girl loves to sleep. Each afternoon, she usually does quiet time from 12pm-1ish. Usually, by 1pm, she’s coming down the stairs, asking (yes, asking) to be tucked in for nap because she’s tired. She’ll then sleep for a solid two hours. And then turn around and go to bed at 7:30 and not wake up until 7:30 the next morning (minus the nightmares, which is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish). In fact, even our decision to send her to kindergarten part-time (which is an option at our school) was largely based on the fact that she still needs her nap. (Side note – Zoe can make it through the day without napping. She can do a couple of days in a row, in fact. By day three, though, she is usually asking for nap time or requesting to go to bed at 6pm.) I realize now how spoiled I was.

Elsie has, for most parts, been a great sleeper as well. In fact, she will still take a nap. If I put her down at noon, she won’t wake until 3. (Let me tell you, having three hours to myself every afternoon has been bliss.) The problem lies in her night time sleep. If she has a nap (it doesn’t matter if it’s 3 hours long or half an hour) she will be up at night until 10:30pm, usually singing “Frosty the Snowman” at the top of her lungs. While I value my “me-time” during nap time, I much more value my adult time in the evening….without the musical accompaniment of cheesy Christmas carols. So. Yes. It’s the end of an era.

There is so much that I’m going to miss about nap time. Nothing quite can replace that feeling of closing the girls’ bedroom doors, gliding down the stairs, flipping the switch on the coffee maker, smelling a fresh pot brew, all while reading a book. Or even the fact that nap time was the time when I got stuff done. That’s when the house got cleaned, food got made, laundry got folded.

Mostly, I think I’m scared of losing myself again. It’s only been in the last six months or so that I feel like I’ve come into my own as a Mum. Having nap time provided me with the occasion and space to say “no” to the to-do list and heal my identity through much needed self-care. Now I’m going to have to be a better steward of my routines either in the morning or the evening to make room for the things that give me roots as an individual.

In the same breath, though, I feel like a whole new world is potentially opening up to me. A world where we can be far more spontaneous as a family. Where we can go for a Sunday afternoon hike after church, or pack a picnic and go to the beach for the day. I don’t have to cram my errands into the first couple hours of the morning. Or I don’t have to say “no” to the library program I’ve been wanting to sign Elsie up for because it happens at 2pm. We have the opportunity for lazy mornings, not being concerned about things getting done before everyone gets cranky. There’s so much less scheduling.

I’m hoping to ride that wave of positivity on the days when I feel like I’m never getting a break from clingy arms, snotty noses and the “Mummy, come play with me.” But, for now, for tonight, I’m going to have a moment of silence to commemorate an era that has suddenly been pulled out from under my feet. Never mind. The silence has been broken. I’m pretty sure I hear someone upstairs singing about a “corn cob pipe and a button nose and two eyes made out of coal.”

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