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Short naps, fights bedtime at 2.5, but clearly tired!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

How do I get my 2.5 year old, A, to SLEEP MOAR without, you know, adding hours to the day? Here is our typical day, and perhaps I could get some advice as to what we could try.


230am: Wakes to nurse. His bed is pushed up against ours to make a super bed. He climbs over my husband, who then rolls onto his bed. Nurse back to sleep.


630am: Wakes to nurse, but it's the hungry kind, as he switches back and forth and is very restless.


7am: Gets up with my husband, eats breakfast and watches TV while my husband gets ready for work.


8am: I get up and pout on the couch over my breakfast (I think I need to take up a caffeine habit), which I share with A. 


9am: A asks to nurse, could curl up in my lap for hours. I usually cut it off around 15 minutes and get up to start getting dressed, etc.


930-10am: Try to get A dressed and ready to go, but it's a big fight. He is already acting tired at this point. So behaviors such as ignoring me and "wrong kind of attention" behaviors. TV usually goes off at this point (I am very open to tips on how to be a morning parent, I don't like using TV, but holy hell, I find it very difficult to crash racecars that early in the morning) because he's not listening to me.


1015am: Finally leave the freaking house to whatever activity, be it errands or playdate or what have you.


1130am: Is showing his need for a nap with more difficult behaviors, like not playing nice or ignoring me again, or losing it over something minor.


12pm: Goes down quickly and easily for a nap, which includes nursing in his bed.


1pm: AWAKE, after nursing through the entire nap.


130pm: Lunch, he doesn't eat much, prefers to play.


230pm: Finally convince A to get some pants back on and go do something, usually a park or a walk or working in the yard or having friends over.


5pm: I start making dinner.


530pm: Starts whining that he wants to nurse.


545pm: My husband arrives home and does his best to entertain him until dinner, but A usually engages in those same tired behaviors from earlier.


6pm: Dinner!


630pm: He either plays a bit or has a bath.


7pm: Potty, pj's, snack and books, brush teeth, nurse.


8pm: THE FRENZIES!!! I swear his eyes roll back in his head and he becomes possessed by the devil. He doesn't want to be rocked, but if we put him down he runs around and jumps on the bed. He hits and kicks my husband, asks for everything under the sun (turn white noise on, turn white noise off, close door, open door, now a snack, now some water, now a song, etc. etc. etc.) laughs maniacally, arches his back, spins his head around 360 degrees... Well anyway. We stay with him, we leave him alone (he just comes out, he has never fallen asleep without company and very rarely without being held), we throw our hands up and walk away, we hand him back and forth for sanity breaks...


845pm: Usually at this point everyone is fried enough that at least one of us is crying. Usually it's him, because usually he will konk out after crying a bit on my husband's shoulder. He's crying for me, but if I go in there he goes back into playtime mode.  


9pm: Husband emerges from bedroom questioning WHY we are trying for #2. 


General information: He grazes throughout the day but eats the most in the morning and while I'm making dinner. On weekends when I'm at work, he fights his naps with my husband but ends up sleeping ~2 hours. He is not any easier to get to bed on those days because the fighting means his nap starts way later than it would with me. No matter what time he goes to bed, he always gets up at 7am. I read "Sleepless in America" and we tried all of her tips for awhile about keeping the exciting stuff in the morning and the more boring stuff in the afternoon, but it didn't help. We ended up fighting a completely awake toddler instead of an overtired one. Where is the happy medium!?


Now, after writing all this out it kind of seems that he's ready for a nap in the late morning, and ready for bed at dinnertime. How the hell? Do I try to accommodate this ludicrous schedule or try to tweak it, and if so, how?

post #2 of 5

I feel you... sounds a lot like my 2 yo ds.  Our most common naptime is 11 am, but sometimes, like yesterday,  it was 9 am!  I always feel so alone, going to morning playdates when everyone else's toddlers are fresh and rested and my guy wants to nurse the entire time.  


My son also nurses down for nap, but I can sneak away for the first hour.  At that point he wakes up and and go lay down with him and nurse constantly for about another hour.  Maybe you could try something like that?  For us there seems to be this weird thing where he wants to nurse constantly, but really actually sleeps better when he is not, so that first hour is key.


The other thing that comes to mind could be an earlier bedtime, before the frenzies kick in.  But I know that is much easier said than done.


For a while I wondered about anemia, but ds was just screened and is fine.  I personally think it's teething in our case, which seems to be happening more than 50% of the time.  Have your son's two year molars come in yet?


Anyways, I'm looking for solutions too, so I'll keep watching this thread!

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Yeah, he's had his molars for awhile. I know what you mean about 9am naptime! Just yesterday he was already acting overtired (I feel like most days we skip tired entirely and just go straight to overtired) at 9am. Finally got him out the door at 930 and he crashed in the car and slept until we'd arrived at our destination - an hour away. Then dozed on and off on the drive home at 2pm.


I've been trying more and more to "escape" from naptime. I figured out why I was having such a hard time sneaking away without waking him. It's because we usually fall asleep at the same time (I like a nap, too!), and by the time I woke up (thirty minutes into his hour nap), it was too late to sneak away without waking him. So today I "broke the seal" and tiptoed out within five minutes of him falling asleep! I hope he naps longer today, even though it's already so late for a nap (1pm, but he'd been having the overtired frenzies since 9am again today, and today is the day we babysit a friend of his so his nap has to wait)), but his friends are coming over later and they always wear each other out, so maybe he won't be up until 10pm. 


He was asleep from 8pm to 7pm last night, and only woke up once to nurse. But he was overtired at 9am already!? Right now, I know he's growing and probably needs a lot of sleep. He's been eating NONSTOP for a few days. I just wish I knew how to teach him to flip the switch from awake to asleep so he could get the rest he so clearly needs. My friend is always sending me pictures of the funny places/situations her kids fell asleep. Like playing in a pile of toys or reading a book on the couch or leaning on an ottoman (!!!). And I am like... huh. Mine has never just fallen asleep. He is forced to sleep. He fights the good fight until the very last second. He is either in arms or in the car. Every. Time. Do kids just... fall asleep!?


I was talking to my friend about toddler sleep the other day and I asked her how long it takes her three year old to start revving up again after he gets tired. Like, how long is his window before he gets a second wind. And she was like "What do you mean? When he's tired, he stays tired until he falls asleep." MUST BE NICE. Hahaha. 


Um anyway so I have nothing new to report except that I am giving the solo nap a try in the hopes that he gets more rest at naptime, thus making bedtime easier, thus making nighttime last longer. 

Edited by Narzisse - 5/23/13 at 10:45am
post #4 of 5
What you said in your last paragraph was exactly what I was thinking. I think he's just ready to sleep earlier than you'd expect. I would personally try to bump his bedtime by at least an hour. My DD is also pretty lousy at sleep, and has a "stuck" wake up time (just after 6). She no longer naps, but is asleep by 6:30 or do most nights. With a 40 minute nap, bedtime was still about the same. I cook at 4:30, give her dinner at 5, then eat with her dad at 7:30. Works for us smile.gif
post #5 of 5

I am not a morning mom, and I sympathize!


I was also going to suggest that he is not getting deep enough sleep at naptime while nursing, and to try to break that habit.  But you've connected that already.


I also wonder about allergies.  I mean, it doesn't sound inappropriate for his age--they know full well about sleep and can be uncomfortable with it and big enough to fight it.  But the tiredness and crankiness sounds so much like my dd1.  She had a severe dairy allergy from the get-go, but later developed other allergies--one severe and its main symptom was moodiness and tiredness.  Just something to keep in mind.  Sometimes other symptoms are more obvious in hindsight.


As far as being the morning momma--yikes.  My girls are 6.5 and 8 and I am still trying to figure this out (we homeschool.)  I limit the morning videos, and I try to do something quiet, like stitching if the girls are playing on their own, or playing a board game with them, or working a puzzle.  That might get your brain moving better than more videos.  Or take a slow walk around the garden with your coffee and in your jammies (this works best if you actually have a yard orngtongue.gif.)  Getting out of the house--boy that takes me back.  Phew!  and not in a good way, either!  No advice there, but, BTDT!

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