DD recently gave up her pacifier with a little help from us and now naps are getting progressively worse. Today was so bad I was literally seconds from grabbing the pacifier we had hidden in case it didn't work out. I'll take any advice I can get - for her sanity and my own please!
A little background - I have always nursed/rocked DD to sleep for naps and night. When she weaned from nursing at 2, I would lay down with her at night to get her to sleep. For naps, she would fall asleep in the car on the way home from preschool (with her pacifier).
Now that the pacifier is gone she doesn't even act tired after I pick her up. We get home and she wants to play a game, watch TV, have a snack (even though she eats lunch JUST before I pick her up), etc. I have been going along with it because honestly, I am starving as I don't eat lunch before I get her. And I know that the nap time thing can take up to an hour so I let her choose a game or activity while I eat. I remind her the whole time that in a few minutes she will have to put it away and take a nap, etc. We even start in the car by talking about what we will do when we get home, what we will do after the nap and on and on. But each day it gets harder and harder to talk her into her room for her nap. It always turns into her yelling at me, "being mean" to me, etc.
I would be totally fine with rocking her to sleep (though don't get me wrong - I'd love for 1 day to experience what my friends all have and put her down awake and leave the room) - but sometimes I feel like I have to hold the rocking hostage in exchange for her not yelling/hitting/being defiant about napping. So I will tell her to lay down because she's being defiant and I don't enjoy spending my time with someone who treats me that way and it just turns into a screaming match. Too often than I care to admit, I end up raising my voice even though I hate to, but I just get to a point where I don't know how to deal with it. I realize my yelling is just an issue I need to learn to manage, but how can I avoid the disaster that leads to me wanting to yell at all?
FWIW, I *think* she still needs the nap but I could be wrong. She seems pretty cranky when she skips it. And she doesn't always sleep enough at night. She usually sleeps for 2ish hours and once she does calm down enough to get in my arms and rock, she falls asleep within minutes. I'd love tips on getting to the rocking peacefully, and then someday falling asleep in her bed . . . alone, etc. but I keep writing that off as something that will come with age - am I crazy?
honestly, probably what you don't want to hear, but it sounds like she is ready to drop the nap. My DS did a similar thing just before he turned 2 so we stopped putting him down for a nap, and put him to bed 2 hours earlier, and it worked like a charm. it took him about a week or two to get used to it, he was pretty grumpy in the afternoon at first. but now it works well-- i don't have to fight with him for a nap and he goes to bed around 7 (and takes less than 5 minutes to fall asleep most nights).
eta: before we dropped the nap, it was taking me 20-30 minutes of fighting him in the rocking chair to get him to take a nap, then he'd sleep for 45-60 minutes and be up.... and it would take 30+ minutes to get him to go to sleep at night and he was up until 9:30-10 (and he wakes at 6 AM regardless) each night. and the last week or so he has started going to sleep BY HIMSELF in his bed alone
Catie - Happy wife to Aaron (01.05), mama to Liam(08.08), and Ian (11.10)! and due Feb 2013 with blessing #3!
All four of my kids stopped napping around their 2nd birthday, so it could just be that she is ready to give up her nap. Without the pacifier to soothe her to sleep as she is used to, it has got to be hard to calm down and fall asleep - maybe now she is realizing she really isn't that tired.
Whether or not she stops napping now or later on, there will likely be a transition period where she is grumpy and tired, especially in early evenings, but eventually she'll be able to make it through the day w/o having such a hard time.
Hmm I figured it was possible but that's kind of a bummer - that's when I do my homework haha! I forgot to mention she goes down easily on the weekends, which is weird as I would think she would be more tired after school.
If she DOES fall asleep in the car after errands, etc. some days, do I move her to her room and let her sleep? Or wake her up when we get home? I'm not really one for "scheduling" but I would hate to reset bedtime and afternoon grumpies every weekend or something.