When your child starts to drop naps, there are various stages of grief you'll experience -- from denial to acceptance.
Humor Parenting

The 5 Stages of Grief: Mourning the Loss of a Child’s Nap

When your child starts to drop naps, there are various stages of grief you'll experience -- from denial to acceptance.

By Allison Alter of A Tale of Two Mommies

I have two remarkable children who enrich my life in unexpected ways. I live to hear my two-year-old son’s giddy laughter, as well as witness and experience my two-month-old daughter’s smiles and snuggles. I love the fun and folly of schlepping my children through various activities. But, even with all the delights of parenthood, nothing is quite as gratifying as their daily nap. I cherish this time to write, pay bills, complete various household or volunteering tasks, or just binge on chocolate and nap…Mostly I choose bingeing and sleeping…or watching heinously terrible reality television. I crave this time for myself, so suffice it to say when either child chooses they are anti-nap on any particular day, it has a profound effect on me. 

Stage #1: Denial—I won’t openly admit the number of minutes I stare at the monitor with my son standing at the corner of his crib, singing to himself. I chant aloud that any minute he will drop to the mattress and float off to dreamland for the couple hours necessary for his evening disposition to be tolerable. Ten, twenty minutes elapse before it becomes obvious that the nap will not happen.

Stage #2: Anger—How is it possible he isn’t immediately succumbing to his unconscious? He must be tired; the kid was out-and-about all morning, wreaking havoc in public areas, threatening to burn to the ground several establishments with his unfiltered enthusiasm for anything that might kill him. He fell asleep on the playground swing, and, again, in his car seat on the way home. After his lunch and bath, he barely kept his eyes open, rolling on the floor. What just happened that as soon as I place him in his crib he was signaled to dance around and sing as though auditioning for a cabaret? 

Stage #3: Bargaining—I’m not religious, but I promise to any existing deity that I will prance around downtown naked in the middle of a funeral procession for a well-respected and significant public figure wearing a plastic glove on my head, singing, “I’m a chicken,” if only my son will lie down and sleep for an hour.

Stage #4: Depression—Sadness and hopelessness overtake me because the nap stars haven’t aligned as I so desperately thought and wanted. Exasperatingly tragic that it is the first time in days my daughter is asleep in her playpen and not sprawled and snoring on me, and despite a promising set-up for a hard core snooze, my son prefers to remain awake.

Stage #5: Acceptance—No more delays; time to retrieve the little man from his room. I suppose it could be worse. After all, my daughter is no longer experiencing diarrhea and with any luck will remain asleep for an hour still, giving me an opportunity to distract my soon-to-be increasingly cranky son with books galore until my husband returns home from work. At that time I have every intention of locking myself in the bathroom with the bar of chocolate that has been waiting patiently all day for my undivided attention.

But, alas, as I climb the stairs, I can hear my son’s boisterous singing of a tune I’m not even close to recognizing, and all the more joyous my daughter is beginning to become, restless in her slumber. In a matter of scant moments she will be asserting her bid in what will be a busy afternoon of tag team grumpy screaming.

That chocolate can’t come soon enough.

This post was originally published on The Huffington Post


About the Author

Since the birth of my son, my diversity of hats is far reaching and overlapping. Obviously my role as wife, mother, and daughter are pivotal, but I can claim other, equally important identities that form my existence and ambitions. I’m a special educator by trade. More specifically, I’ve worked in various capacities with at-risk, delinquent, and incarcerated adolescents and adults. I am a licensed social worker, and try to incorporate these values to improve the world around me even if I do not strictly work in the field. I record my mommying life in a blog A Tale of Two Mommies, as well as create short stories and essays when inspiration strikes. I also organize a parent’s social group, as well as maintain a Facebook Page and Twitter account. Finally, I volunteer for an agency providing rehabilitative programming for the Department of Corrections.