Let me paint the scene for you…
It’s 2:00 pm and there are tears springing from the cheeks of your exhausted children. You quietly lay one down in their crib, and it seems all is well as they crash into a deep sleep once their head hits the mattress. You say to yourself, Ha! That was easy. Better go grab the next one. (It’s never that easy, though. And it’s a cruel trick I’ve played on myself one too many times.)
You have every intention of the next one going down just as peacefully, but they can a) talk and b) end up voicing their opinions for the world to hear, let alone your supposed-to-be napping baby in the crib, which is three feet away.
Then all hell breaks loose and the bombs of emotion start exploding. The toddler is wailing because they are so tired they can’t settle down to sleep. The baby is wailing because they keep getting disturbed AND they are teething. And then mom starts wailing because, well, because parenting has its crappy moments and sometimes the only thing that fixes a moment of temporary insanity is a good cry. Right?
Now, you are probably thinking, Abbey, why don’t you just put them in different rooms? But that would just make too much sense! And I have a knack for making my life far more complicated than it needs to be. Well, luckily for the happiness of all parties involved at the Rodriguez Casa, I let go of my pride and finally started putting the boys in separate rooms during naptime. And let me tell you, life is a lot more calm now.
1. As obviously stated above, separate their naptime spaces. I didn’t want to do this at first because I didn’t want to deal with having a portable crib in our room, but I quickly realized I valued my sweet, sweet quiet time in the afternoons more than the extra four feet of space in our bedroom. I recently received the 4moms Breeze playard and I love it. It snaps open and shut with one push of a button, and it is sleek looking so it isn’t an eyesore being in the corner of our room. Yes, it is a teeny tiny bit larger and heavier than our old Graco one we used before, but the ease of use and maneuvering the 4moms playard has me completely sold. That is now wear Wes sleeps during naptime and he actually goes to sleep more quickly and soundly in there than in his crib! 4moms has a lot of other amazing baby gear you can check out here.
2. Stick to the same naptime every day. This can be tricky if you have older kids or errands to tackle, but it makes things incredibly more manageable. My boys are creatures of habit (I really think all children are, actually) and they are in their best spirits when life is predictable and consistent. Naptime in particular. I try my best to get all the errands done in the morning so they can go down for a long, peaceful nap around 2:00 pm. The days this happens, they sleep for longer stretches and wake up in time for dinner. It gives me my sacred alone time, and then allows us to clean up and get ready for dinner without busy hands around us.
3. Find a fun routine when tucking them in to sleep. Luke climbs into his bed and we tuck him in with all 500 bajillion of his stuffed animals, and then we go through a very specific set of high fives and kisses. Every time we do this, he rolls over and is asleep within two minutes, but if I am rushed or in a frenzy and forget to do it, the naptime sailing isn’t as smooth. He will eventually go down, but it can take up to 30 minutes for him to settle. With Wes, we sing a little song and he gets his “mimi” and some milk and he is out like a light. Again, if I miss this, it is nothing but ginormous tears, which are the most heartbreaking thing in the world. (Seriously, if you ever see Wes cry, you will know what I am talking about. The kid has an Oscar in his future.)
4. Get them used to sleeping with noise. We are still working on this one. Luke is pretty good at sleeping with all the racket going on in the background, but Wes is a fairly light sleeper still. We put fans on for white noise when they sleep, which is helpful. By the way, how do you feel about white noise? I feel like there is a controversy about it. Some experts say it is bad for their brains and doesn’t let them fully relax and rest, but then there is the whole thing about how white noise when they are infants actually helps them relax because it reminds them of the womb. So what is it? I think I just answered my own question in reaffirming that you should always parent by what feels right for you and your kids.