“Oh no, we made a mistake,” said Roger.
Oh, yes, Roger, we did indeed. And what a mistake it was. We took our eyes off of Mia just long enough for something dreadful to happen. Something “night” changing. Something “week” altering. Something that will take a month to for us to fix.
We let Mia fall asleep at six-thirty p.m. How did we let this happen, you might ask. I’m still not completely sure myself.
I was downstairs making dinner while Roger was wandering around the house in his usual fashion. Mia had already taken a bath (a typical part of her after school routine). Just before Roger uttered these words I had heard the last of her upstairs as she dumped a whole bucket of toys onto the floor making a crashing sound that reverberated through the house. How she went from destroying her room to quietly sleeping in her bed ten minutes later is something I will probably never have the answer to. She rarely ever falls asleep that fast.
This occurrence puts us in quite the predicament. It places Roger and I in a major dilemma; a dilemma that I never know how to rectify. It causes so many problems – none of which are small.
Mia shouldn’t ever nap – no matter how early in the day it is. It will always lead to her having difficulty sleeping that night. And the later the nap occurs, the later (and more complicated) it becomes for her to fall asleep (and stay asleep). Ultimately, a nap coupled with her typical sleeping issues spells out disaster. And these are not the only issues caused by a nap, no sir.
Let me explain this to you in more depth. When Mia naps at say, seven-thirty p.m., she will not sleep all night. One would think that because she is falling asleep only an hour and a half before her “normal” bedtime that she would just sleep through the night and get up a little bit earlier the next day just like the average child would – but as everything goes with Mia, average is just not the case. No, if she falls asleep even a half hour before her “normal” bedtime she will certainly wake up four to six hours later. (And by “normal” I mean the earliest possible time she can fall asleep without waking up a few hours later. “Normal” does not mean the time she falls asleep most often because Mia’s bedtime changes from day to day. Her bedtime can be approximately anywhere between nine p.m. and eleven-thirty p.m.) And once Mia naps, no matter how long the nap is, she needs at the very least six hours until she can, or will, fall back to sleep.
As everything with Mia goes, sometimes she does the opposite of what I expect. This leaves me in quite the quandary. When she falls asleep a little bit before her “normal” bedtime Roger and I are left guessing if we should just let her sleep (maybe she is so tired she’ll make it through the night) or if we should wake her in an hour. I always start counting on my fingers, trying my best to figure out what the most likely time she will wake up on her own is and then from there around what time she will most likely go back to sleep. Sometimes it makes more sense for me to hold out hope that she will sleep until say, four in the morning – which rarely ever happens. No matter which scenario we choose, waking her or letting her sleep, we will still, unavoidably, be paying for our lack of diligence in watching her.
The trouble a nap causes will linger for days. When she wakes up in the middle of the night, either because she went to bed too early or just because she can’t sleep (sometimes she will wake up for no apparent reason and stays up for three to four hours) it will cause her sleep to be disrupted the next day as well. Let us say she wakes up at two a.m. and goes back to sleep at seven a.m., she will sleep, if I let her, until ten a.m. Which means she is getting up in the morning three hours later than usual, which in turn means she will go to sleep that night three hours later. Which also means that the next morning she will have a hard time waking up for school and she will want to nap during the day (once again) to make up for the missed sleep during the night. (You are, in all probability, asking why I would let her sleep until ten if I know that all of this will probably occur because of it. All I can say to you is this: I challenge you to come over and try to wake up my child, who barely slept the night before, one hour after she has finally fallen asleep for good – I can assure you it is virtually impossible. And waking her up one hour into the second part of her sleep would really just be me delaying sleep until a later time in the day – Rule Number One in Mia Sleeping 101 is: “the later she naps the later she will go to sleep that night.”)
This cycle can go on for days until it slowly corrects itself. During this time I end up losing out on my own much needed sleep. I turn into a sort of walking zombie who can’t think of anything but sleep – not letting Mia sleep and my own want of it. And, all the while, Mia is fine and dandy with as much energy as ever – running, jumping, flapping, singing, laughing, smiling, joking and wanting me to play. Well, as much energy as ever until I walk into the other room to fill up my cup of coffee and she decides that is the perfect opportunity to take a little siesta. And the cycle will repeat itself.
There really is no better term in the English language for us to exchange the word nap with than catastrophe.
“Oh no, we made a mistake,” said Roger.
Oh, yes, Roger, we did indeed.
(I must add that there is one promising aspect to this story though, and I wonder if any of you caught it. When Mia decided to take a nap she climbed into her own bed. For that I am all smiles.)