Over the course of this summer, much to my chagrin, MC has started giving up her afternoon nap.
Currently we're at the point where she really still needs the nap in the afternoon because by about 4:30pm, she is overtired and things start to go sharply downhill around here, BUT if she does take a nap, she is less fragile in the evenings but won't go to sleep until after 9pm, sometimes closer to 10. So it's like trying to pick between two not-good options - cranky, tired, and tantrums in the afternoon but a non-contested 7pm bedtime OR an easier afternoon but a day with a 4 year old that lasts from 7am - 10pm and being called back upstairs to her room multiple times after lights out.
After a week or so of non-nap days that were 7am - 7pm with absolutely no break from her, I was juuuust about at my breaking point and decided something had to give or one of us was not going to survive.
So I implemented a daily Quiet Time for her. My goal was for her to spend an hour playing independently. She is not and has never been great at independent play - and in her defense, this is not something I've ever tried to foster in her - so I knew we were going to need some help and incentive for this whole QT idea to work.
We started slowly, and I tried to have realistic expectations. I did not go into it thinking it would work perfectly the very first time we tried. But it is slowly working, and we are at the point now where we both get a little break from each other during the day.
Here are a few things I've done that have been successful in transitioning from afternoon nap to afternoon Quiet Time:
I always fix her a drink and a snack to have during quiet time.
We started very slowly. The first couple of days she did 15 minutes alone, then 45 minutes with me in the room but very little interaction (I read a book or rested in her bed). We upped her alone time in 5-10 minute increments every few days.
She is free to play in her room or in the playroom or (for now) in Baby Sister's room.
She obviously has free access to the bathroom.
She can come to the top of the stairs and call for me if she needs me. I usually let her do this twice, then I start with gentle reminders about the purpose of QT.
I created QT boxes for each weekday. In each box I tried to include the following
On the weekends during QT, she gets to watch shows or play games on her iPad.
We've been doing this for several weeks now, and it has been mostly successful. Obviously, some days are better than others, but overall she is doing a really good job. It gives me a break from her during the day; it gives her some down time, and it still allows her to go to bed at a reasonable time with not too much fuss.
I will probably always miss traditional nap time, but I also knew that she wouldn't be napping forever. However, she might be required to do a QT every day until she leaves for college!
Piper had to go to the vet last week (an encounter with a wildly jumping grasshopper in the tall grass that left her with a minor scratch on the eyeball), and since the backseat of our vehicles are now filled up with car seats, she got to ride shotgun for the first time.
We were in BD's truck because that hairy beast is not getting in my new car anytime soon! She wears a harness/seat belt thing in the car, so she is strapped in and can't go far, but after a few minutes of checking out the scenery she settled in and got comfy.
She is such a chill little dog. Once the initial excitement about being at the vet's is over, she just lounges around and lets them do whatever needs to be done to her.
Last week we had a major heat wave, so we decided to spend one afternoon bowling with friends in the wonderfully air conditioned bowling alley.
MC recently went bowling for the first time at a friend's birthday party and loved it, so she was very excited to go back and bowl again. They have these little ramps that help the kids get the ball down the lane.
With a 6 year old, a 4 year old, and a 3 year old bowling together, I was surprised at how self-sufficient they were. And no one dropped a ball on anyone's toe or stuck their hand down the ball return chute, so it was a successful outing!
After bowling a game we hit up the arcade, where the boys showed MC how to do all the fun games. She has never played any arcade-type games before, so they had fun "driving" this car together. Thank goodness for demo mode - they had no idea that what they were seeing on the screen was not actually them controlling the car!
Under the guise of having everyone over for root beer floats in their newly landscaped backyard, our sweet neighbors had conspired to also have a little surprise sprinkle for Baby Sister. It is a group of 5 families who all have young kids and all live in the back corner of our neighborhood, and we have all grown to be close friends.
MC and E opted for some plain chocolate ice cream instead of a traditional float. They are good buddies and have fun playing together. MC is only older by about 9 months, but she calls him "Baby" E and she practices her older sister bossing skills on him. For the most part he happily complies.
MC had a great time opening all the presents for us. And everyone had thoughtfully included gifts for MC in with the gifts for Baby Sister. We are very consciously trying to make her feel like she is gaining something with Baby Sister's arrival, and little gestures like that go a long way to make her feel included and excited about this big change in our family.
We received some diapers & wipes, a couple cute outfits, a set of swaddle blankets & towels/washcloths -- a nice mix of little gifts for Baby Sister.
We've been busy around here getting ready for Baby Sister's impending arrival!
After much discussion and research, we decided to trade in my tiny car that I have loved for 12+ years and get a bigger vehicle. We decided on a 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. It is the nicest car I've ever driven, and so far I am loving having a little extra space and being a bit higher up off the road.
I have been doing lots of baking and prep work to have our freezer stocked. I didn't take pictures of everything, but if all goes to plan, when I'm finished I'll have about 6 dozen muffins and 12 meals frozen for us to enjoy.
LA and BD have been Living, Loving, and Laughing in North Carolina since they emerged from the Louisiana bayous a little over 13 years ago. Which, not coincidentally, is the same amount of time they've been hitched. They are in their mid-30's and are the proud parents of MC (6/2012) and GL (8/2016). Email them at ncleeann (at) gmail (dot) com.
Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love. They depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs your heart is very big. ~Unknown
Kip (2001 - 2014)
"For me a house or an apartment becomes a home when you add one set of four legs, a happy tail, and that indescribable measure of love that we call a dog." ~Roger Caras