Nap time at my house is an extremely organized affair. I have very specific rules surrounding nap time, and they’re always followed. Now, you have to understand I’m not completely crazy or inflexible. If there is something else going on and my kids absolutely can’t get a nap in, then they don’t. But on the days that they can get a nap in, having the same things happen in the same order every single day makes nap time go that much smoother.
My first rule is, you will lay down in your bed whether you’re tired or not. I understand that as kids get older they don’t always need a nap. But I also feel that even if they aren’t tired enough to sleep that they can benefit from resting quietly for a couple hours. The kids are allowed to take books into their beds to look at the pictures, but no toys of any kind. They are also not permitted to get up out of their beds until I’ve come in and said they may. The exception to that is going to the bathroom, but even then they are to get up go straight in there and straight back to their room. Any deviance will get them into trouble.
My second rule is no dilly dallying. Nap time comes right after lunch. Once lunch is on the table you sit down, eat your lunch, then immediately get ready for nap. Lunch is the one meal per day that we don’t watch any TV. That way there is no whining to be able to finish the show their watching, or and no excuse not to eat their lunch due to distraction.
The last rule is we will read one, and only one story at nap time. I used to be more flexible with that rule until it became obvious that the kids were picking out as many of the longest stories as possible to delay the time in which they had to lay down for their nap. At the moment Cameron gets to pick out the story, but as Kaylee gets older I’ll allow her some input into what we read as well.
Once the story is chosen, Cameron goes potty and Kaylee gets her diaper changed. Then we all sit together on Kaylee’s floor and enjoy the story. Afterward Cameron climbs into his own bed while I get Kaylee settled. I come in long enough to remove Cameron’s glasses and get a hug and kiss then he’s down as well.
This did not happen on Monday. Cameron started whining he was hungry the moment we left the pre-school parking lot. We got home and while I fixed their lunch I allowed the two of them to finish up the last five minutes of a cartoon that we’d started at breakfast. It kept them both quiet and allowed me to get lunch on the table that much sooner. Cameron immediately devoured all that I’d put in front of him and started asking for more. I gave him seconds, and again he polished that off. I gave him some chips to snack on while Kaylee finished up her lunch and soon those were gone too. With Kaylee finally finished, I told them it was time to get ready for nap. Cameron instantly began whining that he was still hungry, and wanted another snack. I’m not one to usually deny food, especially to Cameron since he’s such a picky eater. However, he’d just had two servings of lunch plus a snack. I felt this was enough, and that he couldn’t possibly still be “starving,” so I told him no more food for now and that he could have a snack after nap. This started him whining again that he was hungry.
Deciding the best course of action would be to act as though I couldn’t hear the whining, I told him to go pick out a story for nap. At that point he decided that since I couldn’t hear him whining that screaming would be his next best option. He proceded to scream at me that he wouldn’t go pick out a story until I gave him another snack. I stared at him for just a moment to make sure I had his full attention, then calmly said, “That’s fine. We won’t have a story at nap then. Go potty and get yourself into bed.” Then ignoring the angry howling behind me, I went go get Kaylee into bed.
As I sat on her floor and started to change her diaper, Cameron came trouncing into her bedroom still red faced clutching a book in his hand. He started out with, “Fine, I picked out a story. Now can you read it to me?” I looked at him and said again, “No. You decided to throw a fit about it, so now you won’t be getting a story.” That’s when Cameron made the biggest mistake of his life. He decided that he was going to push me just a little bit further. He next said, “You want to bet? I’m getting a story so nanny nanny boo boo!” Then proceded to stick his tongue out at me.
Without a word I crossed the bedroom. Cameron has seen me angry before, and knew that he’d pushed me just a little too far. He booked it out of Kaylee’s room and into his own. I followed close at his heels, took the book out of his hands, took his glasses off his face, and stormed out of the room without so much as a good night. Anguished sobs came pouring out from behind his door, but I held firm and left him to cry and think about how naughty he’d been.
Going back into Kaylee’s room I finished getting her ready for nap. She saw the book still in my hand and asked, “Tory?” So not wanting to punish her for her brother’s naughty behavior I read her the story. Ironically Cameron had chosen the story, David Gets in Trouble.