When did I get this long-winded? This is really long. I have got to figure out how to tell a story or write a "journal entry" here without it taking forever, especially before Austin arrives. Gracious.
For the past few days, naptimes have been wild and crazy! Seriously. And challenging. It's really strange how all of a sudden Garrison is super wound up while we get ready for his nap and he's starting to test the limits big time. I don't know where it came from. We had some similar issues when we first transitioned to his big boy bed, but they didn't last but a few days and we've had a great stretch of easy, laid-back, consistent naptimes... typically starting from the moment we turn out the light and pick out a few books to read, to the moment I go back in his room once naptime is over and he's had about a 2 hour nap. Before I go into detail about the wild and crazy stuff, I'm going to give a quick run down of our naptime routine.
Somewhere around 1:00 or 1:30 every afternoon we get ready for his nap by changing him into a pull-up or diaper, turning off his light, picking out a few books to read, and turning on the fan in his room. After all that stuff we both get on his bed and I read the books to him, sing a few songs that he requests, say prayers with him, and then turn on his CD of lullabies (sort of a new thing he's in to) before moving to sit on the end of his bed for just a minute and then telling him goodnight and leaving the room. We always have days where picking out the books can be a chore, or singing the songs can take forever because he keeps changing his mind, or saying prayers takes a while because he keeps thinking of new things to pray about, etc. But for the most part there haven't been any huge issues for quite some time. Then sort of out of the blue things got crazy.
I'm thinking it may have started last Thursday but I can't be positive. I just remember coming home from school with him and it taking him a long time to settle down/calm down and eventually fall asleep. I mean he was wide open while I tried to get him ready to take a nap. (Bouncing around the bed, being silly and loud, etc.) If I'm remembering correctly I think I even made the decision to go back into his room after listening to him sing and play and be loud for at least 30 minutes. After having a little talk with him he went to sleep and ended up taking a pretty good nap. I continued to notice a pattern of him being sort of hyped up while we were getting ready for his naps each day but he always eventually fell asleep so I tried not to make too big of a deal out of it. Until earlier this week.
On Wednesday I had to go back into his room two different times in an attempt to get him to stop playing and calm down so he could fall asleep. He eventually did, but not without first making me want to pull my hair out. He was playing with the blinds, kicking his feet against the wall, standing up on the bed, and even got out of bed once and was trying to peak out the door. So I was beyond frustrated. He had never gotten out of bed by himself without us being in there since like his 3rd day in his new bed. I was actually surprised by it and not sure what to make of it, but thankfully after going to time out and us talking about the fact that he had to stay in bed, he was fine and we didn't have any other issues that day.
Then yesterday tested my patience so much that I started questioning my parenting skills. I'm usually pretty confident about my discipline decisions with him. I work really hard at being consistent, I try to correct inappropriate behavior or at least re-direct him, and I "discipline" defiant behavior with time-out or taking away a toy or making him come inside, etc. I know I'm not perfect and there are always times I look back and wonder if I should have handled situations differently, but usually it's clear to me what to do about a certain behavior and how to best train and/or discipline him. Okay, so back to yesterday. Garrison got out of the bed multiple times and decided to pretty much ignore me. He was just playing away in his room while he was supposed to be in bed taking a nap. I could feel the power shifting to him and it scared me enough to refuse to give it up. Ha! I had a brief moment of panic because I couldn't figure out how to make him stay in bed. He had to go to time-out 2 different times plus listen to me make a big deal about obeying me and doing what I say. It finally occurred to me to threaten him with something bigger but to be prepared to follow through if that's what it came to. Sooo, I told him he didn't have to go to sleep, but he did have to stay in bed and at least try to rest. And if he got out of his bed again before naptime was over, he would have to go back to bed for naptime/rest time after his snack. It was scary to say it out loud and even scarier to think of following through but I sort of went back to my classroom management-teacher mentality. I used to tell my students that if they chose our learning time/work time/class time to play, then they wouldn't play at recess. Oh my was it hard using that same principle on my 2 year old! I still don't know if it was right or wrong. I hope I never have to use it again. But it worked. He didn't get out of bed again and he even took a nap.
Naptime is SO valuable to me (especially entering this summer) that I definitely want to maintain it and not let it slip away. I'm so thankful for advice from moms who have managed to hang on to naptimes/rest times for 4 to 5 years! It's also so, so important to me that Garrison stay in his bed during naptime whether he falls asleep or not. First and foremost I want him to sleep or at the very least rest and chill for a while, but more so than that it really scares me to think of what could happen if I let him do whatever he wanted to and just closed to the door and not worried about him for 2 hours. It feels dangerous. He could hurt himself... or the furniture or walls or clothing (my mind could really wander) and I may or may not know about it until going back in his room. After yesterday I told Terrell we might need to invest in a video monitor. I'm just not sure. Today leading up to naptime was wild and crazy again (this time Terrell was home to witness part of it), but he had absolutely no trouble falling asleep after I left the room. I checked on him after like 10 minutes and he was sound asleep at the foot of his bed. So sweet. It really made me melt after being so frustrated with him less than 30 minutes earlier. Who knows what's going on and what may have triggered this craziness. Maybe it's just part of him being 2. I have no idea. I definitely think I need to go back to praying before naptime! And maybe even go back to changing up our routine or my approach to the wild and crazy behavior. Decisions, decisions.