I mentioned a few weeks ago that Leo tried to give up his nap. We were miserable for a couple weeks, then we were happily nap-free (moderately so, at least) for a couple weeks and then it became clear once again that Leo needs a nap still. He will survive without one, but will get clumsy and emotional at night time and will get dark circles under his eyes if he goes a couple days without a nap. Still, he was refusing to go down for these much-needed rests.
One day, after a fruitful trip to our neighborhood library, I promised Leo I would read him as many books as he wanted in a row. I read him ten books (I know because we had checked out ten and we were on the last one) and sometime during the tenth story he fell fast asleep. I tried the same strategy the next day — and this time made a point of reading in a soft, monotone voice — and sure enough, he fell asleep again.
After a few days of getting him to fall asleep during these prolonged story times on the couch, I told him that I needed to put Zoe down to sleep, and if he would like me to read to him he could join us in my bed. He was suspicious at first, but I assured him that he didn't have to sleep if he didn't want — just rest — and I would read him as many books as he wanted. He resisted at first, but it was an offer he couldn't refuse. Usually, I'm a tough negotiator — "Five books, then mama needs a break from reading. I can read more later." He knew it had to be too good to be true, but he couldn't be pass it up.
Now, each day around 2pm is our "Story Time." I tell him it's time for Zoe's nap, and if he's quiet he can join us and I will read him any books he wants. Nine times out of ten he will fall asleep. It's not ideal. I must have read a thousand books in the last few weeks, but he's getting a lot more rest. Of course reading book after book in a purposefully unaffected voice puts me to sleep, too. Eh, there are worse things that napping along with two cute kids.
Sandra Telep is a West Philadelphia mom of two. This post is adapted from her blog, West Philly Mama.