Now I get why routines are so important!
November 19, 2009 (WPVI) -- Before I became a parent, I could never understand why other parents were so strict about naptime and bedtime. Often when we would invite some friends over for dinner they would politely decline unless the dinner was at 4:30. "Our daughter goes to bed at 7:30... she CAN'T miss her bedtime." I always thought to myself, "What is the big deal"? So they go to sleep an hour or two later that night... it's only one night, they'll just sleep an extra hour in the morning!
Oh, how naive I was!
My husband and I have quickly learned just how important it is to keep a schedule. In the beginning it's easy. Sienna would sleep anywhere, all the time: in the car, in our arms, out to dinner, at the beach... anywhere. But when she hit about three months old, and began wanting to be a part of all the activities happening around her, I started realizing that if she didn't have at least a 2 hour afternoon nap, she would proceed to demonstrate just how healthy her little lungs are.
In addition, there would be horrible nighttime repercussions. Parents, you know what I'm talking about. For some strange reason if a child does not sleep during the day, he or she then has an aversion for sleeping during the night. You would think it would be the opposite, but our pediatrician once told me, with children, sleep breeds sleep. It's true.
So, for the past month we've had to buckle down and make sure that Sienna was in her crib for at least 2 to 3 hours in the afternoon. Her morning nap we have decided to be a little more flexible with (we may run errands and have her sleep in the stroller or she'll nap while we take her for a walk). But that afternoon nap is essential to her mood and our sanity. It's not easy. Some days she doesn't want to take a nap and it requires a lot of planning on the weekends when you usually reserve time with other family members or to start all that holiday shopping.
Don't get me wrong, we realize there will always be days where it doesn't quite work and Sienna's naptime or bedtime are interrupted. After all, you can't control EVERYTHING that happens in life. Plus, it's good to interject some flexibility as well. But part of being a new parent is learning how to work your life around your child's and learning to say no to friends and family who can't understand why an hour is "such a big deal".
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