If I could just subtract naptime from the equation, I swear my life with my boys would be perfect. Most days are great. They really are happy, funny, pleasant little guys.
But, dear Lord. Save me from having to coordinate 4 naps a day for 10-month-old twins.
Up until recently, naps were going well. I had them on the same schedule. I figured out a soothing routine that allowed me to snuggle each of them and still keep us on schedule. Both were napping 1-1.5 hours, 2 times a day.
Until recently. Somehow, I’ve must have angered the nap gods, and this distinct wave of dread floods over me every time naptime approaches.
This is what naps had been looking like:
About 15 minutes before the target sleep time, I would put them both in the swings to settle them a bit. Then I would bring James into their room, white noise on, room dark. I would rock him for 5-10 minutes, and he would fall asleep in about 3. Then I would put him in the crib and repeat the same thing with Michael.
Up until recently, I could bring Michael in the room while James was sleeping, and he would stay asleep while I rocked Michael. I would put Mike down without tears, and I’m sure I tempted fate by quietly closing the door behind me and thinking, ‘That was too easy!’
On days like that, usually Michael would wake up earlier, and I could rush to get him out before he woke up James. And on most days, I was successful.
But that has not been our house recently. Recently, naps look something like this:
Bring James in and get him to sleep. Bring Michael in. Michael decides he wants to talk. Loudly. And James wakes up.
At this point, there is no getting them both back to sleep without some serious soothing from me, and starting the routine all over again – i.e. bring Baby #1 back to the living room in the swing, settle Baby #2 in the room, get him to sleep. Then get Baby #1 and repeat.
I’m sorry. I just don’t have it in me.
Theoretically, I let them fuss until they fall asleep. But that doesn’t happen. Instead, they just squawk and chat and cry and keep each other up. If I look in the monitor, I see Michael crawling back and forth in his crib. James? He is just picking up one pacifier, taking out the one that is in his mouth and putting in a different one. This could go on for hours, if I let it.
So, scrap nap #1. We will try again in the afternoon. And it looks like a shower isn’t happening (again) today.
In the meantime, I’m scouring the internet, looking up every article on napping, twin napping and anything remotely related, while re-reading all relevant sections of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Regardless of all the sage advice, nothing seems to fit my issues, and I’m getting more and more frustrated at this scenario.
At this point, the boys are in high chairs, waiting for their snack while I’m reading. It’s 2 Cheerios on Michael’s tray, 2 on James’ tray, and a handful in my mouth in between paragraphs. Repeat for about 20 minutes (read: when the box of Cheerios is empty and the boys are crying because I ate all their Cheerios).
According to the book, it’s about catching them at the right point of tiredness. I watch for the signs and try again.
OK, repeat soothing routine. I bring James in first. Just as he is about to nod off, he gets the hiccups.
Seriously? The hiccups? It’s the hiccups that are going to thwart naps today?
OK. I bring James to the swing in the living room and try to get Michael to sleep while James is wearing off his hiccups. Just as Michael is about to drift off, I hear James start to scream. I hear this over the noise machine and a closed door. Of course, Michael’s eyes fly open at the sound of his brother crying. Wiggling and wide awake. At this point – there’s not much I can do but to let them cry it out and fall asleep. Except they don’t.
Scrap nap #2.
Now I’m really stressing because I’m scared their lack of sleep during the day will mess up their night sleep, which is great. I decide to move bedtime earlier – to catch up on their sleep debt and because my normally fun, pleasant silly little boys are a little less fun, pleasant and silly. And now, I’m thinking of how to explain to my husband why I am still in my bathrobe and why we need to order Chinese tonight.
A whole day shot because of naps. Or lack thereof.
Now, this is just one scenario. There could be any number of variables that sabotage naptime on any given day. Some days, if I happen to get them to fall asleep, any one of these scenarios might happen:
Get James to sleep. Get Michael to sleep. Michael wakes up early and wakes up James.
Get James to sleep. Get Michael to sleep. James wakes up early and wakes up Michael.
Get James to sleep. Get Michael to sleep. As I’m walking out, one or both wake up.
Get James to sleep. Get Michael to sleep. UPS knocks on the door. Both wake up.
Let them cry. Neither one goes back to sleep.
Now, I could cry. Why don’t they just sleep??? How hard is that? I mean, who doesn’t want to sleep???
Well, my sons. That’s who. That’s who doesn’t want to sleep.
With resignation, I realize this can’t go on. Something has to be done. So, like it or not, I’ve got a new full-time job in cracking the code to get my boys to sleep again.
People say having twins is twice the love, twice the cuddles, twice the laughter. It is. It’s all that. But sometimes, it’s just twice as hard. Especially when it comes to naps.
Worth every second. But sometimes, still hard.
I sometimes think, “If I had only one baby, naptime would be so easy…”
But, c’mon. What baby would I give up because I want an easy naptime? Seriously.
I’d rather have it hard with both of them than be without either.
So with that being said, let the nap games begin. They are lucky they’re so darn cute.