I never thought it would happen. The transition from only napping beside mama to napping independently. But it did. And much sooner than I ever anticipated.
I wrote about the nap battles between my toddler and I one year ago and how we overcame them. For months we relished in those peaceful afternoons, snuggled beside each other. Between her first and second year, I was pregnant with Jemma’s brother and more than ever, I needed those naps as much as she did. Looking back, I adore the memories of the three of us, one child in my arms and another in my belly, napping together in the dark quiet of the day with soft music humming in the background.
Before Jemma’s brother arrived we started practicing independent naps. I knew I couldn’t guarantee all three of us being on the same nap schedule, and I didn’t want her to think she had to be alone because I was with her brother. So, in the final weeks of my pregnancy, Jemma, with my prodding, grew into a new phase of independence.
We discussed her big girl naps before implementing them. I told her she would get to curl up in our family bed – spread out wherever she wanted. And, if she needed me, she was welcome to come to the door and call. We turned on her favorite sleep time CD, picked a well-loved stuffed animal or doll, and prepared a sippy. With a hug and kiss I said, “Mama loves you, close your eyes and rest.” I walked out of the room and said a prayer that we wouldn’t have a battle of wills, because, with an infant coming, I wasn’t sure how I would lull her to sleep without the baby causing a distraction. And then, nothing. Jemma fell asleep on her own!
It doesn’t happen exactly like that every day. Sometimes she comes to the door asking for more milk or to tell me that she hears an airplane outside. But, whatever it is, by establishing sleep as a safe and comfortable place, Jemma welcomes her rest rather than fighting it. It took almost two years to reach this milestone and sometimes I’m sad that we’ve crossed it already. Then again, I’m thankful that by committing to gentle parenting we made the transition in the best way possible . . . together.
Have faith, mamas. No matter the battle you are currently facing, it will most likely be a distant, and maybe even a fond, memory in a year’s time. What are you up against today? I’d love to hear and offer my support and encouragement, please share!
Photo Credit: Gretchen Bossio