I used to brag about what great sleepers the girls were. They started sleeping through the night at 2 1/2 (Olivia) and 3 (Kayley) months. Olivia always went down for naps easily and Kayley mostly did, and was great for the last several months leading up to the abrupt nap-drop that occured the day after Labor Day. But now I whine and complain and sometime almost cry. Every day is a battle.
When they first dropped their nap a few months ago, I was frustrated and very much in mourning for the loss of my daily 2-3 hour break. Oh, how I cherished that time. I could read, blog, scrapbook, nap, play computer games...it was so relaxing and rejuvinating. All of a sudden it was gone and I was so stressed by dinnertime, because I just happen to be the type of person who really needs some downtime regularly. But, I started to get used to it and as long as I knew ahead of time that I wasn't going to get it, I somehow accepted it better and I started to get over it.
The girls were going to bed earlier, so that helped a little, and they usually weren't extra cranky or fussy as a result of not napping, so that was good.
But lately, it must be catching up to them or something because they DO get really fussy in the late afternoons. It's very upleasant. Sometimes they end up falling asleep on the floor or couch, and if that happens, they stay up until 10:00. Either way, it sucks.
Yesterday was one of those days. Kayley fell asleep on the couch around 4:00 so I put her in bed. Then Olivia fell asleep on the couch around 4:30. On one hand it cures the fussyness, but then they were up until 10:00. They were actually in bed at 9:30 and I thought all was well. I was going to read until 10:00, and then watch Seinfeld and go to bed at 10:30. But they ruined that. As soon as I sat down to read, Kayley was up and wanted a snack (another byproduct of the early evening sleepiness: they don't eat well at dinner). Then Olivia decided she wanted one, too. So I spent what was supposed to be my end-of-day relaxing "me" time in the kitchen serving snacks. After that, they were wide awake, running around making all kinds of noise while I just stared at the clock sratching my head. Actually, I was on the verge of a breakdown trying very hard not to break everything in sight. I was so mad and frustrated. Finally, at 10:00, I just put them in their room and put a child-proof doorknob cover on their side of the door so they couldn't get out. Kayley whined a little but finally went to sleep.
I think I need to not let them sleep that late in the afternoon to ensure that they'll go to bed at a reasonable hour. Yeah, they're really fussy, but most of the time it's bearable. Also, the earlier they go to bed, the earlier they will get up, but then maybe if they start getting up early enough they will resort to taking naps at a normal time again? Maybe I should try that--getting them up earlier in the morning. That's another weird thing about them. Even though they were up until 10:00 last night, they still got up at 7:30. 9 1/2 hours of sleep for a 2-year-old? Some nights it's more, but there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to whether they sleep in or not.
Another thing I could do is take them for a drive every day at 1:00 or 2:00. They usually fall asleep in the car if we're out and about at that time.
I don't know. I'll experiment a little and see how it goes.