Napping is something Anslie has ALWAYS fought me on. I remember when I was trying to get her on some semblance of a schedule when she was an infant, getting her to nap was a three-ringed circus. At one point I would swaddle her, take her into the bathroom (the darkest room in the house), turn off the light, turn on a hair dryer for white noise, rock and bounce and walk her until she was sleepy, then strap her in her bouncy seat with the vibrator on to simulate the rocking and bouncing, and tuck her in with a t-shirt I had slept in so that she could smell me while she napped (she never took a pacifier, otherwise that would have been involved too). Even then, she still would only nap for 30-45 minutes at a time.
As she got older her naps condensed from several a day to two (maybe around her first b-day?) and you would think that each nap's length would increase since there were fewer of them. Nope. 30-45 minutes, twice a day. Finally, I don't remember at what age, she was ready for one nap a day (I think it was pretty early, maybe 1 1/2?). I knew it was time to cut her second nap because she would wake up from it hysterical and it would take hours to calm her down.
When she was only napping once a day, I could expect her to sleep for an hour to an hour and half. That's IT. Every once in a while she would surprise me and sleep for 2+ hours, but I bet I could count on my fingers how many times that has happened over the last year.
Anslie is now 2 1/2. And she fights me EVERY. DAY. to take a nap. There are days when I don't put her down because we are out and about, or frankly, I just don't feel like fighting. (Those days I put her to bed an hour early at night) She does just fine missing her nap... until the evening time. And then we have a little tazmanian devil on our hands. Anslie becomes defiant, HYPERACTIVE, she won't eat, she hits, throws things, and is generally not a very pleasant kid to be around. (And the best part is she thinks her behavior is FUNNY and laughs and giggles as we try to enforce rules and implement dicipline.) So I feel like she still needs her nap to temper her behavior in the evening.
Here's the catch though. Not only does she fight me tooth and nail EVERY. DAY. to go down for a nap, I can't even trick her into falling asleep in the car and transferring her into her bed. I've driven around town for over 20 minutes when I KNOW she is struggling not to fall asleep, but she fights it every time. Some days it takes 40+ minutes of me rocking her, singing, soothing, and even sometimes threatening and spanking to get her to fall asleep...just for her to rest (and me to get a break from her) for an hour to an hour and a half. And even after all that (today is the perfect example) once I do get her to fall asleep, she will often get up about 5-10 minutes after I leave the room (as if she is faking me out, pretending to be asleep so I will leave) and play, sing to herself, scream my name to come and get her over and over again at the top of her lungs, or, best of all, take her clothes and (ocassionally poopy) diapers off.
So I just don't know what to do. I have a kid whom I think still needs a nap. She refuses to sleep. If she does go down it's a fight (and it's getting harder and harder for me to carry her and rock her with my due date quickly approaching. Not just hard, but physically painful.) Do I let her give up naps now, along with any hope of her napping once the baby is born so that I can get a break from my kids during the day, so that I don't have to fight her and put up with her bad behavior in the evening, or do I keep fighting the good fight and just hope I can get her to "nap" for the next few months to get her the rest she needs so she can be a happy, well adjusted, and productive kid, and until baby and I have recovered and I can get him on a schedule of his own?
Let me just say that some parents have already suggested that I still put her in her bed for an hour or two of "quiet" time instead of nap time, but the risk that I take by doing that is leaving her unsupervised to 1. smear poop all over everything like she did the one time I tried that, 2. figure out how to climb out of her crib and break her neck, 3. destroy her room if she does get out of her crib because really, what 2 1/2 year old can be left for any length of time unsupervised without ruining something.
If you have any advice, please post a comment. I am just at my whit's end and I don't know if I can fight any more. I will have to fight at some point during the day, I just don't what time is best. I'm desperate. And feeling violent. Your thoughts are welcome.