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His Inherent Ikeness





When we last left our plucky band of heroes, Ike was spending all afternoon stuck in his room, in a futile attempt at "quiet time." He'd fight sleep with every ounce of his being for hours, only to finally collapse in exhaustion at a point slightly south of dinnertime, thus combining "nap" and "night-night" into a giant, horrible hybrid sleep of 15/16 straight hours. 

Many of you suggested I embrace this schedule, which was very tempting because it involved me doing nothing at all, but unfortunately it just doesn't work for us. 

Mostly because I need to work until at least 3 p.m. every day. Like, actual work that requires my butt at my desk or my ear on a phone, with my full concentration aimed at the computer screen. A couple days a week I typically need to work later than that, but at a minimum, Ike really, really needs to take his nap during that early afternoon window so I can get the majority of my shit done before Noah and Ezra get home and chaos takes over. If I give up on the early nap, I'd probably have to park him in front of the TV all afternoon, which I don't want to do...and it's not like he'd reliably stay parked, what with his penchant for flooding/fire/running-into-traffic. (Extended day/aftercare programs at his school will be an option once he turns three, so he'll be free to do whatever-the-fuck he wants with his nap. But for now 9 a.m. to noon is all the childcare I've got.)

The 4:30/5 p.m. bedtime thing also wasn't great because it meant there were a few days in a row that Ike was already asleep when Jason got home from work. So Jason got all of like, 10 minutes with him at breakfast in the morning and that was it. Sadface. 

(Unless you count the one night when Ike woke up at 3 a.m. because his diaper leaked all over the place and DEFINITELY didn't feel like going back to sleep. Not exactly great quality father/toddler time, there.)

So now what? How to force a kid to sleep during a slightly different block of time than he wants to sleep, when everybody (EVERYBODY) knows that you really can't ever force a kid to sleep at all, period? 

So far, what's working is...robot jammies.


We always used an abbreviated bedtime routine for naps — no bath or pajamas, but the same books/song/tuck-in pattern. Obviously, it didn't really signal anything to him other than "oh this is when I holler and jump around for awhile."

And yet no matter how messed up his nap schedule got, his bedtime routine remained as solid as baby melatonin. He could "nap" until 6:45 and I could still put him to bed right at 8. He could skip the nap completely and break through the wall of exhaustion, past the fields of hyper, over the mountains of overtired hysterics...he knows the bedtime routine and knows there's no fighting THAT. Just the sight of me walking back from his closet with his pajamas in hand immediately triggers a Pavlovian yawn and vigorous eye-rubbing. 

Turns out the pajamas have the same effect during the day, especially his favorite pajamas. Robot jammies are the new Stupid Tiny Buns, y'all. 


He's been back on his old schedule for four days in a row. I am going to need to find more robot jammies, since I'm not sure these are going to hold out through that many more washings. 







I have zero confidence in this pattern repeating much longer, but hey! Four days in a row! That's a streak and I'm going to take it. Especially since we've officially prolonged the other, bigger sleeping issue for as long as we possibly can: The Great Bedroom/Roommate Shuffle.


(Noah wants his own room. Ezra wants the top bunk. Ike wants the terrible, horrible freedom to get out of a big kid bed on his own oh God oh no oh no oh God.)



Gravol I say! ;)


Oh yeah, we put our 21mo in her sleepsack for naptime and she can't resist its magic powers. Just seeing it makes her sleepy.


My kids have never gotten magically sleepy at the fight of anything, dang it. Am bitter. Am also sitting at the DMV with a 34# 3yo sleeping on my lap, because today's nap time hit just as we walked in the door. Oh joy.


What is that sweet little red elf-looking doll?! Must purchase!


I have a really important question. Do you have any tips on how to change sheets on bunkbeds without giving yourself a concussion or throwing your back out? (I know you know what I mean...) An entire week of posts devoted to this topic would not be a waste of time IMO. Thanks.


And our nap succubus is one special song...Row row row your hit the second stanza and BLAMO insta yawn has worked since he was little little and he's 6. Love it!


That is freaking brilliant and I can't believe after almost 3 years I hadn't thought of it. Fire truck pjs for the win (I hope)!


Bunkbed sheet change: how old are the bunkbed sleepers? Maybe you can teach them to tuck in the corners of the fitted sheets? Do not use flat sheets that need to be tucked in- European style.

kari weber

My bunkbed trick: DON'T use fitted sheets at all! Just "swoop" the flat sheet over the mattress pad, tuck it down the sides (doesn't need to be tucked "under" the mattress)- voila! Easy to pull off and change. Our favorite is a nice sandwich of sheet- waterproof mattress pad- sheet- pad- sheet etc. until you have a nice layer. Mid night leaks? Pull off a layer, toss in a pile (or hamper...) and back to bed after a jammie change. Is it obvious I have an 8 year old who still needs pull-ups? I am an expert.


I am SO VERY glad that you did the nap update! I was genuinely wondering. And I would like to second the request for your bunk bed sheet changing method as the 6 year old in this house DESPERATELY wants a bunk bed where she can then have her almost-2 year old brother sleep on the bottom once he is out of his crib. And based on my experience with bunk beds when we have been on vacation there had better be a DAMN EASIER way to change those sheets than what I have done in order for this furniture swap to happen at home....


I'm digging the elf doll too. Please share where we can find one. Thanks!


Since all families are different and all kids are different, take my little anecdote with a grain of salt. But my second son (only a few months older than Ike)started refusing naptime a few months ago. Obviously exhausted but would. not. nap! We got him a big boy bed, and after a few days of adjustment, naps started happening again. Seems he was pretty much just pissed off at being confined in his crib. When he could get out of bed at will, he'd get up, get a book, read it to himself, get up, get a book, read it to himself, repeat, repeat for about 10 minutes til he fell asleep looking at books. So maybe the big sleeping arrangement change won't be such a bad thing?


Yeah! I was just thinking about the nap resolution vel non today. Also,


Holy crap. I'm an idiot and you are again the goddess of all that is sleep for children.

I've been struggling to get my munchkin to nap at all in his crib. I never thought to try to add in book or pjs.

All hail. ;)


My brother had a bunkbed when we were kids, and because I was old enough to do so, I usually ended up changing his sheets, making him help me. Our trick? We lugged the damn mattress out (*out, not off, YOU know) of the bed, put the fitted sheet, and shoved the mattress back in. Voila!


Those robot jammies! We had one single pair of those pajamas that my son wore for 2 solid years at least 4x per week. When I say they were threadbare, you really have no idea. The laws of physics cannot possibly support how those things survived so many washings. There were more holes than there were actual pajamas left, is what I'm saying. They really were magic and we miss them.


I hear a lot of top bunk enthusiasm but may I plead for caution with young kids and top bunks. I googled the reason for the minimum age being so old - I think it is 6 or 8 - and it is valid. It seems that until that age their heads are bigger than their waists so if they slip through the bars they may slide until their head stops them. I know it sounds horrid, I suspect that's why bunk bed manufacturers don't explain it, but to me it helps to know there is a reason no matter how ready a kid seems. I know, it's a wonder any of us are still alive!


robot jammies + ike's messy beadhead = cutest thing that was ever cute.


You have to stop this because my ovaries cannot take Ike's post-nap hair.

That is all.


I love that his lovey is Peter from Ezra Jack Keats's A Snowy Day.


And Ike's hair! IKE'S HAIR!


A Snowy Day is one of our favorites! We need to have that doll! Where-oh-where did you get it?? :)


Second the ovary overload with that hair. THAT HAIR.


I found the doll (and the book) on Amazon. I placed my order today!

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