OKAY LET'S PRETEND I DIDN'T PHRASE THAT AS A QUESTION
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 CAN'T BELIEVE I FELL FOR THE ROBOT JAMMIES AGAIN.
IT'S TERRIBLE TO BE THIS WELL-RESTED.
OKAY I'M OVER IT NOW HIIII.
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.)