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Just Real Quick …

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I wrote the longest Instagram post ever (below) and the new rude Instagram format was like ‘Woah, hey there lady, edit that down a bit’. After a few ‘Well-I-Nevers’ I decided to not edit it but to instead just post it to the blog. You can’t stop my long-windedness, Sir. Instagram, you only succeed to divert it onto a different platform. Here you go: my stupidly drawn-out personal Instagram attempt:

Last weekend I kinda lost it. Brian was out-of-town and after getting up 4 – 6 times both nights with that angel and at least once with Charlie I found myself snapping then weeping at Charlie during his average ‘I’m acting like a total psychopath’ tantrum because I mixed the fruit into his yogurt – a gesture that he typically appreciates. Word to the wise: DO NOT MIX THE FRUIT INTO HIS YOGURT UNLESS HE ASKS YOU TO THEN PLEASE MIX THAT FRUIT INTO THE YOGURT AT THE EXACT SPEED THAT HE DEMANDS.

A friend witnessed my meltdown and suggested that perhaps after months of complaining of severe sleep deprivation it was time to hire some extra help during a really busy work week. Let me just go ahead and answer the question you are asking – don’t you have a nanny? Yes. And she is AMAZING. But I also have a toddler whose needs are far different from a baby so on the days that I can’t be home with Elliot, the baby goes with the toddler to all his activities (a playdate every morning at Kids Space and parent/nanny and me twice a week in the afternoon at a preschool that he will soon go to full time in the fall). Thus Elliot’s nap schedule is totally neglected. If one caretaker were to make sure that both napped properly at home we would be in napping prison, which I (and Charlie) refused to be in, but because of that she hadn’t learned how to fall or stay asleep well.

So I found a baby nurse for some temporary relief. Someone to help teach me and her how to get her to sleep properly. It didn’t go as planned because Elliot didn’t like her for the first full day and I had to step in every 20 minutes only after I refrained every 2 minutes. But she was super lovely and somehow still forced that baby to sleep and eat enough during the day that she only woke up twice that night. Apparently I’m not making enough milk and she is not napping enough. I swear we were good parents with Charlie. We were disciplined and diligent. We had the time and sanity to properly teach him how to sleep and I knew how many ounces I was making every single minute. I was obsessed with my milk production – an obsession that has thankfully waned with the wisdom of motherhood. But this time around I lost milk even faster and it has affected her sleep (not her growth thankfully and we’ve been supplementing with formula for the 6 weeks).

I thought the second child was supposed to be easier, but you all lied, it’s not because the first one is wailing in the corner, being a toddler. A toddler that acts as if you are burning his blankey in front of his very eyes if you take even the smallest bite of his string cheese. I’m happy to report that the last three nights have been so much better (update, last night was TERRIBLE with Charlie again .. but Ellie was good). I’m happy that hiring that extra help, however uncomfortable it was (and it was) was worth it. She reminded me to be more patient – that when Elliot acts like she doesn’t want to nap its my job to remind her that she needs to. And that sometimes that ‘reminding’ is in the form of me rocking, shushing and soothing her for 20 fussy minutes until she gives in – a job that this busy mom was not doing well. We leave for Australia on tomorrow which is going to bring its own challenges, sure, but hopefully these habits can stick. She is such an angel, I just haven’t been as on top of it this round for obvious reasons – i’m not being hard on myself because I know that i’m doing the best that I can, but its good to just put all the facts on the table and come up with a solution that works with those facts. For us it was calling in a baby pro for 3 days. And I think its worked ….

Meanwhile if you have a toddler and have even once wondered if he/she needed psychological intervention please know that EVERY SINGLE one of my friends has wondered the same thing, as have I. His level of irrationality and lack of empathy when it comes to sharing can be absolutely disturbing at times despite the fact that he’s impossibly loving and affectionate the rest of the day.

So please, friends, if you run into Charlie Henderson with a raspberry FAGE yogurt, please DO. NOT. MIX. THAT. FRUIT.

So mom of two kids at different napping stages, how do you do it???? Do you just make the second baby more flexible or do you keep the toddler at home?

*Photo by Jess Issac, dress by Doen. Two new blue pillows from Target, 1/2 moon pillow by Rebecca Atwood.

Read about the last four months with two kids, The first six weeks with 2 kids, The first 3 weeks,  the pregnancy announcement and if you are really bored watch the gender reveal video. 

Fin Mark

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Emily I totally love your honesty, and you’re hilarious! I only have one kiddo currently, so I can’t offer any napping tips for two. Just wanted to say how much I love reading your blog and how much of an inspiration you are to me as a working mom!! xx

Julia

Good for you for getting help when you needed it! I work as a nanny for 4 kids (all under 4) and when the baby was born she just came with us everywhere and slept in her car seat when we were out. We lucked out a lot though because she was a very easy baby. For me it was easier to change the baby’s nap then stay home because there were twin toddler boys who needed interactions outside of the house to get off energy. The baby was never the best sleeper out in public but she did sleep really well at night and took two afternoon naps to help balance it out. Good luck with the sleeping and I hope it gets better!

Allie

Loved reading this post… I so appreciate your honesty! You are definitely not alone in the journey of parenting. By far the most challenging adventure I’ve ever been faced with. Your words of wisdom help remind me all the craziness is normal, or common I should say with hope that this isn’t a forever normal! You’re a fabulous mom, and you help all of us with your candid posts, much appreciated!

Kelly B

Thanks for your honesty. I work part time, and stay most of the week at home with three kids. Ages 5, 3.5, and 9 months. Our lives revolve around nap times. I prioritize sleep, especially for babies. I know it seems like you can be trapped, but really it’s a short time. At 9 months, we have three naps and longer wake times (2-3 hrs), so we get out and do stuff in those windows. I also stock up on crafts and new games to pull out (once a week for the first few months), and invite friends for play dates here. I am hoping that by 14-16 months, we will be down to one nap! That really opens things up.

Laura

Totally agree! Currently have a 2, 4, and 6 yr old. Prioritizing sleep helped me keep my sanity. Toddlers totally thrive on routine and consistency of a loving caregiver, wherever that is. I tried to make our house their favorite place to be, and only planned outings once or twice a week. They have all been great sleepers and the older two still have quiet time to this day 🙂

I’m not sure you will read this, or if it will be new information, but I feel compelled. It’s good that you write it out, however lengthy. How brave to be EH public persona and the let us know the actually real mom-person, too. I didn’t raise 2 kids a couple years apart, they are 4 minutes apart. Now they are 7. I have to say, it’s so much harder than anyone admits to and if you feel like you need a padded room that’s completely normal. Our twins didn’t sleep through the night, really for … 12 months. We read every book. We tried everything. I can’t believe we survived it. This I know, you use your instinct. Ever day is different, every kid is different. You have to mentally juggle so much all the time. There is no off. And one day (right around potty-training/preschool) you can berate again. All of a sudden it’s so much easier. My husband and I are graphic designers who both stayed home with the kids and both worked from home. One year we had interns. Can you imagine? So, hang in there. And keep being awesome.

Whitney

My boys are 18 months apart. I let my youngest nap in the morning before we do anything. It’s hard and sometimes I go crazy but my first child had a nap schedule and he’s a great sleeper. My second loves his naps. On days we have a play date that’s a little early, I wake the youngest up a little earlier so he will nap earlier. Or sometimes I just wake him up and we go. He is flexible that way, but he expects his naps. Hang in there, it’s a short phase. I plan to drop the morning nap at 12 months and it will be great! (He’s 10.5 months so we are almost done.)

What works for us is sending the older child to school! My son attends full-day Montessori preschool, M-F, (he is 3 years old) and has since he was 20 months old. He takes a nap at school, and when he comes home, we have special time together. My baby (5 months old) does not have a rigid sleep schedule, more like “windows” of sleep. It’s kind of an every other day thing, too. One day she takes a 45-60 min nap in the morning, another around lunch time, and another after I pick up my son from school. The next day she will take a super long morning nap (2-2.5 hours) and then a shorter one in the afternoon. I know baby experts say they should have more structured schedules, but I have always preferred to follow my baby’s cues, and it works for us because she only wakes 1 or 2 times per night to eat. Best wishes to you, and bon voyage!! Looking forward to hearing about your trip to Australia!

Kristen

Too funny! I basically said the exact same thing a few comments down–full-day Montessori all the way! Worked very well–now my second child is in her last year of Montessori and naps are a thing of the past.

Ann

Agree with all the school comments. Great routine for a toddler with a new baby. My girls are the same age as Charlie and Ellie and it’s definitely not easy but having them each do their own thing helps (though look out for school related illnesses – those things could take down a village.)

I have a 4 yr old and an 18 mo old and we are in “napping prison” from about 12-3 everyday and I absolutely love it. My 4yr old has quiet time during his nap and so I work or have quiet time as well. I will miss this phase when it passes. I hope you find your happy balance. It’s different for everyone and we’re all trying hard and doing the best we can 🙂 Godspeed through the irrational tantrums. I felt like those finally let up after she turned 4.
xoxo

I have a 16 month old that just went down to one nap and a 3 year old also. 1 year old naps 11:30-2:30 and 3 year old 3:30-5:30. In a dream World is get them to nap at the same time and slowly going to push their naps together, but for now I’m in nap prison and it’s tough. They use to have the second nap together and it was great, we are all adjusting. Always adjusting.

Eva

I have two kids the same age as you…. I am also exhausted and struggling with the sleep of the youngest. In terms of the naps – I make sure we are home on the afternoon always so the baby can have one crib nap. In the mornings he sleeps in his stroller at the toddlers activities. Every day. We would all go nuts at home all day.

Kim

I have to second one moms comment on sending them to school! I send my 2.5 yr old to preschool and she gets playtime/interaction that she needs and it leaves me open to creating a more structured sleep schedule for my new born. My first I was a sleep drill Sargent and she’s a sleeping champ for it. The second one I didn’t want to become too neglectful of her sleeping needs so I committed to sending my oldest to preschool until I could get a rhythm down. Some days if I want to hold my oldest at home to do something fun I just won’t send her in to school. It’s worked amazing for us!

Granted it’s early and I could lose my mind at any point but you’re catching me on a “happy” day 😉

Kristen

My kids are 23 months apart and I think part of the answer for you could be to send Charlie to school–my son started in a 2’s program at a Montessori school right before my daughter was born (he was about to turn 2.) He would do a full day and nap at school (out like a light, every day), and it freed up the house for the baby to find her groove. It helped that it was a wonderful school and he loved going there (most of the time.) And of course, it will help with the sharing, socialization, etc. A few days a week would be so beneficial for everyone.

MissEm

Oh, I’m so jealous of everyone sending their kids to Montessori! Montessori schools are amazing, but full-day preschool here is about $15,000!

Jenn

Loved reading this! I have two kids near the same age as yours. We do stay home in the morning (which I’m not a fan of) but as soon as my son wakes up we race around outside and tire them both out for a couple hours so that they will both be tired by their afternoon naps and take them together. Sometimes on a rare day, I let my son nap in the ergo or the car for his morning nap. He is 10 months old though and does really fine with just two naps. I do experience afternoon nap jail but it’s honestly nice to relax and catch up on things (like Netflix.) And I do work 4 days a week so maybe that’s why I haven’t gone crazy yet? Good luck!

Anastasia

I love you’re blog, it’s so fun to read whether you’re talking about design or motherhood! I’ve resigned to pretty much count on us being home everyday 2-4pm for nap times…for the next few years. My kids are 1 and 3 and my littlest was born in the dead of winter which made it easier to keep a rhythm of sleep at home. But he also slept ok on the go, so he usually had one early morning nap at home, mid morning nap out and it was glorious when both kiddos would nap in the same time at the afternoon. Fortunately for us it didn’t take too much work to get naps to overlap in the afternoon – but I think it’s worth the effort to try and make that happen! Sometimes I dream of the day when we have no nap schedules to contend with! Good luck with those precious kiddos of yours!! (Especially Charlie, since I’m in the middle of toddler craziness too 🙂

Annie

I lovingly refer to this conundrum as our “nap trap”. Can’t go out in the morning bc Ingrid needs to nap and can’t go out in the afternoon bc Hayes & Ingrid both have to nap. So we are left with a lame two hour window to rush somewhere over the lunch hour….which sucks! Who wants to have a rushed lunch with a toddler and a baby? Luckily for us, Ingrid had almost dropped the morning nap and I can resume being a normal (not angry all the time) person again. Loved your honest post ??. Feels so good to know its not just us.

ESTHER

I have to say I read these parenting posts with a sick glee. You really capture the madness of it all perfectly. I have a 10 month baby girl and a 3 1/2 boy and let me tell you we only two weeks ago started to make progress on sleep. When my son was an infant, we had all our shit under control. I mean he was sleep trained at 4 months! With the 2nd one, our life circumstances are totally different… we are in a new city for one year while I do an internship and my husband is shuffling back and forth. So anyway, long story short, we just kind of let the baby do her own sleep thing. Then around 8 months it started to go really haywire. Her paci was popping out and we were popping it back in every 1 or 2 hours. I decided that was insane and weaned her off the paci. Then, naturally, we had no good soothing method so we were rocking her all hours of the night. Not god. Finally, my husband, that punk gave her a bottle out of desperation at 4 in the morning and we totally regressed… Read more »

kathy

Wait! I have a 3.5 year old and a 10 month old, and same story almost. slept trained the first at 4 months. my 10 month old nurses/rocks to sleep and still takes night feedings – like 3-4 times a night! i don’t know how to get her off of it! did you just cold turkey sleep train? and, by the way, we’re resigned to our older one falling asleep at 9:30. i think it’s the nap at preschool that’s pushing her night time sleep so late.

Chelsea

Reading this on my phone as 2.5 yo sleeps and 11 mo old nurses half asleep. I work in the mornings then come home to “nap prison” and it’s so hard some days! Now my oldest skips his nap every couple days and it’s even harder. So glad you’re human, too, Emily. Loved reading this today.

Tina

Another +1 for school for the older one! Bit of different situation because me and husband both have FT office jobs, but my 21-month old is in daycare full time while we have a nanny for extra support for the 5-month old. And all our money is spent on childcare :/

On weekends we let baby get her morning nap in the crib and one of us will take the toddler out for a little date. I can usually get them napping overlapping at least an hour in the afternoon (thank you nanny!!). Regarding nights – came close to a psychotic break because of the sleep deprivation.
Did gradual night weaning using bottles even though I’m breastfeeding and last night even though she woke and cried out a little, she slept from 7-6!! I was dreading a full blown CIO situation! Hang in there, you’re amazing and an inspiration!

Christine

Oh, man, do I know what you’re going through. I suck every bit as much. And you know what? I’m still a good mom in my own right. So are you.

Abbie

First, thanks for being so honest!!! This too shall pass. I don’t have 2 (yet) but I have to agree with the other commenters that school totally made life easier and better for the whole family. Our little guy is almost 2 and goes 9-12 at a little church school nearby. He gets a lot of social interaction and a ton of energy out, then comes home for lunch and a solid nap. There’s no way I could fathom adding to our little fam without the structure and stimulation school provides (even just 3 hours a day). Is there somewhere nearby you could send Charlie, even just to have the nanny with the baby for a few hours?

Kikki

I agree with everyone who recommends school – Montessori was a lifesaver. In my case everyone had to be flexible and both kids had to be able to sleep anywhere (thank you double stroller). I was a single mum (left ex when baby was 5 months), I worked part time, and I woulda gone nuts at home in our tiny studio. Going nuts wasn’t an option as there was nobody else who could care for my kids (no family around etc). You’re really important. Care for your kids (obviously) but do whatever stops you going nuts. This might mean committing to sleep prison. It might mean sleep training and/or transitioning to full time formula. Maybe the nanny drives around while they both sleep in the car. Or you have a night by yourself in a hotel to catch up on sleep and sanity every so often. My kids are 16 and 14 and delightful, I have remained sane and have an awesome career. So I would recommend doing what stops you going nuts to anyone. Finally, I want to salute your honesty. For me, this phase was toughest during the times I felt totally alone. When everyone else’s kids were… Read more »

tess

You look beautiful in the blue dress.
I found the Dr Sears books helpful with many issues, when my son was tiny. Son also had GERD, we didn’t sleep for about 6 years. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Suzi

my first was 2 1/2 when the second was born. I call that first year “the dark days”.

Survival is the goal.

I thought my first had a mental disorder. And now the second is 2 1/2 and I think the same thing. Luckily the older one, now 5, has recovered for the most part.

The napping this was always a mess.

susie

I say this as a longtime reader with the utmost sympathy for these early days of having two kids: probably not the wisest thing to make the location/schedule of Charlie’s play dates public.

Erin

You are doing fine. I have three boys (aged 2,4,6), and my second was the hardest. It is hard, and coping strategies have to be learned the hard way…with lots of mistakes. The best thing you can do is lower your standards. For example, “napping prison” is something you created in your mind. Staying home, learning the ropes of life with two babies, resting lots, and playing with the same toys day in day out are EXACTLY what you should be doing right now. Your toddler, once he adjusts, will be perfectly happy, and will learn to play in a more focussed and emersed way. And bits of TV are ok. Sometimes, like anybody, Charlie will just want to zone out, and you can use that short time to regain your balance. Lower your standards, that’s the answer to a happy mom and a peaceful family!

I have two, 2.5 years apart. Back when my youngest was small enough to nap, we’d do any errands/play dates, etc in the morning, while the 2 YO was happiest, and baby would sleep in a car seat or stroller. Then we’d try to be home in the afternoon for naps for both, since my older only needed one afternoon nap at that time. So if you can, get things done in the non napping hours of Charlie and you’ll only compromise on napping for one, not both. And hope Elliot can sleep in a car seat or on the go in other ways.

Katie

Em! In calling you Em because I feel like you’re my long lost sister from another mister. I’ve been reading your blog for many years. I have a boy about to turn 2 next week and another going on 5 months. So we are almost in the same boat, age-wise. And temperament wise, too. My toddler acts like a crazy loon who escaped from an asylum and my baby is the sweetest, chillest “precious little angel face” (yes, those words have escaped my lips on many occasion). My Mom asked me last week if I read your last blog post about the kids & I said, “Yea, at 3am,” because why would I be asleep at 3am? And she said, “Don’t you feel better knowing she has a nanny and still doesn’t have it together?” Ha! And actually yes, while I hate it for you it’s also a bit refreshing when people admit their parenting struggles. My first was a horrible baby, up every forty-five minutes. Yea. My neighbors and co-workers referred to me as, “That girl who’s baby never sleeps.” We tried so hard to do everything by the book. We finally Ferberized him at 7 months when I… Read more »

Janet

Love you Emily … for being among THE most sane :))

Sadie

Emily
As a mom of two school aged boys I dimly remember the sleep deprivation you are living with right now but it was torture. Mine are close in age so they were on the same schedule give or take. But I do remember that our lives revolved around those naps and we didn’t deviate because we all were miserable by dinner time if we didn’t cater to the almighty nap. I think maybe keep the baby’s nap time sacred and have Charlie play all he wants at home. I’m not convinced all of these toddler play classes are really worth it. Just my humble opinion because I’m a huge supporter of SLEEP! For the adults and the babes.

Oh, I feel for you! I have 5 kids and I’m pregnant with the 6th, and I have to say the thing I am least looking forward to is the return to napping prison (perfect name for it, btw!!). Here’s my best advice–you absolutely have to stick to a schedule. My children all had very different sleep habits, but all of them did SO MUCH BETTER on a schedule. I hated it, and I tried different things, and some were more flexible than others, but the bottom line was that sleep begets sleep, and if I didn’t protect their naps during the daytime, we always ALWAYS paid for it at night. I know it seems awful to cut such huge wedges out of your day (and it is!), but it’s the only way I ever found to ensure that all of us slept well at night and that I could hang on to my sanity. I don’t know how much flexibility you have to work from home, but that totally saved me–I switched to working completely from home after my third was born and it made all the difference in the world. With a well-rested baby, I could count on… Read more »

Kristen

Emily. The title sir is not an abbreviation. You are literally the only person in the world who thinks it is. For the love of all that is holy, please stop putting a period after Sir. “Sir Instagram” is correct. “Sir. Instagram” is not only incorrect, but it is also freaking weird.

Anonymous

No need to be rude! They’re two separate sentences.

Jane

Uh if you took time to actually read before making rude comments, you’d see that they are separate thoughts and sentences.

Martha

That’s really something. All you got from this post was the opportunity to INCORRECTLY nitpick Emily’s syntax/punctuation.

Elizabeth

I was on lock down for years for nap time with both my kiddos (22 months apart). But that is how I kept sane… and I was stay at home so I am of no help to you :(.

What I can say thought is that it DOES get easier… once they catch up to each other and can play together without you having to be this clown jumping around to entertain them… then it gets easy… But I won’t sugar coat it…. the first years are HARD!!!!

BTW my kiddos are now 9 and 7.

Beth

Nap prison it is. I feel like my kids are in a nap relay, one goes down just as the other wakes. They might as well be passing off the nap baton. It’s sucks but I just keep telling myself that it’s short term. Oh and if you think 2 is bad let me tell you it is. But also, 3 is So. Much. Worse.

Jen

My kids are 20 months apart and the different napping times didn’t keep us inside since my son would just sleep in a carrier while we followed his big sister around at the playground/art classes etc. I never knew when exactly he napped, he just did. Babywearing saved us. We found going heavy with activities in the morning thru lunch, and early afternoon being a general siesta time for all works. If the older one isn’t napping it’s a great quiet time for reading/drawing. Or if the baby’s sleeping and it’s nice outside, I’d squeeze in a little one-on-one time with a slow walk with my toddler. Love that dress!

Jen

ps. to be clear, I meant a one-on-one (figuratively) with my littlest in the carrier or stroller snoozing (obviously not leaving the babe alone!) 😉

Misha

I’ll add a second voice that wearing the second (and now I’m wearing our third) baby in a carrier worked great for us. It was the only way we could make sure our toddler was properly stimulated/socialized and that our infant got the sleep he needed. It worked great for us because we could get out and about, I could be hands-free to help the older one, and when the baby got tired, he would just happily drift off to sleep. He actually slept more and longer in the carrier than he did at home in his crib. Also, “quiet time” (alone time in bed for 30 or so minutes) in the afternoons ensured both toddler and baby got a solid nap in a bed. Hope your sleep woes get sorted out soon! We had our third baby last week, so I feel your desperation for sleep! It’s so hard to be tired!

Rebecca

I feel the need to tell you not to be so hard on yourself! Yes, it’s our job to teach them to sleep, but some children are way more difficult than others. My first would not nap, no matter what I did. There was one day when she was 3 mos old when she didn’t sleep for more than 10 minutes the entire day, (I tried everything!). Not even my MIL (who works with babies) could get her to nap or sleep regularly. She’s 4 now and is smart, kind, funny, AND a great sleeper. So don’t feel like you’re not doing your job well! You are!

Nora

I have 4 kids, all about two years apart. Someone gave me the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” when I had the first and it became our sleep Bible. It covers naps, sleep patterns by age, night waking, sleep training. Overall theme: if you want good sleepers you need to put sleep first. Which means being held hostage by the nap and bedtime schedules. But the sleep habits they form now will carry on as they get older. And once they learn to sleep well it’s such a load off you. (My oldest is nearly 14 and youngest is almost 7 and they are still awesome sleepers). As for the nursing, I worked full time as a lawyer while nursing all the kids for about a year each. The low milk is because you are tired and not taking the time to rebuild your supply. Pumping sucks (pardon the pun) and at work it wasn’t always an option so we supplemented with formula during the week. As a result, my milk would be low at the end of the week, so I treated the weekend like nursing boot camp. No missed feedings. No formula. Again, you are sort of… Read more »

Emily K

Have you tried a white noise machine for the kids? If not it’s certainly worth a shot. Simple ones are less than $20 and are better than ones with lights, etc as that’s distracting. Get one for both kiddos.

Donette

We just used a small fan. Pointed it away from the bed and voila! Cheap white noise. One kids still likes to sleep with a fan and the other has decided she prefers quiet. But for years, that was our life-saver when a loud toddler was playing or, heaven forbid, the doorbell rang and the dog went bonkers.

I am just having to laugh as I read this. We have a 3 year old boy and I swear to god, the mixing food thing is on another level. But the “breaking” food thing is beyond – cookie breaks into two and he flies off the handle. But my good friend witnessed this entire insanity last week on FaceTime and said calmly- he sounds tired {and hungry}. #nailedit

Ashley

Everyone is different, but for me a schedule was critical. Did we follow the schedule everyday? No. We aren’t robots. But everything seemed to go another if baby was on a schedule 3/4 of the time. Later on, especially when baby was only taking 1-2 naps (at 2 ish hours each) was when it was much easier to break out of nap prison. When the routine was there I knew I could take older kids to the library or park while baby slept (husband works from home). And during the naps where outings aren’t scheduled the older kids got used to finding something to do (snacks, reading, art, movie time). Best wishes at finding the perfect balance for your family.

My two girls have roughly the same age gap as your two – they’re exactly 24 months (and 4 days) apart, and my older daughter (now 3 and a half) stopped napping at home right around the 2 year mark. It’s so tough! I did choose to stay home with the infant during her nap times to protect her nap schedule. And yes, napping prison totally sucks, but if she didn’t get those naps we were all miserable at night, especially during those first few months. An infant that sleeps better/more during the day will also sleep better at night. My second was a WAY worse sleeper than my first, which was only compounded if we missed or skipped naps. Also, I’ve observed that the ability of a particular baby to be “flexible” is really dependent on said baby’s personality. My oldest daughter was way more flexible when it came to sleeping and napping as a baby – she could easily nap in her car seat or stroller, and she would frequently nap in loud or busy environments. My youngest daughter? Nope, no way. Only in her crib. Even now. The napping prison was really only a problem for us on… Read more »

Oh Lord, I remember those days. When my first was a baby I remember us both sitting in the rocker just crying and crying, her for who knows why and me out of pure frustration and exhaustion. Melt downs happen! I will say over all the second was easier just because I didn’t second guess everything but like you I had much less milk. Mine are now 10 and 15 so the good news is you will survive. The bad news is there will be a lot more meltdowns. But you handled this one well, stop, access, make a plan, regroup, execute (maybe more than once)
and hopefully keep everyone’s sanity. Good luck, this Mom thing is a hard gig!

Danielle

Nap time & bed time can definitely become a total time suck. I have four kids, ages 2-13, and my rule of thumb is to ALWAYS combine nap times. So the baby would go down first, then I would get the toddler down and they would sleep AT THE SAME TIME. It was a sanity saver. Nap time isn’t only about them needing sleep. Nap time is an important time for YOU to reset and be ready for whatever they throw at you for the rest of the day. My family KNOWS how sacred nap time is in this house, as this has been 13 years in the making. When my little ones stop napping, I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself. Ha ha.

JB

Is this a person with a nanny whining about caring for 2 kids? I just can’t. Same person who is still too selfish and fame hungry to back burner her own ambitions to care for her own kids the right way. Just my initial thoughts upon trying to read this.

Jane

“The right way”?! Really?? Because working hard to provide for your family is the wrong way? Unfortunately not everyone is as lucky as you to be able to stay home and not work. Some of us have to! Way to support a working mom.

Lilli

Wow, a time traveler from the 1950’s, shaming a working mom! Emily has to work, she owns a business for god’s sake 😀 And it hasn’t been mentioned, but she’s probably the main breadwinner of the family, not sure what her husband does, but I remember him having his own business too. And it’s expensive to live in LA, they probably need those paychecks.

As they say, “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other”.

Mary

Nanny plus preschool here, with two kids. Oh yes.

Anna

And here I thought the “right way”, to raise our kids is with the courage to believe they can have it all, the work ethic to make it happen, the humility to know that they won’t be able to do it alone, and the kindness to lift others in pursuit of the same.

Amen sister! OP probably lives in Arkansas.

barbara

I keep the toddler at home. The baby only does one nap now, at 1pm, and we just came home so that she has her nap in her room. And I have time to play with my oldest, we just chill out in the house.

Elizabeth

Totally understand the feeling of nap prison! Mine are 20 months apart and for the first year of my second one’s life I felt like we never left the house because someone was almost always napping! For us it did get easier when the baby went to two naps a day and the toddler was at one nap a day, but it’s definitely intense there for a while. The only thing I did that worked well for us was to put them both down at the same time for the afternoon nap. That gave me a break from both of them and got us into a routine that everyone naps at the same time, which is still working today with a two year old and almost four year old. Oh and we invited friends to our house to play during that first year so the toddler could play and engage while the baby slept in his crib. It is hard, and I can’t imagine how you juggle it all with a career and clients as well, but it does get better. Just do the best you can and call for help when you can’t do it anymore!

Kelly

You need to read this: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/14/some-babies-are-just-easier-than-others/

It’s so true! I think you start to realize this after you have two kids–but it’s nice to be officially reminded. Sure, all kids benefit from routine and maybe a little more help with sleeping, but could be your little one is just a bit tough in that department. What I’m trying to say: it’s not your fault!!

Heather

I second this article! A great read, and oh so true. Just keep up the mother’s mantra “This too shall pass, this too shall pass, this too shall pass…….”

wendy

we had 2 under 2, both because we got off to a late start with the kiddos and i wasn’t getting any younger, and because we totally thought we hit the jackpot with the best baby ever with our first… until our second was 6 months old and started grabbing at toys and our then 27 month old became a total bitch. for a while i actually thought she was ill, she was throwing such fits I had never experienced before. anyway, we gave in to the prison of both kids napping in their own cribs on the same schedule every day. it worked for us, as we desperately needed to know that we would get some pretty much guaranteed down time, or productive time, or whatever we decided to do with nap time. but our families thought we were nuts for being so scheduled. when they were little, we used tricks from “the happiest baby on the block” with white noise, pacifiers, and jiggling them to sleep for naps. we were pretty much proponents of tough love with sleeping once they were 5 or 6 months old, letting them cry, going in every 15 minutes to pat their back.… Read more »

Lily

ahh! that sounds so frustrating. I don’t have any kids myself, but I do have a friend who had a lot of trouble with her baby’s sleep habits. she met with a pediatric sleep specialist who have her a complete schedule and list of rules to follow (very personalized) for bedtime. it has totally worked and now her baby sleeps 8hrs a night every night!
good luck!!

Sarah

Dearest E, the domination of naps and tantrums does not last forever. I promise!! Skim the chapter that is the right age for your baby in “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”. A friend who is a post-part in doula and whose husband is a dr recommended it to me when I had my 1st. I’m on baby #4 and I swear the book is never wrong. I think it will tell you that E’s nap should be at 9 and 1 (and maybe at 5 for 30 mins?). This sounds like a lot I KNOW but how nice does a full night sleep sound?? You are a great mom and are making us all feel better knowing we are all having the same struggles. (My 1 yr old was up 4 times last night with a fever and I have been rocking him for HOURS while he cries and sweats and snots.) XOXO

Emily, this post is one reason I love you and your blog so much!!! Keeping it real even when it’s uncomfortable.

To answer your question, I stayed in napping prison. Mine are 2 years apart. I started noticing that my toddler was so much easier to deal/reason with when he got his sleep. And I was more sane when I had a break. My sister never enforced naps or bedtime and her kids acted up at the same time everyday. Right around afternoon naps. I know it stinks and it’s hard to go literally anywhere, but the kids grow fast and nap less as they get bigger. Hang in there, chin up!

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