Holding onto naptime: Holding on too hard?

Mar 4, 2008 at 3:00 a.m. ET

Sunshine is on the cusp of ending afternoon naps. I am alternately ready to accept this and desperate for them to continue.

I know that some kids give up their afternoons much sooner than Sunshine. I know I should count myself lucky that they have continued this long, and truly, I do. That hour to an hour and a half makes such a difference to the balance of my day and to Sunshine's mood that I really am loathe to see them go. I certainly won't encourage them to end.

I still make sure we are home by 1:00 p.m. every afternoon. I still don't schedule anything until after 3:00 p.m. That two-hour window is precious, preserved time. We have our naptime routine. Sunshine picks a book and we read for a few minutes, snuggled up in bed. I bring my sudoku puzzle and work on it while Sunshine settles down. Then I go downstairs and try to refocus the rest of the day and Sunshine either falls asleep. Or not.

I suspect that the issue of Sunshine being my last baby is as much an issue here as anything. I want to hold on to those bits of early childhood as long as I can. Heck, I still sneak in when she's asleep to watch her breathe and take her picture.

Naptime has always been one of my favorite times with Sunshine. It's a little reprieve in the day. When she was tiny, I would nap with her. I loved just being with her, just as I loved being with the boys in the same way when they were tiny. It was different with Sunshine, though. That last-baby thing.

When the boys gave up their afternoon naps, I instituted quiet time in their room. It was a way for me to still have that afternoon break while respecting that naps were no longer needed. Of course I could do that with Sunshine, and probably will – when the end of naps hits me over the head with finality. Until then, I'll continue to encourage the napping, and be thankful for every one of them.