My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Twin toddler nap time

I'm not exactly sure how to write this post.  Here's what's up - 

The girls are having trouble with their naps.  Teeny Tiny is still very much wanting two naps, but Middie Biddie barely wants to take one.  It used to be that their first nap was 90 minutes, almost exactly, every day.  Then the second nap would be about 3 hours later and last anywhere from 30-120 minutes.

But now Middie Biddie is waking up after an hour and she's stuck in the crib until Teeny Tiny wakes up sometime in the next 30 minutes.  Ok, fine, no big deal.  But then Teeny Tiny is rubbing her eyes and wanting to go back to bed after about 2 hours of awake time and Middie Biddie won't let her.

I've been trying holding out until Middie Biddie also demonstrates that she's tired, and today I said screw it and put them both down after only 90 minutes of awake time because Teeny Tiny just seemed exhausted.  It seems that no matter what I do, the same thing happens - no second nap because Middie Biddie wants to chat so they play instead.  They end up spending over 2 hours in the crib because they're playing, will occasionally nod off for 5-10 minutes so I think a nap is going to happen, and then more playing.

Now here's where I'm torn.  On the one hand, they are spending a significant amount of their day in their cribs being ignored by me.  Especially if they do fall asleep right around the time I'm about to give up and go get them which adds another 1-2 hours to their crib time.  On the other hand, I'm not hearing any complaints from them either.  They are happily playing with each other, babbling back and forth and sometimes getting some rest too.

Is this awful of me?  To leave them "alone" in their cribs for so much of the day?  Is playing there much different from playing out here in the living room? 

When it comes to playing out here, they don't interact with each other a whole lot, they mostly focus on their toys and on me.  In the cribs, it's full on sisterly bonding.  They throw their loveys out of their cribs within minutes and are only left with each other to play with.

Here are a few highlights from todays "nap".

One day I love that because they are twins and keep each other company, we don't have the crib problems that other parents have and I can leave them in there a little bit longer because they won't get unhappy about it, and the next day I'm feeling guilty that I'm not spending more time with them. So what the hell is a mom to do?  Enjoy the fact that they can spend a couple of hours perfectly happy without me and do all the things a person wants to do with spare time?  Or do I feel like crap that they are spending so much time confined to these little spaces without me there and beating myself up trying to figure out how to get them to use that time for sleep?   These are not rhetorical questions! 


  1. Just out of curiosity, why do they both have to be in the cribs if only one is truly napping? Honestly, I would take the one who isn't napping out and give them some one on one time, let them play out in the common area with you, etc. especially since it seems she is distracting her sister who does want to sleep. And I don't have twins, but I did have 3 under 3 at one point and while having everyone napping at once was bliss, it gets harder and harder to coordinate the older they get. My 4 year old still takes a solid 2 1/2 hour nap each day, but my 3 year-old is pretty much done, and has been for a while, so I take it as an opportunity to have one-on-one time with her. I honestly wouldn't force a single sleep schedule on them if their nap needs are starting to diverge. That's just me though. But good luck! It will all sort itself out regardless :)

  2. I'm envious that they have each other to play. My son will ONLY sleep (at night) in his crib. If I try to put him in the crib, even for a nap, he complains. IF big IF there.. IF he decides he needs a nap during the day, then it has to be on my bed and I have to be there with him. When I try to get up, he wakes up and cries. Ugh. So, yes, enjoy that they enjoy their time together.

  3. If it were me, I would push the first nap later and kind of force a longer awake time. I make my kids kind of compromise on napping. Luckily we don't seem to be in this kind of situation where their needs are SO different, but they don't exactly align in terms of their sleep needs. So I keep one up a little past his awake zone and I put one in the crib a little before her sleepy zone. Then Apple falls asleep first and Banana hangs out for about 20-30min before falling asleep, and they both wake up at about the same time. We are transitioning to 1 nap now and I plan to gradually keep pushing that first nap later and later until it doesn't make sense to have a second nap at all.

    It's not so bad to leave them in the crib but if they aren't taking that nap, or if they are only eventually falling asleep after 2 hours, then that probably means they don't really need that nap. I stopped looking for "sleepy signs" at about 6 months and just made a schedule that seemed to make the happiest babies for the longest times of the day, if that makes sense. I personally look sleepy at various times of the day but I don't always need a nap, and I think the same thing is for kids even though their sleep needs are higher. Napping after 90 minutes of being awake seems too early for me after infancy, and sometimes if one of my kids is rubbing his/her eyes at 90 minutes people will say "oh s/he is so sleepy! nap time?" and I'm like "aw, so cute little sleepy face," and just ignore these well-meaning nap-related comments, or if they get pushy I say "they nap when I tell them to nap and not before!" (I think people think I am a drill sergeant here, but it's worth it)

    Right now they are awake minimum 3 hours at a time, and it is stretching to 4 or 5. They do get sleepy and there is a down point during their awake time, at which point we usually read books or do something very interactive and engaging but low energy, until they pick up again and are ready to crawl away and do things.

    Like I said, this is just me, and I am a big advocate of telling the babies what to do as opposed to letting them tell me what they want to do. I recognize their needs, evaluate them, and act accordingly... but to me, they are babies, they don't really know what is best (neither do I but I have more life experience and better reasoning skills).

  4. Alrighty, here are my thoughts:

    First, I know moms with kids of ages all over the place, and they nap at different times. And it actually kind of works out that then when one is napping, the other gets one-on-one quality mom time! I know how much I need Seedling's nap time to get stuff done around the house, but it sounds like it's worth trying. Most sleep experts will say that cribs are for sleeping, not for playing. I know how important it is to you to help your girls have good sleep experiences and your fears of insomnia down the road. I'm not saying that this is going to cause insomnia but it may lead to other sleep issues if they think crib time = playtime instead of associating cribs = sleep.

    All that being said: I don't think you are a bad mom for doing what you have been doing. I know that as a mom, sometimes you do things because of the convenience. Because as a mom, you have to get stuff done AND have a few moments to yourself. You just have to make a decision on what is most important, getting the uninterrupted time or getting the girls to take their naps? As you pointed out, they are happy, warm, dry, fed - all their needs are met! So don't beat yourself up. the girls are around 18 months, right? I know that that can be a time of changes in sleep habits. And since the girls are individuals, their sleep needs may not always be the same. As a person with insomnia I am very aware of how frustrating it is for someone to tell me "Just fall asleep" and I'm like "But I'm not tired!". Seedling is currently starting to give up her morning naps (come and goes, which is a normal part of the transition) which, at 9.5 months is a little younger than most but my attempts to force her to nap just result in 2 hours of crying, followed by 15 minutes of sleeping.

    I also don't think there is any thing wrong with being "confined" - from everything else I know it seems like they are developing normally. People tell me that baby wearing is going cause all sorts of delays to Seedling, yet she is crawling and standing and doing all sorts of normal things.

    Since it has taken some effort to get Seedling to sleep in her crib I, personally, wouldn't let her play in her crib because I want to make sure that crib = sleep for her. I don't use a playpen because it's too much like a crib. (And it is my go-to crib when traveling)

    Anyway, those are my thoughts, take 'em or leave 'em or flambe 'em - whatever you like :)

  5. If they like being in the crib leave it be.


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