In our family, Casey works a full time job and, thus far, I am a full time stay at home mom. Being at home all day with three children certainly has its benefits. For one, I always dreamed about being a stay at home mom when I grew up. After three years on the job I can still say I love being a stay at home mom. However, reality is far from dreamy. Its not all fun and games. Midway through the day I am in need of a break. Unbeknownst to them, my children need a break too.
Baby monkey has always been a great sleeper - aside from her colicky beginning - and I give her a bottle of milk and leave her to play in her crib and when she is done she goes to sleep. No worries there.
The two male monkeys on the other hand have always been trickier. They are fourteen months apart and share a room. They both sleep in toddler beds. To say we've had a few issues with them and their bedroom is understating the situation just a smidgen. The light switch gets turned on in the middle of the night so they can play (I've duct taped it down but toddlers are fast learners...). The curtains/blinds have been destroyed. My subsequent attempt at creating darkness in their room by putting up a tinting film on their window was ruined when they discovered how to peel it off. The floor vent cover gets removed. The toys get dumped and thrown at each other which results in lots of crying and more throwing (I've since removed all toys from their room - either into their locked closet or into another room so that their bedroom is a place for sleep only). Toddler beds get flipped over and stacked in an attempt at making a "house."
It was Casey's idea to stagger the boys' naps so one was asleep when I put the other down. My thoughts were skeptical and I wanted my kids to all go down for nap at the same time. Often, I wait to eat my lunch until they are all napping just to get to eat in peace. But, I dutifully tested this suggestion. I didn't exactly have a better idea. At first, it didn't appear that it was going to work. Our two year old would go down for the first shift and he would cry by the door and then fall asleep there so that I couldn't get in to put the three year old to bed without waking him. Then when the two year old would manage to stay in bed, the three year old was going through a stage where he insisted he didn't need a nap at all and would wake up his younger brother to play. This was a particularly exasperating and tiring phase. I continued with the trial and error process. After all, I was quite determined to get my break and not have crabby kids at 5pm, hours before their bedtime. And, then, all of a sudden it started working. The two year old began sleeping in his bed. I would sneak in and lay down the three year old and then he too would fall asleep. Its been working this way for nap and at night for almost a week now and I couldn't be more thrilled.
Moral of the story: perseverance and consistency save the day...you won't know what day but it will be some day.