I can tell it’s getting to be nap time because you’re getting into everything. You want to play in the grass. You want to draw with the chalk. You want to go inside. You want to go outside. You can’t make up your mind. Plus, it’s 2:30 and it’s been 3.5 hours since you started your last nap, so by the clock, it’s nap time.
We came to your room to play. You tried to get your Fisher Price phone out of the toy bin but the receiver was stuck and you didn’t feel like digging it out. You brought me a story to read, but we only made it through 5 pages before you tried to tear off the cover. We tried a diaper change and you dissolved into tears and a fit of kicking legs. Definitely nap time.
Curtains drawn. Lights off. Noise machine on. Fan on for when the noise machine turns of. (Who made the white noise option stop at 59 minutes?)
I cuddle you and we sit in the rocking chair. You know it’s nap time and you don’t fight it. We rock back and forth as you roll your head from side to side on my chest, making us both sweatier in the process. It’s a cool day in mid-August, and luckily it’s not in the 90s. But it’s still warm.
We practice your words.
I repeat them after you, one by one.
I say them again. You don’t repeat them after me.
When you were younger, I used to hold you for your entire nap. The full hour or so. It was easier than watching you fight sleep – battling yourself for some rest. For a few weeks (around 8 months) I tried to let you settle yourself at nap times. The pediatrician said it would help work out your overnight feedings. It didn’t change anything, and watching you toss and turn was miserable for the both of us, so I gave up and held you. Medically, probably not what I should have done. But what are the better memories – holding you, or listening to you cry?
Only once you were a year old did I feel more comfortable letting you work it out on your own. I didn’t feel like you felt like I was abandoning you, but even still, I would stay in your room until you were actually asleep. It was when a repairman came during your try-to-get-you-to-sleep time that I had to make the decision to give up on all the work I’d put in to get you to sleep and bring you to the door, or to put you in your crib and go meet him. I chose the latter, and after 12 minutes of crying and fussing, you were out.
Ever since, that’s how we’ve been doing nap time and it’s helpful for both of us. I rock you a bit, let you relax, then put you in your crib with a pat and a kiss and tell you it’s time to take a nap. Sometimes you are already asleep, sometimes you fuss, but you are usually asleep in under 5 minutes. I try not to get self-congratulatory that you’re capable of settling yourself but sometimes I smile and am happy that it’s worked.
You push your knees into my belly and nuzzle your head into my collarbone. Then you say “Wow.”
Wow, indeed, little one.