Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Quit Complaining, All the Rest of You

You know, I wonder what it would be like to have babies and/or small children who nap past, oh, 2:15 in the afternoon. After going down at one.

Every day when I put them down I think, Today they'll take good long naps for sure. It's dark and cloudy out/she's got a cold/it was a tiring preschool morning/she skipped her morning nap/she woke up early today/she seems tired. For SURE they'll nap more than 90 minutes tops. FOR SURE.

Does this make me an eternal optimist? Because really, I'm not. It must make me deluded, then, or, more likely, very, very desperate.

Because every day by 2 p.m. I start to hear, over the monitors, the snifflings and yawns and sighs and turning-overs that signify the beginning of the end of nap. And every day I slap my forehead (well, figuratively, I mean) and go, DAMNIT! Sixty (seventy, sixty-five, eighty, whatever) minutes?! That's IT?!

When Genevieve was a newborn I had high hopes for her napping abilities. She was an easier infant, by far, than Julia had been, and she seemed to sleep better, and harder. And for awhile there she did sleep significantly longer than Julia ever did--usually 90 minutes per nap, morning and afternoon, when Julia as an infant OFTEN topped out at half an hour. (To think: that a tiny infant napping for three hours TOTAL in one day seems like a lot to me!) But Genevieve doesn't usually nap that long anymore. An hour, maybe a bit more, sometimes 90 minutes if I'm lucky. Occasionally she skips the morning one (already!) and then never makes up for it by napping longer in the afternoon. All of that feels very familiar. It goes without saying that neither of my babies ever, EVER took that third, late-afternoon nap. (I've heard of this alleged third nap, and have even met other moms who had no idea that some babies DON'T take it. But to me, it's a bit like hearing stories about life in an exotic foreign country. I'll have to take your word for it, but it sure sounds farfetched.)

Once in a blue moon one of the girls--usually Julia--will throw me an utter curve ball, like the other week when she napped till 3:40 and I was convinced I must have accidentally overdosed her on children's Benadryl. On those days, I marvel that there are people out there for whom children taking naps until 3 p.m. or later is completely normal. I sort of hate those people.

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