Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Time of Transition

I keep thinking you all are probably in dire need of an update on the Big Major No More Naps Change going on in my house--BIG CHANGE YOU ALL!, and I'll be busy doing something and then suddenly think, Wow, I should really write an update post on this new no-naps thing; oh my God, my whole life has been turned upside down and I should fill people in!

Then I realize: a.) AS IF you all are just sitting around unable to function because you are so consumed with curiosity over how my household is doing with no naps, and also: b.) it's only been three days. Two, really, since we're only in the middle of day three right now. TWO DAYS, PEOPLE. Does it surprise you to hear it feels like a million years? Especially right at about 2:30 in the afternoon. That's when it really feels like a million years, people.

No, no, I'm kidding. (Sort of.) Operation No Naps is not all bad. We've had two good-to-great bedtimes, one for each day of no naps, which was obviously the goal of this whole project. (Last night at bedtime Genevieve threw an overtired tantrum about a coloring book and cried for half an hour, but she was still asleep by eight. Monday night she went to sleep immediately with no problems at all.) And my girls are touchingly excited each day as they go up to "quiet time," thrilled to discover what quiet games/activities I have laid out for them that day. (Note: I predict the novelty of that to wear off in less than a week. I can hear it now: "Mama, I'm TIRED of those puzzles! I did those already!" But for these first few days of no naps, they loooooove it.)

Both girls have followed the rules perfectly so far. (Play quietly; no coming out or calling for me unless you have to use the bathroom or are bleeding; I will come get you when it's time to be done.) Also, I now have greater freedom in the afternoon if I need to go somewhere, because our afternoon "starts" at 2 p.m., not 4. Today, for instance, we had a park playdate with friends all morning so could not run errands, but this afternoon we can still go to the bank, pick up photos, and grab a gallon of milk, all before dinner. (Although dinner has now reverted to our former, early time since bedtime is back to 7:30.)

But. People, our afternoon "STARTS" AT 2 P.M. AND NOT 4. Did you get that? The clock strikes two and we embark on an entirely new portion of the day, a whole additional stretch of time for things like bike rides, park visits, the splash pool, arts and crafts projects, the library, the grocery store. All of which sounds just fine, until you remember that up until three days ago, I filled that stretch of time with, oh, SITTING STILL AND INGESTING FOOD AND DRINK NOT FIT FOR SMALL CHILDREN WHILE SURFING THE INTERNET. OK, I cooked, cleaned, and sometimes even exercised, too, but by and large I conserved energy after a busy morning of kid-wrangling. Just as it should be.

Also, quiet time is only an hour. I do know moms who enforce longer quiet times--even up to two hours--but that seems like a stretch to me, and so far I've begun with the more conventional one-hour limit. And this is painful, I won't lie. One hour? Are you kidding me? What, you answer a few e-mails, return a phone call or two, and start dinner prep, and it's over! What kind of a "naptime" is that? (Oh yeah: it's not. Forgot.) It's bringing back traumatic memories of Julia's early infancy, when she never napped more than 20 minutes at a time, a torturous, vicious loop of racing to get even one tiny self-care task completed before the baby cried again: shower? eat? go to the bathroom? Ready, set, GO! GO! GO!

But guess what? I know this much is true: the time during which my girls are home during the day is limited, anyway, and, though it seems weirdly impossible right now, "naptime" will no longer carry any meaning, will no longer be a defining label in our household, an iconic part of our days and our lives. Kids grow, and naptime--or no naptime--doesn't matter anymore, because they're not home at "naptime" anymore anyway. It will be one more stage we've passed through, like nursing, like night-waking, like finger foods.

But I have a feeling that Mama will always need some quiet time.

Gotta run: my hour's up. Go! Go! Go!


donna said...

So glad to hear it's working out! (And while I'm not up at night wondering when your next post will be up, it is always nice to see a new post when I open your blog!)

It is a time of transition, but isn't that the way of parenting? I always tell people that the only thing you can count on is that things will change. (Does J's school have naptime?)

It gets easier. My son has figured out that 'quiet time' is just as much (or more?) for me as it is for him. The other day, I was working from home in the afternoon and he 'got it' and never bothered me once - just played independently.

Though, it gets harder in other ways, too. And that's why you have the blog, right?

Mnmom said...

I have a friend who was in the National Guard during her children's early years. She used to LOVE to get called up and function as a flight nurse in Iraq for several weeks.

Get that??

To escape the rigors of motherhood she would GO TO WAR!!!