My boy-o is nearly three and a half, and lately, it's been a real struggle to get him to fall asleep at a normal time of the evening (ie. before 9 p.m.!). So, I've been struggling and wrestling and wrestling and struggling with the idea of stopping the midday nap. Because I LOVE the midday nap. It is my only me-time. I guard it selfishly, refusing to use it to tidy or do laundry or dishes or anything else resembling work. It is the only time in the day that is mine and mine alone. L. leaves for work at 7:15 a.m.-ish every morning. She gets home at 5:45 p.m.-ish everyday. It is then time for supper and dishes and bathtime and storytime and cuddle time etc., until about 9 p.m.-ish. Then I talk to L. about her day and vice versa. Then I drop to sleep by about 10 p.m.-ish, and will wake with one kid or the other up an average of 3 or 4 times per night. So you see - I NEED that time. NEED it. Really, really NEED it. Without it I might shrivel up and die. Or get arrested for homicide. You get the picture.
I know that other parents of non-nappers have instituted what's known as the midday "quiet time," where their wee beloveds are deposited in their rooms to quietly occupy theirselves. I have my reservations about the feasibility of this option for my wee beloved, given his disdain for all things involving quiet and self-occupation - but I decide to try it anyways.
The following is a play-by-play of today's "quiet time":
12:30 p.m. - I deposit Oliver in his room with a load of books and small toys and let him know that I am going to put his sister down for a nap and then come back to check on him. I let him know that he needs to be resting and playing quietly.
12:33 p.m. - I've finished feeding Lucy and am rocking her to sleep. "Mama!" "Mama!" "Mama!" Oliver shouts to me from his bedroom. "Mama!" "Are you done yet?!" I try ignoring him and hoping he'll go away. I should know better. The little voice gets less and less little as the minutes drag by.
12:35 p.m. Since Lucy is clearly not going to sleep in the midst of her brother's cacophony, I put her down in the crib (wailing commences) and run to tend to her brother. I let him know that it is not time to chat with Mama, nor will I be coming back to check on him again. "It is time to play quietly, ON YOUR OWN." I tell him sternly.
12:38 p.m. Lucy wails herself to sleep in my arms and I put her down in her crib. Walking past Oliver's room, I hear: "Mama? Is quiet time over yet?" I sit down at the kitchen table with my netbook (which I am currently typing to you all on), and let him know that I'm done talking with him and that I will come and get him when quiet time is over.
12:40 p.m. "Mama!" "Mama!" "MAMA!!!!" "I'm ALL ALONE!" His voice is starting to sound like fingernails on a chalkboard. How can I get it to stop?
12:43 p.m. "Mama?" The voice is little and mournful now. "Mama - Can I come out now?"
12:45 p.m. "Mama? I have to pee!"
12:47 p.m. (post pee break) "All done quiet time?"
12:50 p.m. "Mama!" "Mama!" "I need SNUGGLE PUPPY!"
12:51 p.m. "MAMA! SNUGGLE PUPPY! I NEED MR. SNUGGLE PUPPY!"
12:55 p.m. "Mama. I'm very quiet. Let's stop being quiet now!"
12:59 p.m. The bedroom door starts swinging open and shut, my wee beloved hanging off of the knob. I finally lose what was left of my frayed and tattered patience and use my homicidal voice.
1:05 p.m. Clearly, my homicidal voice does not appropriately convey the depth of my murderousness. The bedroom door starts swinging open and shut once again, my little dude now making silly faces and noises at me. I have to laugh because if I didn't, I would be knee-deep in a puddle of frustrated tears. Laugh so hard I feel like I'm going to throw up.
1:07 p.m. "Mama - I don't like being alone."
1:09 p.m. "Pssst!" "Pssst!" "Mama - I'm making the cat go away." "Psssssssssssttt!" I mentally make plans to buy an absurdly large bottle of wine later.
1:10 p.m. "Mama! Mama! I found a cookbook! I know. I've got a great idea. Let's COOK SOMETHING!"
1: 11 p.m. - "Can I come out now?!"
1:14 p.m. I can't do quiet time anymore. Quiet time is yucky, homicidal, badness. Spring the child, while mentally counting down the hours, minutes and seconds until L. returns home from work. Utter a small prayer to the gods of patience that I do not off the little sucker (aka my wee beloved).
Oh naptime. Why have you forsaken me?