Monday, July 23, 2012

Nap with Me

Naptime with my son is often a struggle. Naturally, he would much rather keep playing with his toys than lie down in his bed and be quiet. When my husband manages naptime, he has a remarkable ability to give my son The Look and immediately son lies down and falls asleep. Alas, I have yet to master The Look, so my approach is a combination of cajoling, scolding, bribery, and resignation.

An average naptime goes something like this:

Me: Ryan, lie down and go to sleep.
Ryan: [lies down; immediately jumps up again]
Me: Ryan, lie DOWN and go to SLEEP!
Ryan: Mama, I need my toy.
Me: No, you don’t. Lie down and go to sleep.
Ryan: Yes, I do! YES I DOOOOOOOOO!
Me: Nope. It’s naptime now, not toy time. Lie down and go to SLEEEEEEEP!!!
Ryan: [squirms and tries to get up]
Me: You may have the toy after naptime, so the sooner you go to sleep, the sooner you can play.
Ryan: I want to play NOW! [gets up yet again]
Me: [grabs him bodily and wraps my legs around him so he can’t wriggle]
Ryan: Mama, LET GOOOOOO!
Me: If you can lie still and not say a word for 30 seconds, I will let go.
Ryan: [wriggles and yells after about a second and a half]
Me: [continuing body wrap and adding head lock]

This may continue for several hours, until one or both of us falls asleep.

Yup, it is very common that I actually fall asleep during his naptime. Hey, I’m exhausted, I’m lying in a bed, I’m listening to quiet music, I’m thinking sleepy thoughts – sometimes the subconscious just takes over. (Before anyone worries, my subconscious is very aware that I have another child and will never let me fall asleep unless she is either also napping or being watched by my husband at the time.)

And it’s actually really nice to join my little guy for a nap. He is so high-energy when he’s awake that he rarely wants to snuggle for more than a second or two at a time, so it’s a rare treat when I can hold him in my arms and run my fingers through his beautiful hair and feel his warm, chubby legs and his still-soft little boy skin. And I love the way he relaxes in my arms when he finally decides to give up the nap battle. He knows he’s safe in my arms, and I love hearing his breathing relax into the deep exhausted sleep that only small children can throw themselves into so completely when they feel safe and secure.

And when I know that he’s safe and secure and relaxed, how can I help but feel the same way? There’s nothing so satisfying as relaxing into dreamland knowing your children are safe and relaxed as well. Why would I ever want to resist that?

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