Nap time has evolved lately. The days of three hour solitude immediately following lunch are gone, and instead this awkward in-between phase is upon us. Ralphie has not napped regularly since his 2nd birthday. It’s like a bomb went off after he turned two, and nap time has been a hit-or-miss ordeal, with some weeks finding him passed out for two solid hours, and others wide awake and not the least affected by Mama’s grumpiness. Simon didn’t last much longer, and so as summer ended and fall began I found myself readjusting my expectations for each afternoon. If I had a dollar for every time a stranger asks me “Do those two ever stop?” I could fly to London.
Our normal routine is for Simon to go to his bed, and for Ralphie to rest on the couch with books or one quiet toy. Some days it is different. I generally know by mid morning if Simon will nap that day, or not. Today, Simon slept in my arms for an hour, and they both had mandatory “quiet time” from 2-3pm, which began well with each perusing his stack of books, and ended in fits of giggles and cushions being flung from the couches.
One day, I put them in their shared bedroom, and went downstairs to do house work. A while later I came back upstairs upon this scene. In the moment, I knew I had a choice between frustration, and a battle that would last the next two hours or flexibility and a few giggles. So, I grabbed my camera, snapped a few pictures, put Simon back in his bed, and waited.
I don’t always choose flexibility. If I did it wouldn’t be flexibility, it would be normal. Flexibility by definition requires a routine as a starting point. But I have had to readjust my expectations for what that routine looks like now that our boys are well into toddlerhood, and not sleepy babes any longer.
If anything, this transition out of regular naps and into a quiet time has been refining for my mother’s heart. It has encouraged me to include my kids in the household chores I used to put off until nap time. It has encouraged me to snuggle more, and let their rest time be a rest time for me, too.
“Love willingly and cheerfully makes room for complications in order to look to the interests of others.” -Gloria Furman
And above all, it has, again, as motherhood does over and over, day in and day out, challenged me to look not towards what is first on my to-do list, but first to what these little humans I have been given, really need. (And some days it is a good two hour nap!)
Press on, Mamas! This motherhood thing isn’t easy, but it is good!