A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: nap time

Less Than Perfect, but Close Enough

It wasn’t a perfect day, but it was a good one. The little lady woke earlier than she had been, so while I was unhappy to slog my unrested body out of bed, I was able to enjoy guaranteed Warrior Queen giggles as I speckled her neck with a light dusting of kisses. Even waking grumpily, she will laugh. She simply cannot help herself, and I absolutely love it. She does a couple of new things these days, like climbing…on EVERYTHING, particularly the kitchen table. She finally figured out how to move chairs to her liking to complete her table top cabaret. Her screams when I prevent her from pulling out a pushed in chair confirms that Mommy is the soul crushing dream killer I’d been hoping to become for years.

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(“I told Pinterest I didn’t need this gig to get through college, but I’m just SO good at it!”)

But, Warrior Queen also cuddles on my lap, leaning against me, arching her back periodically to look me in the eye smiling. She carries me books telling me, “READ!” My fierce girl also plays. Over her quiet breakfast she scowled at me, furrowed brow and all. I imitated the expression; we held it in mutual determination for a few seconds before Warrior Queen broke into her tell tale toothy smile that consumes her entire face. I absolutely loved it, and I loved her lifting her delicate toddler feet so I could rub her soles.

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(You’d ache to rub the feet belonging to this face too, right Homebrew Talk?)

I’m just on the other end of a rare minor cold that still prevented any iota of exercise completion for a little over a week. Consequently, I’m not able to particularly perk up in the morning. Even pursuing a steady dose of a caffeine elixir, I’ve been ready to sleep standing for a couple days now. Today was especially grueling despite eight hours of mediocre sleep. I’ve been opting for hot tea for the past week or so. I’m thankful I thought to buy a few cans of evaporated milk during our weekend’s grocery jaunt. A creamy tea makes things just a little more special, which is ideal when my body does not.

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(It isn’t a unicorn, but I bet you feel more special now too, thanks, Scary Mommy!)

Mr. Man slept until a bit after eight, and he wasn’t even sick…anymore. That was lovely. I decided to try for our frequented library music program. My parents joined, which allowed me to peruse their used books on sale for a steal. There’s no rhyme or reason to the pricing…I bought eight books for three dollars; sometimes it’s five dollars for a few stories less. But, whatever, I’m able to pick-up some tales I wouldn’t think of otherwise. Today there were two with amazing illustrations, and the stories weren’t horrible. I’m a sucker for beautiful artwork, especially in children’s books. I managed one or two with somewhat of a diversity component. Such things are horribly difficult to find. Little Man enjoyed the parachute, shaking the material at the border with the adults. He usually begs to leave early when my parents join, but not today. He asked, but was easily convinced to remain; he seemed glad he did.

Little Man mostly played well in the kid area after the program. He’s moderately obsessed with trains these days. For a beat or two explained to a younger boy how one might go about playing with a train set…the young toddler a fraction of my son’s tall expanse was rapt. Other children flocked to the table as his play progressed. Suddenly my son swishes the large procession of mismatched train cars into a bin. Other children were waiting to have their turn with them, but he was finished and cleaned after himself…I should note he doesn’t do such crazy things as picking up after himself at home.

Warrior Queen took a three hour nap…Mr. Man did not nap at all. Apparently, he can open the gate upstairs, preventing him from descending down to the lower level of our home. He kept leaving his room throughout the two hour span of “quiet time,” but never unlatched the gate to journey downstairs until it had been almost exactly two hours. I’m grateful quiet time was:

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(It still stinks, but there was no one around to pilfer my chocolate!)

rather than:

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 (Pinterest knows all about unobstructed children not napping.)

In between threats, I managed to accomplish some of what I hoped. I called my Senators and Representative about one obnoxiously almost infinitesimal fraction of the latest bit of horrible from our country’s “leadership.” I’ve also managed to find a couple of organizations that allow me to take part in this multi-pronged voter suppression issue from home. There is so, so, SO much stuff to focus on that I worry no attention is shining on hordes of people denied information and access about the election process at every level and their constitutional right to vote. Most of what I do isn’t particularly glamorous, but it’s important. Also important that I want my children to be socially and politically conscious, meaning I needed to step up my game…big time. Interestingly, it’s kinda addicting. Feeling like I’m part of my government…my country; taking action to make things better for those who’ve struggled for too long, in part, because of my complacency. But, my surge of participation and engagement gives me control…allows me feel another layer of purpose. I highly recommend it to others. Start small, call your state and federal congressional officials. You won’t regret it!

As I concluded the most recent of my frequent calls to my Representative, Mr. Man managed to appear downstairs without waking his sister, so we were able to spend some sweet time together. His latest thing is giving me kisses, and I love it. We shared my special popcorn, which consists of an olive oil spray coating with parmesan cheese sprinkled throughout. My son was doting on me, insisting that he periodically feed me pieces WITHOUT placing them on his tongue first. We read some of the new stories I purchased, built some towers. Little Man laughed and smiled in his glorious way. He snuggled the way he does best. I absolutely loved it. My growing boy helped me tidy, beaming as he uttered his desire to help me. He enjoys feeling helpful, and I adore watching the pride in his stature when I remember to assign him tasks. These days he itches to help me cook. I’ve started creating benign steps, so he can assist. A side note, I fantasize about the day when I can cook with my children.

Warrior Queen woke an hour after her brother. Retrieving her from upstairs, speckling her neck in whispered kisses…naturally she giggled. The remaining pieces of the afternoon and evening deteriorating slightly as the children grew tired, but I certainly won’t complain. After all, nothing is always perfect, but the good moments certainly are.

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Sleeping Terrors and Ground Appeal

Little Man no longer sleeps in his crib…or his big boy bed, but I’ll circle back to that last bit. A couple of months ago, maybe a tad before Thanksgiving, he decided to scale his crib walls. We were captivated by the monitor; it was an impressive feat. Considering how tall he is, I’m surprised it took so long for this effort to occur to him.

We’d been worried about this move; how many tales of horror is this event the topic? But, all things considered, the immediate change resulted in an anticipatory fizzle. My general morning routine had been to feed Warrior Queen, exercise as much as possible, and take a shower once I heard the wakeful song of my sweet boy bellowed from his contained mattress.

My son resists change, and had been struggling with halted tears when we told him he would no longer sleep in his crib. We dressed the delivery up all fancy, but he emphatically shook his head. We stopped talking about it once his voice began stuttering tears. But, the night progressed, and my husband and I decided the night time routine would be a joint effort. We discussed it as support for Little Man, but really it was to keep us both sane and calm as we predicted a hellish first night.

Mr. Man saw his big boy bed for the first time, and a huge smile that wrapped his lips around his teeth ensued. He was speechless, engaging in his excited sumo squat that doubles as a funny dance he forgets he is doing in the middle of the action. It’s perfect.

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(How can anyone not melt with a smiling toddler doing this while pointing at a bed? Reuters, how did you know?)

That night our son slept without issue, so terribly excited for this milestone. I woke the next morning attempting my typical routine. I heard him scurry, and climbed the stairs to greet him, unsure of what to expect. Little Man opened his door holding the various toys we schlep upstairs before every sleeping experience, wearing nothing but his diaper. He was elated saying, “I climb out all by myself!” Apparently he got naked all by himself too…

The following month yielded mostly uneventful nap and bed times. All was well with the world until illness overcame our house. My sweet boy was very sick, and we spent several nights playing toddler goalkeeper. Every few hours he would knock on our door, which we started closing after he would enter and begin rooting through things…like the toilet. He wanted stories, songs, umpteen kisses and hugs. He was miserable. Even after he recovered, we had to sleep train for the first time since he was eight-months-old.

I’m the disciplinarian, so it took my rather abrupt intervention before we could successfully carrel him into his room…with the door open. I wasn’t about to complain with this new doorway development; he had been taking to camping outside our door all night. He wouldn’t be upset, mind you, but he insisted on choosing where he would spend the night. Often we would find him returned to his room come morning, but such a decision was random and unreliable.

Almost a month after he shirked his special brand of plague, he’s become much better at sleeping in his room. Napping is a bit more of an ordeal, but he usually takes one. The routine for both events will wind their way to a conclusion, but a good ten or fifteen minutes will be spent providing a plethora of “one more” kisses and hugs. Sometimes Little Man is not quite ready to go to sleep, but as long as he isn’t making a fuss, he can do his thing independently in his room. It’s pretty amazing to watch him in the monitor. After he has his fill of playing, my growing boy will return his play things to their designated homes, turn out the light, and greet his peaceful slumber…with the door open.

The big boy bed, however, is more for display these days. Little Man mostly stopped sleeping in it, but his stuffed friends continue to partake. My in-laws purchased a sleeping bag, per our request. It actually looks pretty cozy. My son won’t sleep in it, but often he will sprawl starfish style on top. Sometimes he will set-up camp inside a tent handed down from his cousins’ use from over a decade ago. No earthly notion of the appeal to sleeping on the floor. I imagine it’s a control thing, as is with insisting the door to his room remaining open. I can live with him sleeping on the floor, but I pretend to relinquish to an unobstructed doorway. As soon as he is down for the count, I shut that bad boy.

Fairly Aggressive, Not All that Passive

My two-year-old son is a seasoned professional in the sleep regression field, but seems to be starting his transition back to his reliable snooze during the day.  I say this cautiously, as today was the first day in almost two weeks when he napped.  It wasn’t enough to spare me from an odd mix of sweetly clingy and dismally cranky, with a side of impulsive destruction as the late afternoon progressed into evening, but I’ll take it.

There are all kinds of reasons for sleep regression specific to this age, but Mr. Man’s brand is concern for missing out on Mommy time.  If I weren’t so tired, this would be endearing.  The genesis of this problem is my fault, really.  A combination of me assuming a toddler equates an oblivious human, and his delayed speech pressing me to forget exactly how finely attuned his receptive language is, prompted me to lament to anyone who would listen on the phone how the Warrior Queen spent the duration of Little Man’s nap sleeping on me for several days in a row.  The fateful afternoon in question began his naptime with my son waiting in his crib while I trekked downstairs to retrieve his disgusting bacteria and disease carrying stuffed dog, as well as my wailing daughter.  He screamed, “Baby! Baby!” repeatedly between fits of tears once I returned with her nestled in my arms.  That was it.  He hasn’t taken a nap since despite his blatant need for some shut-eye.  Seriously, two months of night time feedings didn’t have me looking as tired and ragged as Little Man during the past couple weeks.  Today he napped, a paltry forty-five minutes, but it’s a start, and hopefully a sign of what’s to come…for everyone’s sanity.

But, today I waited too long to retrieve my son from his crib.  The process of sleep training my son, and my daughter intermittently requiring me to hold her for significant durations throughout my son’s “quiet time,” left me getting little done and having almost no break in the last couple weeks.  So, I took it upon myself to enjoy a lovely piece…or two…okay, four…of my favorite dark chocolate hazelnut bar while my daughter actually slept without me needing to intervene.  My son was awake and standing, but if he suspected I had chocolate, he’d climb my face to get to it…not even kidding.  My delay consequently, had me pay the piper once I retrieved him.  Not only did he become suddenly upset between the thirty seconds it took me to clean every ounce of chocolate off of my fingers and reach his door, but then my daughter began passionately screaming downstairs as I pulled him up.

In the six weeks since my parents left, I’ve become a bit of an aficionado at managing situations when at least one of the three of us is unhappy.  Warrior Queen needed to eat, and I needed Conan the Destroyer to chill until I could satiate my daughter well enough to reasonably tend to him.  Maybe cartoons work for some parents.  I haven’t used that piece of potential arsenal yet, but Mr. Man loves watching home recordings of himself as a baby.  He’s also rather partial to his sister’s first bath video; it’s usually first on the viewing docket.

The home movies worked their magic for a bit.  My daughter was able to chug a good amount of her formula.  My son was entertained with videos of him laughing at the wind through the leaves when he was six-months-old, but then he decided to attempt calling Guam, reaching past my computer for our home phone.  Movies done; my daughter notsomuch.

The next intervention for a generally disquieted Mr. Man following an insufficient rest works about half the time.  Usually not when I’m in the middle of tending to his sister, but it’s easy enough to try.  I enthusiastically offer to read him a story.  Surprisingly, Little Man scampers off to the other room, and I hear him retrieving items from the appropriate shelf.  He wastes no time returning, laying a book in front of me while his sister continues to inhale the contents of her bottle.  I hadn’t read this specific story to him since I was pregnant, but I guess he had a yen for, You Were the First.

Luck of the Irish

Mr. Man had a tough day yesterday that started mid afternoon playing at the toy mecca.  True, he hasn’t been sleeping well for the past several days, coughing jarring him awake, but I think it ultimately bothered me more than him.  We went to our music class and he was rolling right along.  After the class he searched for his precious fishing pole toy, but to no avail.  No worries, though, he found a surrogate in the form of a small hydrant and attached hose that he took reasonable pleasure carting around; that is until some random elderly woman takes it away from him, speaking in some lengthy lecture I couldn’t hear, but clearly on the level a twenty-month-old would understand.  My son looked at her befuddled, staring and gaping before trotting off.

Part of me wanted to walk up and ask her the purpose of taking toys from small children who are using them appropriately, but when my son didn’t seem particularly affected, I decided to just watch her instead.  There is no shortage of garden variety crazies out there, and she quite possibly is one of them.  True, she is in the winter of her existence, but I’m pregnant and can’t breathe well.  If my toddler can get away from me with a casual saunter, she appears to be a linebacker in bodily constitution.

Regardless, my curiosity was answered soon enough.  She spent the afternoon redirecting her grandson for not playing in the correct manner and organizing this giant play space where scores of children were in the process of complete bedlam.  I don’t know what her deal was, but some battles aren’t worth picking.

At least I can say that my child wasn’t the one who climbed on a chair when unattended and absconded with an unsupervised cupcake allocated for a birthday party.  Actually, absconded isn’t quite the right word, as the two-year-old was sitting merrily in front of the container of strewn treats licking neon green frosting from chocolate cake before a very angry woman in the process of sprouting Medusa’s snakes despite having no attachment to the cupcakes, pulls him off the chair and drags him to the playspace’s overseer.  Apparently, the child had been sitting there planning world domination in mid cupcake for “twenty minutes” without a parent around.  In reality it was maybe thirty seconds, but I know full well how time stops when one is in the process of behaving like a completely irrational bitch.  I give her credit though, she didn’t hold back with the child’s mother either.  So, my crazy lady could have been her.  Maybe I should have bought one of those record lottery tickets after all.

As has become a trend for just under a week, Little Man did not take a good nap; yesterday the shortest yet.  Poor kid kept coughing and the impulse didn’t subside enough for him to sleep later despite red lidded eyes.  Surprisingly, other than his trademark impulsive behavior in the form of annoying mischief and general disregard for appropriate conduct that occurs when he is not well rested, he was reasonably jovial.  I thought for sure I would be able to add cranky to the mix of perpetual redirection and hauling off of furniture.

But, the night progressed and neither my husband nor I had the energy to give him a bath, planning for Mr. Man’s early bedtime.  My husband took him upstairs to, “start the process,” and at the rump end before sleepy-time I went into my son’s room to deliver the partially dry sleep sack to my men.  Little Man was just about asleep on my husband’s lap, but he sees me and immediately becomes upset realizing he will be jostled.  Then the red-faced, pained wailing ensues where he beckons me to take him with rigid, outstretched arms.  My husband is trying to shepherd the process of sacking Mr. Man, and just as he is zipped, vomit spews from his mouth in true Exorcist fashion.  I really should have bought lottery tickets because I was spared any ounce of coating, all landing squarely down my son’s front and all over my husband’s lap and legs.

The remaining evening was spent with my husband fumigating himself of dinner purge and me singing to my son in the bath we were trying to avoid all evening.  Some water, crackers, and cuddling; and my son was asleep by eight-thirty.  As I processed through my end of the night media checks, I had to make note of the date; could it really still be the same day?

Is It Nap Time Yet?

It began as a good morning, which any parent can tell you is a strong indication that shit is goin’ to get real and fast.  I was reading to my son on the sofa.  We were snoodled in tight.  It was lovely.  I had my feet up, and was bundled under the covers.  I almost forgot that my son is a toddler and predisposed to changes necessary of an exorcism, which would explain why he is so partial to the goat figurine from the farm animal collection my in-laws purchased.  One moment he was flipping through Llama Llama Red Pajama for the eighth time, and the next a colossal meltdown that I should have seen coming from my ample experience, yet chose to remain delusional until forced to see the error of my ways.

“Are you hungry?”  Little Man lumbers off the sofa in such a way that I imagine would have been the inspiration for The Blob.  Once firmly footed on the ground, he makes haste toward the fridge.  I know what you are thinking, “Easy enough, the kid knows what he wants,” but I’m here to tell you that you are a silly, silly person.  While in fact he is the holder of such information, my son thinks I enjoy puzzles amidst the soundtrack of shrieks and wails.  First he reaches for the large bottle of lemon juice, which practice has trained me to be quite deft in blocking such an effort…I was rewarded by louder cries of indignation…lovely…nothing helps a clear thought process more…

Then he just starts reaching for things I know he couldn’t possibly want before fixing his eyes on the leftover chili and pasta in his special blue plastic bowl…Well, it’s not quite ten in the morning, but okay.  I’m rewarded with the halted laughter of a wise choice.  I select a small plate to remove a portion of the bowl’s contents because I don’t quite trust this is what he wants to eat.  As I’m scooping a small mass he begins wailing in tones that must have called a congregation of dogs to sit on our front lawn.

He kept pointing to the chili but wouldn’t eat it, and I tried every manipulative tactic I could think of…nada…  I retreat and regroup while my son relentlessly screams in stomping fits, begging to be held; but I had been holding him, and he was still crying.  I hold him again and try to clean up.  Balancing the bowl in one hand, Little Man points…Maybe he wants to eat from the bowl?  Yup, I give him his monkey fork and he digs in…perfect…

Without issue he sits in his high chair, I place the bowl and fork in front of him, and affix a bib.  Little Man doesn’t waste a moment, but, of course, I’m dubious…it’s only a matter of time before it will be all over the floor…My son’s preferred dining surface…  Regardless, I’m very hungry and the meal of grits and beans I was in the process of preparing was in its final stages.  I walk back to the kitchen for a time span that would be endorsed by Star Trek travel, but it didn’t matter.  I heard the familiar splat…chili all over the floor and wall…awesome…  So, that phase is done.  I wash up Mr. Man…again, and lower him to the floor…again.

The howling recommences.  My food is ready, finding my rhythm among the noise to reserve a portion for the harpie doing everything vocally in his power to attract attention.  Then in a sudden truce that must be similar to the end of the Korean War, my son is silent, glued to my bowl of, now, lukewarm Midwestern charm.  I carry both bowls to the table like the pied piper.

He goes back into his high chair, this time with his special red bowl.  We both eat in comatose silence.  But, here is the rub with feeding my son grits:  the stuff is like sand.  I’ll be finding it up my nose, in my ears and nether regions a month from now.  Usually I try to limit the destruction by at least setting up his spoon, but, nope, Little Man is independent now and one step removed from joining the workforce and paying us rent.  He’s happily eating; food is all over him, but this time when he is finished, Little Man is ready to go off and play.  But, mark my words, it’s nap time soon and I plan to be extra careful on our stairs…

The Origins of Great Ventures

Every mother, neigh, every parent agrees on the greatest time of day…every day.  In fact, I predict any parent reading this post can already anticipate with complete accuracy that I am speaking of the hallowed nap time.  So sacred in every aspect, and always too short…even if it lasted twelve hours.

If I happen to be home for the entire day, sometimes I feel as though I wait for those blessed signs that my son is about to pass out from exhaustion.  I couldn’t describe the signs, for as a Mommy I am anointed with the vision of sleep whisperer.  How many times in his brief eighteen-months of external existence have I said to a peer or family member, “He’s tired,” met with the disbelieving grunt of a, “Really?”  Oh, yes, I can feel his sleepiness like a disruption in the force…kind of like a soiled diaper, but that, my friends, is for another post.  Sometimes I wonder if it makes me a terrible person that I take such glee from those initial moments of realization that Little Man is ready for sleepy time.

Then there are those first steps walking away from the closed door of my son’s room…OOO…What to do first?  Should I be productive, and actually clean the house?  Perhaps return calls and pay bills?  Maybe I’ll even complete another round of exercise while reading a couple more chapters in one of my books, followed by a lengthy shower.  But, these days Mr. Man’s naps have transitioned to once a day, and the break is a cruel tease of an hour.  So, what do I do with my precious hour?  I nurture my brain with another episode of Blue Bloods because there is always limited smut to watch on television when I actually have the opportunity to do so, and, of course, a helping of chocolate my son never lets me eat.  But, if I’m completely honest, I’ve never truly seen nap time as an opportunity to get things accomplished; instead, it is a time for me to sit back, eat something, and remind myself that having a child was a good idea.

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