Friday, June 21, 2013

The Joys Of A Nap

I know a lot of parents say that their kids stop napping right around age two. I've been lucky that my kids still nap, and sometimes for four hours!  It absolutely gets in the way of play dates and outings, but without it, I'm tortured in a slow and painful way. Recently, the only way I can get them to nap is if I rock them. There is something very magical about that rhythmic rocking and clicking of the rocking chair. It's even soothing to me too. I listen to the classical music, I feel my children drifting away on top of me, our breaths start to sync and when they start to twitch when they are truly asleep, there is just something so angelic about their sleeping faces that I just can't let go of. All of the stress from tantrums, the day, or the battle we had about food is gone. When I see their sleeping faces, the slate is wiped clean. I know that rocking them to sleep is not going to help them sleep in their own beds and I know it's not going to make my night time battles any easier, but there's something I can't let go of.

Sleepy, sick babies
When they were first born, I literally spent the first six weeks of their lives holding them. I just couldn't put them down. I didn't want to. Not for fear that something bad would happen, but because I couldn't get enough of their smell, their soft skin, and the way they nestled right down into me. I loved how they curled up, so tiny in my arms and I could just stare at them. As they grew I tried to sleep train them and even was successful for a while, but when Theo was born things kind of changed. We started rocking more and doing a few more snuggles before bed. It was nice, it was a way to have some one on one time with Hank and it was a way to hang on to that babyness that was too quickly fading away.

Now that they are three and 17 months, I have rediscovered the wonder of the rocking chair. I actually just ordered a new one for our new house because it's a sure way to get them both to sleep in a matter of minutes. I sit here with one of them (or both of them on occasion) in my arms and I'm faced with all sorts of choices: put them down, clean up, take a shower, pee, exercise, eat.... as my arm starts to tingle I readjust them and I'm given an opportunity to make a break for it, but just then, they yawn and snuggle in deeper. I could just sit here. I could just hold you. I could just fall asleep and enjoy the few minutes I have where you're quiet and I'm able to take a break, rest my eyes, listen to Vivaldi and rock, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Oh my gosh, I'm the crazy mother in Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch! I'm the parent that can't let go of their children! Perhaps, but I like to think it's because when they are sleeping, and sleeping in my arms, I'm given the opportunity to study them and get to know them like I did when they were first born. As they grow and change, as they resist hugs and kisses, or even defy me; they allow me this one time a day to treat them like a baby and coddle them. They show me that they despite all of their attempts at independence, they still love me, they still need me and they still want to have me around. 

The only way I could get them to nap at age 4 weeks and 21 months
I know it won't last forever, and if there is one thing that I regret about having a second child, it's the fact that I couldn't sit and hold him for as long as I wanted to. So when I've had a few rough days fighting with my preschoolers, I'm taking the joy of the ever important nap and taking advantage of it fully in ways my children will only know when they too become parents.

Best friends.

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