Friday, August 26, 2011

The Nap Time Dilemma

This last week has been interesting. My role as Mommy has been tested 
in multiple ways from multiple directions, and I sit now watching hurricane 
coverage (being a huge weather junkie), completely exhausted, wishing
work would call and cancel me for the 7 - 11 "princess shift" I'm scheduled
to work tonight. Why so spent? 

I'll begin at the logical place... the beginning. Last Saturday and Sunday 
were great. We had my daughter's first "friend" birthday party with three
other adorable munchkins. They had a blast. The two hours flew by 
in a similar fashion to how our giant schnauzer/boxer mix chases rabbits 
through the back yard. Did you see that black streak go by? Thankfully, the 
evidence of whirlwind-like childish energy was contained to my daughter's 
bedroom. She had such a great time that she's still talking about it. 

On Sunday we had all the in-town family over to celebrate. Again Avalon 
had a wonderful time. She loves her extended family and is in heaven when 
we are all together. After the party I raced to a writer's meeting. My second 
ever and my first specifically for children's book writers. The meeting was 
helpful, encouraging, and informative. I was also able to give out some advice 
as well, instead being only on the receiving end. Looking back over the 
last eight months, I can see my growth as a writer, and it's exciting. 

On Monday, my husband drove to a neighboring state for work and just 
came home on Thursday. I dislike being alone, especially going to sleep
alone. When Jason's gone, I find myself staying up way too late, which 
usually leads to crankiness the following day. Through to Wednesday,
I was pretty proud of myself, then Thursday came. 

Thursday morning I had it good. Both my kiddos were at mom's day out
(what we call "school"). I went to Target by myself, did the dishes, and 
watched Rachel Ray. Thursday afternoon, Avalon decided to assert 
a new found independence, having reached the grown-up age of four.
Avalon usually has a hard time going to sleep, so my solution has been 
to sit in her rocking chair, reminding her to "be still" and "stop moving." 
Now, I know you're probably thinking Just let her stay up. She's four now! 
I tried letting her go without a nap for an entire week last month. It was
a disaster, and I think I acquired a few more white hairs by the end of it.

Usually my strategy of getting her to be still works like a charm, causing
her to slip into REM cycles within minutes. However, this day that wasn't
happening. She refused to be still, and despite all my creative incentives
and negative consequences, nap time never happened. After an hour and
a half, I found myself in tears after she matter-of-factly stared me down 
while ignoring my directions to put her head on her pillow yet one more time.

Knowing that the tears sent the wrong message, I went downstairs to regroup
and called my husband. Although he'd be home in a few hours, I needed
help then and there. He calmly spoke to the defiant one while I cleaned her
room out from distractions (a.k.a. new toys from B-day) and noticed she had
put the phone down so she didn't have to listen to her father. Who is this?
A seventeen year old in my four year old's body? I handed her back the phone.
Once their conversation was done, I retreated downstairs, found some 
chocolate, and prayed. 

Thoughts raced through my head such as I'm a horrible mother and Why don't 
I know what to do? A conversation with my older sister was extremely helpful,
relating to me what she had to do with her youngest during a similar phase 
a couple years ago. She had him take a nap every other day. What a great idea!

In a nutshell, my little girl is growing up, and amidst psychological minds games,
stare-downs, and full-out tantrums, I have to remember that growing up isn't 
easy, for parent or child. I need to allow her room to grow while still protecting 
her health, emotions, and sweet spirit. What a delicate balance. I definitely need 
God's help to be able to do this right. Today, Avalon and I talked about the 
every other day nap idea. She laughed and squealed with delight. Today's nap 
time was very different. All of her toys and stuffed animals are still in the hall, 
but with the knowledge that she'll get to be nap-free tomorrow, Avalon laid still 
and drifted to sleep within minutes. So here I sit, watching hurricane coverage, 
exhausted from the week, but with new found hope that the nap time dilemma is 
at least temporarily solved. Did I mention that James (22 months) screamed our 
entire time in Target this morning (forgot diapers yesterday)? But that's an 
entirely different story all together. 

For all of you on the east coast, be careful the next few days, and I'm praying
for minimal damage and safety for all who will be affected.


  1. Hello, sweet Tanya...This too shall pass. Most moms have been where you're at. You're normal, you're doing great, and God will prevail in this time of learning and loving!

  2. Thanks, Cynthia. :) It's good to hear that my experiences
    are not unique to me. It's a phase full of challenges, but
    also so many joys. I love having more "adult-like"
    conversations with my daughter about the world around
    us and about God too. Her face lights up when she learns
    something new. :)

  3. Oh, I totally understand this, Tanya!!! In fact, as I type, my almost 4-year-old is sitting on the couch watching Diego and having "quiet time" because I could just tell that attempting a nap would be pointless. Been there done that, and I'm always the one who ends up in tears. :) I love the every-other-day idea...I may switch to that strategy. Of course, once we figure out this stage, a new one will develop. :)

    Here's hoping for some quiet afternoons!

  4. I'm both sorry and glad I'm not alone! You're so right. Once
    we have this stage figured out, it'll all change again. When
    it comes to motherhood and parenting, I'm thinking we'll
    always have to adjust parenting techniques, whether our kids
    are 4, 14, or 40. :)