30 Day Writing & Image Challenge, Parenting & Motherhood

Day 5: When Babies (Don’t) Nap

There are many occasions where I read articles about babies napping; how to get them to nap at certain times, how to get them to nap without driving 15 times around the block – I feel sure I’m not the only one – and how to get them to nap for longer than 30 minutes.

I’ve got this
Often, when I read these articles, I see posts pop up from parents who are unable to get their children to nap at all. I usually read these snippets with a smug sense of: ‘Ahhh, that’s not me; I must be a better parent; I’ve clearly got this s**t down…’

Oh, how I kick myself for EVER thinking that ever in the history of parenting. Have I hell got this s**t down. My view of parenting is becoming one where I realise none of us has this s**t down. We’re all figuring it out every hour of every day and praying we get it right.

Naps are history
My little boy has decided he no longer wants to nap. He’s 13 months, and he’s done. The problem is, I’m not done. I am far from ready to give up nap time.

Now, initially, the baby not napping is kind of cute. You can see they’re tired; rubbing their eyes, occasionally laying in a little heap on the floor just to make you think they might be considering sleep, only for them to figuratively laugh in your face as they climb back up onto the dining room chair and grab the edge of the placemat with your fresh cup of tea stood on it, testing the adequacy of your reflexes.

That’s when it happens. That’s the point when you just need quiet. You need time to drink your cup of tea without it having to go in the microwave seven times; you need time to be able to put the washing away without the little dude ‘helping’ you by taking everything you’ve put in the drawers straight back out again. You need 30 minutes just to miss them. Then you’ll play all of the peekaboo, read all of the books and let them use you as a human climbing frame all they want.

Those days are the days when you pray for the end of the day because you want some time to get to the end of a thought without it being interrupted with “rah rah, ma ma.”

Bedtime arrives
It finally reaches 7 pm. You begin reading their bedtime story and they are falling asleep before you finish the first page; curled up in their cot, teddy snuggled in close – because they don’t have the energy left for ‘throw the teddy out of the crib to see how many times mummy will pick it up and throw it back in again’ game – and your love for them consumes you like a binge-watching session on Netflix.

That’s when the guilt strikes. You can’t understand how you could ever want time away from them when they lay there so peaceful, so innocent and so perfect.

You leave the room, tear in your eye, cursing yourself for cursing them and already looking forward to morning cuddles.

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