Saturday, 30 June 2012

Just who are naps for?!

There is a popular misconception that babies and toddlers need to nap to rest their brains and regain energy. Wrong! Well actually no, that’s right, but if anyone needs to rest their brains and regain energy it’s their parents! Naps are also for US!

A nap is in fact a brilliantly designed natural piece of engineering that makes your child sleep when you are just about to drop. When you have read “The Gruffalo” ten times on the trot and you can’t see the carpet for Happyland. It’s a chance for you to rest before the adult's version of Cranky land replaces it!
With newborns, babies sleep between feeds which gives you a chance to regroup after you have spent the entire time worrying about whether they have had enough. It also gives you the couple of hours that you need in order to plan leaving the house.

With older babies, the nap is a bit of relief from finding the most stimulating ways of entertaining an awake, yet basically immobile, child without resorting to CBeebies. I can only do so many verses of “Wind the Bobbin Up” before starting to go a little bit crazy so my much-loved Danny Kaye CD was a lifesaver in those days. The Ugly Duckling was practically on a loop!
With a toddler, it’s respite from your house looking like it has been hit by a cross between Hurricane Katrina and a plague of locusts.

For a couple of hours, silence reigns, and there’s a chance for a HOT cup of tea, a bit of reading, a bit of Loose Women and, if I’m lucky, Doctors too, before heading back to the frontline of motherhood.
I say this from the perspective of one whose child has, for the first time ever, NOT had a nap today. And boy didn’t I know it! To cap it all, she chose a day when her dad was away for the weekend so there was no one to share the exhausting load!

She can normally nap for up to THREE HOURS in the afternoon so missing it was a major omission!
I am hoping against hope that it was a one off because we had been out for the morning and she slept for ten minutes on the way home, but although I put her straight in her bed, sleep was not forthcoming!

She was clearly knackered, having been zooming round Butterfly World, but in no mood to drop off when it was more interesting to recount, at length, how she had seen all the “beautiful butterflies coming out of their ‘coons’” (That’s "COcoons" - as we had to keep reminding her in the cafĂ© after getting some very odd looks!)
Given that we had been out all morning I opted to stay in, trying, and mostly failing, to at least get her to have some “quiet time” but as she is a child who doesn’t like to sit still I was fighting a losing battle. I have read countless children's books today, and retrieved toy animals from inexplicable places as some sort of typhoon hit her Little People farm at one stage and she literally recreated the "twister" scene from the Wizard of Oz, rendering herself dizzy.

We have been ballerinas and elephants, and in my case a combination of the two, and made up games with her new wooden caterpillar who she has inexplicably named “Jonjo”.
We have completed sticker books, recited the alphabet, drawn butterflies and annoyed the dog, who was quietly trying to watch the tennis. She was so tired that she was stumbling round like a drunk tryinkg to find his way home. Finally she succumbed and lay on the sofa in front of Ben and Holly while I made her tea.

The bonus was that when bedtime finally came round (very quickly after tea I have to say!), much, I suspect, to the relief of both of us, she was out like a light. Fast asleep before seven!
Now, don't get me wrong, I do want to say that we have had a lovely day, I have loved doing so many things with her, and I don't resent any of it, especially as a working mum - I am just knackered! I suspect I need her nap more than she does!

And don’t anybody dare say it’s because of my age, because name me the mother of a toddler who doesn’t get tired and I’ll point you towards a freak of nature.
As V is a 6am riser I am hoping that she might tag today’s nap onto her night time sleep, but it doesn’t work like that does it?! I am already planning tomorrow's itinerary!

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