The beauty of naps

1002356_10100177203095763_155110387_n

Sunlight streaming through the window, as you’re stretched out on the couch. Blanket draped haphazardly around your knees, barely covering both feet, but the streaming sunlight and heater humming creates the perfect cozy warmth. There’s the dog chewing quirky on a bone on the floor, maybe piercing the silence with a sharp bark or two when the mailman drives by, but mostly it’s peaceful, quiet, afternoon lull. One forearm is draped over our eyes as we drift through dreams and stirrings.

Or there’s the blackout shade drawn tight to block the streaming sunlight. If it’s “five o clock somewhere” then it’s “bedtime somewhere” is a perfectly acceptable phrase for the overly tired. Maybe we’ll change into our jammies or sweats even if it’s only 2pm because we know we’ll wake for dinner, but maybe won’t have the strength to do much else besides nuke some leftovers. If the kiddo is drippy nosed, we’ll possibly snuggle in together for a three hour nap and wake in time to watch some cartoons and go back to bed for the night.

There’s something magical about naps that doesn’t happen in my all-night sleep. I’m rarely aware of the time, and float dreamily in and out of consciousness. The dog may bark, but I’m less inclined to yell about it, and the phone may ring and I may or may not answer. Even when I’m crunched for time, a nap feels delicious, where crunched for time in the evening makes me feel panicky and wasteful of the 6, 7, or 8 hours that my timer says are left before my alarm gets me up for the next day’s activities.

Potamus and I have been taking a lot of naps together lately. There was the barfing incident last week, and then my Friday off, where we hunkered down in the dark bedroom and slept like the dead. I haven’t woken up so refreshed in a long time. But the magic of naps is quickly used up, like the spare change you find in the couch. It’s Monday morning and no matter how many naps I took this weekend it didn’t make me less tired this morning as I drove to work. It’s difficult, the anxiety prodding me awake at all hours of the night. My bladder prodding me awake at all hours of the night. My son’s grabby little hands prodding me awake at all hours of the night. Nap-time restfulness never quite fills me up for long enough.

But those beautiful moments, when we’re sweaty and rosy cheeked after a long slumber. When we yawn and crawl out of bed to more giggles and Hotwheels cars racing down the hallway…those moments are the ones I try to hang on to. When I’m gasping for my morning cup of coffee and it’s not even 8:00 am, I try to remember the luxury I felt this weekend when I got to take the elusive mother-nap.

Dog Beds

On the slow days, Potamus takes long, lazy naps in our bed. I have managed to transition him from sleeping in my arms for naps, to lying down-nursing-to-sleep in the comfort of our cool cave-like bedroom. It’s like bed-time, but during the day, and I think he very much enjoys being removed from the hub-bub of toys and dogs and tv and all the goings on that happens out in the living room, and slows down for awhile at naptime. Maybe he’s like his mama in this way, that sometimes I’m not even tired so much as the world is a brightly lit over-stimulating place and I need a retreat from it all, to gather my thoughts and recharge for more play.

With (hopefully!) a new job prospect on the horizons and the knowledge that in a month (whether I get a new job or not) the routine around our den is going to change. Boof may be primary caregiver for awhile until he shores up a job, or Potamus may join a local daycare for a few days a week. Regardless, it means that naps must be done differently, even if it’s a hard transition. My mother-in-law’s petite frame is having a hard time holding him while he sleeps, and he never naps quite as long on her lap, as he does in our bed. Boof can usually manage to get a 90 minute nap out of him, but it’s inconsistent and restless at best. And while I hope we find a fabulous day-care provider, since we can’t afford a nanny, I doubt they’re gonna be able to hold him for naps like he’s used to. So the quest begins, to let my sweet babe learn how to nap on his own.

Some days, like today, where I am on-call and flitting about, Potamus naps in the carseat while we drive, but lately these little bursts of napping have left him cranky and over-tired. I long to give my boy routine, as I notice he thrives off it. The days we get two long lazy naps he is SO happy. Even yesterday, with only one morning 2 hour nap, and a few carseat nod-offs, he managed to make it through a coffee date with a friend and dinner with my mother-in-law, all without throwing any tantrums. I’ve tried laying him down on the couch, side-lying nursing him like at home, but he’s not having it. I’ve tried laying him on the floor, but that hasn’t worked, either. A pack-n-play isn’t big enough for me to cram my 6’1 frame into, and the beds downstairs are too far away to feel comfortable with him sleeping. And I don’t really like cribs.

So my mother-in-law and I were out at Costco, and like every trip, we managed to meander all the aisles (instead of heading straight for the blueberries like she wanted) and ended up parked for a minute in front of these dog beds. Dog beds with two slightly raised sides and soft fluffy lining. Dog beds that were made of memory foam and looked like a great dane could curl up comfortably. We looked at each other, and back at the dog bed, I laughed and said, “are we really considering this?” and we stood there scratching our head for awhile longer.

Well, we managed to leave the store wit a dog bed. We set it up in one of the quiet rooms upstairs and I put him down and nursed him for awhile. He seemed calm, and while I knew he was tired, he hadn’t quite decided he was THAT tired yet. More play. We tried it again. Almost asleep and then wild, smiley, distracted boy. She bounced him on the exercise ball, transferred him to my arms, and now, thirty minutes later, he has gone down for his first nap in his grandparent’s house.

In a dog bed.

I guess, if our dog is allowed to sleep in our bed, our baby can sleep in a dog bed?

image

This morning Potamus and I woke up in remarkably good moods, inspite of the fact that it’s on-call day which always makes me nervous. We had thirty glorious minutes of sweet snuggling before he wanted to JUMP JUMP JUMP. He has been exercising his little legs lately and I am thankful for that jumparoo grammy bought him. And then he tuckered himself out and we took a nap. Well, he took a nap. I watched him sleep. I held his hand and listened to his still-stuffy nose quietly make snoring noises, and patted his back when he whimpered a little. It was an hour of magic. I almost teared up when I thought about these moments getting fewer and farther between as he grows up. Sure I’ve got a few good years left of mama-snuggles from my sweet boy, but not like this…not this still-dependant-sweet-baby stage won’t last forever. Every day it is slipping through my fingers, like sand in an hour-glass. And even though I am enjoying all the newness (a bed to myself for a few hours a night, as he sleeps in the co-sleeper for awhile now, and the ability to set him in the jumperoo to fold laundry for 30 minutes rather than having to hold him), but I get these little whiffs of nostalgia already…