Last night, Sophia didn’t fall asleep until 8:45. We could hear her stomping around, probably to renew her supply books, which I know she tries to read in the dark. The sound of her footsteps gave me agita, so in an effort not to have to listen, Kevin and I retreated to our sound-proof attic to watch Mad Men on-demand.
And then this morning, my husband told me grimly, Sophia woke him at 5:30 am. He sent her back to bed only to have her reappear at 6:30. And then again at 7:00, when her Tot Clock finally turned yellow, signaling that she was now allowed to wake him up.
I know what’s wrong. Sophie is ready to give up her nap. At four, she only needs 11-13 hours of sleep per day. So, if she grabs two hours in the afternoon, it makes sense that she would only sleep nine at night. There are still days when she’ll sleep a good 11 at night and two during the day, but they are fewer and further between.
She may be ready to give up the nap, but I am not.
The nap has always been that midday break when I could catch my breath. Make phone calls. Complete essential tasks. Reconnect with my husband. And, rarely, to take a nap myself, if I’m not feeling well or will be the only parent on duty that day. What will I do without these spare moments to myself? When will I get my blog written? Why is the thought of spending 12 straight hours with my child so overwhelming? Is this why Philo Farnsworth invented television?
I have no desire to try to wean Sophie from her nap. And it will have to be a wean, because unlike so many children I’ve heard about, who started to refuse napping around two, Sophia also enjoys the respite offered by her midday snooze. Just a couple hours ago, she whined, “Can I please have lunch after my nap. I’m just too tired to eat.”
Of course she was tired because she got less than nine hours of sleep last night. It’s a vicious cycle. I suppose if I kept her up all day, lived through the monstrous afternoon, and set her down early, that, in time, she would adjust to this new routine. But I so dread the crankiness, the meltdowns, the battles that I fear will ensue that I am all too happy to coax her into eating a little lunch before I settle her down for her sweet siesta.
When raising a child, you are constantly learning to live with new normals. Just when you get used to the way things are, when you feel like you’ve found your grove, something changes to shake it all up again. A reminder that nothing is constant.
I know I won’t be able to keep this up much longer. At her school, the children are snatched out of the napping room and join the elder children for a second round of preschool as soon as they turn four and a half. For Sophie, that’s next month. Undoubtedly, this transition will force the issue one way or another. She’ll either be so exhausted on the days she’s with me that she’ll crash, or, she’ll slip into this new routine of all day wakefulness, to which I will have to adapt.
I am told that there are other joys to be had once the nap ends—no more rushing home from fun events, spending the whole day at the (beach, park, with friends, etc.), getting to see 2:00 matinees.
But I can’t help but mourn the loss of this little time to myself: Will Sophie be the one who becomes cranky, melting down, provoking battles or will I?