Naps are hard to find around here these days. My son has just turned two and a half, and he’s not napping about 60% of the time. This might not be such a big deal if I hadn’t failed to teach him how to fall asleep on his own or to stay in one place to rest. We tried a full day at the babysitter’s recently, and he rested on the couch for an hour and 45 minutes. At home, he sleeps on a futon on the floor next to our king mattress, also on the floor. This is not a big house or a big room, so we’re bed-walking all the time, and I can’t open the bottom drawer of my dresser.
Sometimes it appears that E decides my milk is not sufficiently sleep-inducing, or that he’s going to have to poop in the next, say two hours, or that his mother missed his tired window just like she misses her own if she stays up past 10:30 p.m. and is then good to go for hours. So he gets up, pulls up the room-darkening shade and talks about the mushrooms growing in the yard. Or he turns off the white noise machine and walks out of the room, closing the door behind him, usually returning with a book. Or he playfully kicks me, gives me raspberries and tests out his teeth on my skin or hair. This isn’t exactly quiet time.
I continue to grumble about the longterm effects of lack of sleep in my childhood; I think poor sleep contributed to my health problems later in life. I remember not napping as a preschooler and and then lying in bed awake at night. It was impossible for me to recharge. E has been sleeping through the night for about six months, and so far he’s not having fits or tantrums a lot due to fatigue, but you can still see it building up under his eyes and a little in his spirit if he doesn’t get a nap, even though he seems totally peppy and happy when he ought to be sleeping.
Often I’ve stupidly waited to have lunch until after putting him down, so, when that fails, I end up bringing him downstairs where he plays while I eat. Other times I’m tired and try to model good resting, but it doesn’t do any good; he just literally walks all over me and the room. Some days we stay upstairs, and I put away laundry or something else not very exciting, but he manages to make up some active game with himself anyway. Lately I’ve resorted to drives again to get him to rest so that I can at least have some kind of break (now that he lets me transfer him into bed).
Well, today, during non-nap time at home on a rainy day, he looked at a photo album while I started to prep the room that is going to be his.
It’s tiny, about 8×10′, with no closet. The door needs to be planed to close well, and we need to get darkening curtains (the all-or-nothingness of the blinds bugs me. We might keep the cheapo Venetian blinds but I really ought to do something with the cords if I’m going to leave him in there alone). One of the outlets needs a safety-sliding thingy. This room is, like everything else in our house, a project of dominoes.
But today I at least got things started. I sorted books that he still likes and will like soon from older fare: children’s books I bought when I was teaching — a bunch of stories on the immigrant experience along with Heather Has Two Mommies and Jennifer Has Two Daddies. Then the 10+year old Walmart bookcase I sponge-painted when we bought the house in 2001 went out of the room, past the gate at the top of the stairs and bound for Freecycle. (That reminds me, I made my husband write the ad for that while I cleaned the basement hours later, but, alas, I didn’t have him post it because somehow it became my thing to try to find real homes for things and his to dump stuff at Goodwill and claim it on our taxes. Sue me for trying to know something actually gets used and appreciated and getting off on stranger’s emails with thanks and exclamation points.)
The plan is, I think, to move theboy’s futon into the room so one of us will still lie down with the boy for nighttime sleep, still on the floor. We’ve been telling him he’ll get his own bed for a while, but I think we should just get him into the room soon rather than wait for our procrastinating asses to settle on an off-the-ground bed for him when we don’t even have one yet for ourselves. Plus, I think a new room and new bed at the same time might be too much for the little guy, even though he’s always adapted well to new beds during travel.
Once he’s moved, I’m just going to have to insist on staying in the bed at quiet time, and I figure I’ll have to expect to just bring a book and sit next to him for a few weeks. It may be easier to keep him contained when he’s up off of the floor, but I think we’ll have to start there unless we can get to IKEA and put something together this weekend.