Monday, June 29, 2009


The problem with caring for children is that it completely interferes with dealing with how they may be. I remember reading in some Tracy-what's-her-name? book about looking at your newborn months after I had missed the chance. Inspect their lovely minute forms she urged. I wish I had done so. Would mean a lot more than the scribblings I saved. 13 feeds, 3 poops, 6 diapers, total sleep 13.5 hours for that day.

Babies are very demanding and all that care takes over too often and blocks out the introduction of an astounding new person. I won't get on my normal soap box about how child-care is a industrial consumer complex conspiracy, not this time. But it is the care that's the rub.

My son has stayed up very late for the last few weeks. It is annoying. This week p-man suggested we might cut the N-A-P as a test to get better bedtimes. Now we of course would never do that because we respect and value the amount of sleep our kids are evidenced to need in a variety of parenting books we are nap addicts.

To lose the nap would cue the first time in nearly 5 years we were not spending part of our day punctuated by a child at rest. A child asleep. A child away. I realize the nuances and degrees of identity I put into nap. I register only today so fully what lay behind my inumerable nap/no-nap anxieties.

It is about the care. The beauty of the nap is that it signals to me the moment when I need do no more. The moment the infant is done feeding, the toddler turns over from storytime, the intermission between hours of carrying and encouragement, negotiation, displine.... etc etc. A penultimate coffee break. The windows I carry with me from the time before; the aloneness of pre-child self. Aloneness, in the day where for 5 or 10 or 15 minutes I need not care for them.

It frightens me to no longer have the naps. To have them awake ALL DAY. Mostly I think it frightens me to not have the buffer. For nothing to remind me of that degree of aloneness or my separation from the awesome responsibility of being their mother forever. Night and day, day and night year upon year. My motherhood stretching out to infinity, no 6 month checkups to assess, no milestones writ large.. know what I mean?

But when I put it that way I feel a full measure of liberation. A new phase into this being where my relationship with them, while still caring, is not defined by care. Something with much more room for them to be... and me too.

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Anonymous Heather said...

Lovely conclusion.

7:47 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if the kids aren't napping, they can still have quiet alone time in their rooms (aka the time when mummy gets to surf the 'net). It's an awesome 2 hour window that I cling too.

8:30 p.m.  
Anonymous cheesefairy said...

Oh exactly. The first part I mean. These weeks without *my time* (nap time) have resulted in a harried, Queen Bitch me.

I agree that the conclusion is lovely. I just hope not to reach it for myself for a while.

7:18 p.m.  
Blogger randi said...

couldn't agree more with the first part. reading this while my 14-month-old naps. yeah, i need the naps. i don't care if i use them functionally or if i watch my toenails grow, but damn child - go to sleep so i can be alone for a little bit and miss you again. ;-)

ps - what the - who the - why am i here? love your comments on the cheesefairy's blog and headed over to check you out. great blog!

5:13 p.m.  
Blogger Heather Bea said...

We are going through this with our four year old. Do we give up naps now and deal with the transition during the summer? Or do we wait for school to start and she will be forced to give up the nap? Either way it will make for a cranky family.

11:30 p.m.  
Blogger Crunchy Carpets said...

Mine stopped napping at very early ages...I gave up on trying to schedule naps and just enjoyed when they passed out due to their own needs...usually on the couch or floor.

I took it as a blessed reprieve and NEVER took it for granted.

The benefit was that I could get them into bed at night at a fairly decent hour..though that now at their advanced age has gone completely out the window.

11:36 a.m.  
Blogger Bon said...

i am way late to this but i too cling to the nap and am resisting O being moved up to some kinda junior kindergarten class despite his current class being inappropriate mostly b/c they don't nap. ack!

i am pleased to hear about this quiet time thing, though. and that's about as far as i can go. :)

3:19 a.m.  

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