Saturday, August 25, 2007

Afternoon Napping

Years from now, when I think back to this first summer of Ks life I will remember the naps in the afternoon. The whir of the fan breaking the stillness of the afternoon heat, K's small body tucked close against mine as she nurses through the nap. Me, dozing and dreaming, intermittedly waking to check on her sleeping form-- if she is still sucking I go back to sleep, if she has popped off, I move away slightly and cover up so as not to disturb her and to try to sleep more deeply myself.

I never would have allowed such a break from "the rules" with my older two children. With E, I put her down for her two hour nap, and I would not get her back up until it was over. If she had cried I would have left her there until she fell back asleep. So by the time she was K's age, I didn't have her waking mid-nap. She was a solid sleeper. As for N, same thing. I also knew I could count on E to stay in her room during "quiet time", so she didn't disturb N's nap. This time I valued my sleep more than keeping to the rules of good napping. When K was a little baby she wasn't a good napper and I desperately needed that down-time in the afternoon to nap and rest myself. I had to have her sleeping while N slept, and the only way I could do it was to bring her into bed with me to nurse while I slept. She would then fall alseep, only waking to switch sides, or when I needed to get up because N had awakened. As you can imagine, she has gotten quite used to this routine, and when I put her down in the afternoon she will only sleep 30 minutes to an hour in her own crib before crying and waking. So I have ended up continuing this napping together on the afternoons that sleep wins out over other household chores (which is most days). I don't know how much longer I will continue it, since I know it is keeping her from being a good (solitary) napper. But I have to admit, I do enjoy those quiet afternoons alone with my little one as we cuddle close and sleep together. I also love the end of naptime when she wakes and starts waving her arms in the air, and looks at me with her bright eyes and wide smile. I smile back and talk with her a moment before taking her downstairs to begin the next part of the afternoon.

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