Parenting might actually be getting easier. This afternoon, Sophie ate a full lunch but vehemently resisted napping. I let her try to solve the problem, but after seven minutes or so it sounded hopeless, so I went in to her room to repeat our napping steps: clean diaper, close curtains, say “nighty-night” to the nearby objects, sit in rocking chair, nurse to sleep. No sleep the second time round, either. Screaming at the top of her lungs.
When I was sure that she wasn’t going to settle herself down, I went in again, wiped away her tears, and took her outside to sit in the sun. That’s what we did instead of naptime, today: we sunbathed.
First, she chose a snack from the snack-cabinet: dried mangosteens. She sat in my lap for half-an-hour, munching that odd tropical fruit and sipping some water, while my legs fell asleep in meditation-pose. She let me brush her hair with my fingers. We just sat in the sunlit patch, naming all the things we saw. Bird. Two birds. Car, white car. Black truck. Two trucks. Kitty-cat. I live on a quiet residential corner near a bird sanctuary, so there was just enough activity in the front yard for her.
I’m not sure it was enough activity for me. I kept thinking, what will the neighbors think? No one else sits in their front yard around here. But that’s where we were, because that’s where the sun was, and the cars that Sophie likes to watch. Green car. Gray truck. White truck. I wonder, is this what my PhD is going towards? But it was surprisingly restive.
It was ridiculously suburban, ridiculously resembling some stereotype of how suburban moms spend their day, sitting with the child on my lap, staring out at life going by, naming cars and colors. And it was surprisingly enjoyable.
Eventually, Sophie got up off my lap and went to stroke the flowers. The ice-plant is blooming right now with an anemone-like silky flower. We picked up some of the street-litter. We chatted with Fabio, our local flirtatious trash-truck-driver. We played a game that Sophie has invented that involves running the length of our walkway, one at a time, cheering for each other. “Go baby go!” “Go momma go!” It’s weirdly satisfying to have your twenty-month-old cheering you on in a race, even if it is a race whose rules only she comprehends.
Eventually, we went inside to change another diaper, then I decided she’d passed through the sleepiness and so we could go on with our day. I put her in the car, heading to Home Depot, where we were going to get a gallon of blue”cool sky” paint to use on the bedroom.
Within a quarter mile, she fell asleep. So we drove home, parked in the shade in the garage, rolled down all the windows, and she has stayed peaceably asleep there, despite Fabio tooting his loud trash-truck horn at me on his way back around the block.
That’s our afternoon, in all its mundane delightfulness.