Sophie’s nap routine: we lie in her bed, snuggling, chatting about the day, until we get to the part of the day that is, “And now we’re taking a nap.” Then I tell her “shhh” and “nighty-night.” Sometimes that’s all it takes. Usually, Sophie insists on getting up for some milk. Then we get up for a “night-night walk” in the sling, slowly circling our monotonous apartment complex, singing lullabies, swaying in the sling, listening to the calming sound of my flip-flops (no matter how cold it is, I wear flip-flops for night-night walking). Sophie eventually sways to sleep on my shoulder, and then she allows me to unlock the apartment doors, ease her out of the sling and onto the bed, still asleep.
This whole routine takes at least 30 minutes.
Yesterday, it took more than 90 minutes.
Lull to sleep already, dammit! That’s what I found myself thinking. Calm down already! Stop your chattering, stop jumping out of bed, just stop this foolishness and let yourself be soothed to sleep! I was actually angry at Sophie. I keep telling her that the sooner she sleeps, the sooner she can wake up and go have more adventures — but this is complex logic to explain to a girl who just turned two. I tell her that every growing girl needs naps, in order to grow as big and strong and smart as she is, but I think that explanation is wearing thin, too. Sophie has been asking to return to “church key” (King’s College Chapel). I have been wanting to return to the Fitzwilliam Museum too. We haven’t had a chance, all week, because parks (which are vital) and housekeeping and all this nap rigmarole eats up our whole day.
When I really can’t soothe her, then I leave her alone, since my presence isn’t calming. She gets up, sobbing, opening her door, seeking me out. I carry her back to bed. She gets up, sobbing, opening her door, seeking me out. I carry her back to bed again. We repeat this. It is never pleasant. Yesterday, we repeated it more than twelve times. I was not feeling gentle about carrying her back to bed, by the eighth or ninth time. She wasn’t feeling gentle either. She started hitting my face. It was ugly.
We finally took a second night-night walk, and ran into a sobbing three-year-old who was vocalizing what I was feeling. Sophie loaned him her blankie, which he promptly covered in snot. Comforting that snotty, howling 3-year-old stranger — and his mother — ended up comforting both of us. Still, they turned down our invitation to come over for tea. We’ll never see them again.
Sophie and I went home alone, and, yesterday, I gave up on trying to get Sophie to nap.
Today she was so tired she went to sleep in 10 minutes and napped for almost 3 hours. She really does need a daily nap. If only she understood that as well as I do.
I’m going away this weekend. Maybe Sophie and I just need a break from each other. I hope so, because I don’t know how much longer I can keep up this terrible nap fight.