From 6am until noon, Sophie is a delight to be with, taking joy in every bird or “Bob-the-builder’s-helper” or ladybug or trashtruck that we see. Then, at noon, she starts to fade. I feed her and begin to lull her to sleep.
I spend about two hours of every day lulling Sophie to sleep.
Simply lying in bed isn’t enough to lull her to sleep, no matter how soothing our bedtime routine. If the stars are aligned, and if I lie next to her in silence for at least 45 minutes, sometimes we get lucky. Usually, not.
Lately, she has learned to wiggle her feet so much that our traditional walk-around-the-block-in-the-stroller lull-to-sleep strategy won’t work either. She’s also getting too big for the walk-in-the-sling to sleep. Then, today, she decided to scream so loudly and so long that even the usually-effective long-cardrive-just-before-naptime lull wouldn’t work. She was mad because I wouldn’t stop highway driving in order to buckle the seatbelts of the imaginary monsters that she had just spotted in the backseat. She was furious. She was exhausted. She screamed for 40 minutes straight, the entire car drive back home from a lovely morning at the children’s museum.
Mid-day sleep is such a battle that, lately, I have been conceding defeat. Soph will play quietly, independently for about 45 minutes. That has become our nap substitute.
But it doesn’t work. It means that Sophie will be cranky, furious, screaming, crying for most of the afternoon, from 2 pm till bedtime. I start counting down the minutes till bedtime. I start just walking away from a girl who is shouting at the top of her lungs because I turned on a light-switch that she had wanted to turn on, or I had said “Good job” in a voice that irritated her, or something else just hadn’t been perfect for Boss Sophie. I start to wonder, where did this angry monster come from? I start to want to flee my own house. It is driving me insane.
Today I firmly told Sophie that nothing will happen after 1pm until she sleeps. Nothing. I told her that we have lots of good things we could do, like playing at the park or even going to the donut store, but we won’t do it until she sleeps. Today, finally, after that painful 40 minutes in the car, she did fall asleep in the stroller.
I don’t know how much longer this battle can go on.
Especially because we have another battle, too: the don’t-wake-Mommy-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night battle.