It's been hours. No, it hasn't been hours, but it feels like hours.
He needs a nap so bad. When he doesn't take his nap, he is a different toddler. There are fits, lots of instances of having "no bones", dishes thrones and whining that can drive even the most mellow parent to annoyance. There will be lots of crying about not being allowed to hold essential oils.
My normally very sweet. very easy and good-natured boy turns into something else.
"Cry it out" they say. I hear those mocking words in my mind as I rock and rock and rock and rock.
How did we get here?
Let him cry it out. Yes. That is good advice. It would be so easy if he didn't hurt himself. See, when my child gets upset, he likes to rake his fingers over his cheeks in a very melodramatic, overacting type of way. Unfortunately, if there is just ONE nail that has a corner, a miniscule sliver of sharpness, there are facial scratches later. He pulls out his hair, which I'm not even sure if he notices until it's over, since his poofy, gorgeous, delicious curls are right in the path of his over-dramatic face raking.
I thought there was nothing I couldn't handle as a parent. Turns out I can't handle tiny black curls dusting the inside of his crib or lines of blood on his beautiful, soft cheeks.I can't do it.
So now it's 1pm. We've tried everything. About 50% of the time it works, but somehow my child knows when things aren't exactly perfect.
Here is the list of things that can throw off an entire nap:
-When his Dad tries to put him down for a nap.
- A loud breath, sneeze or cough when leaving the room or laying him down
- If his knees are up when I lay him down
- If he is not laying the right way on his lovey
- If he has a icky diaper
- If it's Tuesday, or a Thursday, or maybe a Sunday, Saturday, Friday or Monday. Oh, or Wednesday.
-There is a weird slant of light in his room
- If I somehow miss a toy in the crib and suddenly it's playtime and I SWEAR I WILL BURN THAT FREAKING DUCK LATER
- If a dog breathes in that general area
- If he farts
It's always the same. I think he's asleep, I think I've succeeded, and then I step away from the crib. His super-spidey toddler senses alert him that I'm not STANDING RIGHT ABOVE HIM, and he pops up to his feet like he's an Avenger. "Mama! Mama! HI! HI! Hi!" I have literally laid on the floor next to his crib trying to outlast him only to roll over and see big brown eyes staring back at me as he whisper "Hi. Hi. Up?"
Such cute words have never broken such a heart.
There is no going back. There is no lying him back down. He's up and it's only downhill from there. Trust me, we've tried everything. This kid has a card to play that trumps any parenting skill/advice/book/prayer we've got.
It's that our first priority is keeping him safe, and that even means from himself. I won't let my child get physically hurt. I'm not going to let him scar the only face he'll ever have (We hope. I don't know, the future might be weird.)
It's only naps that are like this, thank goodness. The bedtime battle has been won (for now), and that's peaceful, easy. It's just the naps. Half the time, which means half the time he ends up in our bed.
Occasionally, this is blissful co-napping, tangled up in each other, me breathing in his coconut shampoo and toddler breath and big, warm feet pressed against my tummy. We fall asleep together and there has never been a nap as comforting, wonderful and heavenly in all the world.
The rest of the time, this is him sleeping on my now-dead arm, and me wishing that I could reach my book or phone or anything. I'm contorted in a weird way, and every time I try to slip away off the bed, he stirs and it's not happening, so I lay there, plotting novels in my mind. The rest of the time it is me, just on the verge of a much needed nap myself when I hear a very not-tired whisper "Happy...happy bday mama." or "Mama, sing Elmo's song?"
The nap trenches. We're in the muck here, with the cutest little opponent the world has ever seen.
It's not a fair fight. Not even close.