Monday, March 1, 2010

The Battle Begins...

In my head when I imagined being a mother, I had all these ideas of what it would be like. I would have this miraculous baby who slept 10-12 hours every night and during the day took two long naps during which time I would clean the house, read books, catch up on my TIVO and make dinner. Ha. Ha Ha HA! The reality ends up being much different as every mother who might be reading this already knows. I really don't mind that I am not as productive as I had imagined. And I am mostly accepting of the brief interruptions in my sleep on occasion (now that we are done nursing, of course). But the naps were hard to adjust to. I remember reading several books on parenting when our son was a few months old and feeling pretty anxious that he wasn't napping at ALL like they described! In fact, many days, he wasn't napping at all! My wonderful pediatrician informed us at his four month check up that this was actually somewhat common for his age and that he would eventually "learn" to nap better. Thankfully, she was right and his brief 30-45 minute naps eventually became as long as an hour and sometimes even two. However, she neglected to mention that once he was able to sit up and move around, the battle would begin. As an adult, I cannot imagine anything more wonderful than sitting in a soft cushy chair being cuddled by someone and rocked to soft music. Just the thought of it makes me sleepy. But, apparently, to a baby who is just a breath and a hair away from walking, it is the worst thing that could possibly happen to him.

My opponent in the nap wars is, unfortunately, a worthy one. He uses all manner of tricks to keep from losing each battle. There is the aggressive defense which consists of fussing and twisting about in my arms to keep from falling asleep. The entertainment strategy which entails engaging in all manner of cute or funny behavior in order to make mommy laugh and keep him awake longer. I am sad to say that it is a fairly effective technique. And then my personal favorite which I like the dub the "Harry Strategy" after one of my favorite movies, "When Harry Met Sally". This is the one where the little guy attempts to moan at strategic points where sleep might be imminent in order to keep himself awake. Surprisingly, I think it may actually have the opposite affect and he ends up moaning himself to sleep much the same as Harry does in the movie. The first few times this happened, I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing and waking him up!

I am proud to say that more often than not (despite his valiant efforts) mommy wins the nap battle. However, I am now being told as we near the year mark that we will be eventually moving from two naps down to one. And then the battle isn't as much about getting the nap to happen as it is about getting the nap to last(sigh). And the war rages on...

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