Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Horrible thoughts

What is it about my son's naptime that I tie it so closely with my ability to parent?

I don't understand it but I've always done it. Ever since we took custody I've been working hard to make sure my child sleeps well and knows how to get himself to sleep.

I think it has something to do with my own chronic insomnia which was never addressed when I was a child. How much of my life can be attributed to my own eternal exhaustion? How many pounds on my overweight body wouldn't be there if I'd just had the energy to run a bit more or play a bit harder? How many tv shows would I have avoided if I'd had the mental energy for something more? How much food would I have passed up since I wouldn't need that so much for my energy?

No, sleep problems aren't to blame for everything, but they can account for a lot. Lord knows I can hardly remember my teen years when I was only sleeping a few hours a night. So much of my life was bleary until I encountered the magic Benadryl + Tylenol concoction: one of each a night and I can not only get to sleep but stay asleep. I feel better now than I did for a long, long time and I attribute much of that to actually getting sleeeeep. And having a wonderful morning person husband who actually lets me sleep in a bit every morning? And lets me sleep till noon on Saturday? Oh, it's wonderful! Wonderful I say!

So maybe that's it. I naturally want more for my son than I want for myself (unless we're talking cake) and I want him to sleep. I want him to get a full night's sleep and wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed. I want him to get a sufficient nap in the middle of the day so that he's not just dragging by during the afternoon and tantrumming all night before literally passing out while trying to get to his bed (yes, he's done that).

And here he is, at 1:35pm on a Wednesday afternoon. I made sure he got exercise all morning, made sure he went potty enough, fed him a nice lunch (PB&J + tomato + choc milk), had him potty again, prepared his room, gave him a book, gave him a kiss, and left him to nap.

That was an hour ago.

After he peed his pants (huh???), filled his bed with Q-tips, played with the lightsaber and snow globe, tried to take off his diaper, kicked, screamed, pinched, hit and demanded, I finally gave up and now he's sitting there, perfectly happy watching tv while I sit here feeling like a horrible, horrible mom.

What is wrong with me?

And I mean that both ways. What is wrong with me that I can't figure out how to get my son to sleep when I KNOW he needs it? What is wrong with me for giving up and giving him his way? What is wrong with me that I don't always think of his needs first, such as his need to get enough sleep, and instead throw my hands in the air and leave the room half in tears?

But also: What is wrong with me that I'm so tied up on this? I mean, for the love of God, it's just one day's nap! Sure I've "failed" like this before but really after the last 15 months of mommyhood I probably have about 365 days of good naps under my belt, and that's including his brief "no more naps!" period. And kids? Yeah, sometimes they're little buttmonkies and they really don't want to do what's best for them and it's just not worth it to fight them over something that they won't even remember tomorrow. He's no different from any other kid who just doesn't feel like a nap, and hey, he doesn't punch me in the eye anymore over it (naptime used to be "physically abuse mommy" time while he fell asleep, but that was a year ago).

I once told Nik that it feels like my whole day is geared toward getting Paxton to sleep well. Get him physical and mental exercise so he's tired, lots of interaction so he's satisfied, good food with protein and calcium for stimulating tiredness and keeping him sated while sleeping, keeping a relative pattern on bathroom breaks and sleeptime, being open about what's coming up next and letting him know so it's not a surprise. 9 times out of 10 I don't even realize this and he goes to sleep no problem, happily even, then sleeps like a log, wakes up and whines for half and hour, and is a little bundle of sunshine the rest of the time. Well, maybe 6 times out of 7 since Sunday is regularly his day to fight naps.

Maybe it's because Nik is here. In fact that's highly likely. Just like on Sunday when daddy's here and he didn't spend all morning with him, he's fighting naps and then following his daddy around just to be near him.

Please tell me my kid won't be like this until Nik goes back to work. Oh please oh please oh please...

and please tell me I'll learn to just let it go, most of the time anyway, and roll with the punches. Heck, I can take punches better than I can not napping!

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