My daughter does not like to nap. At best, she will catnap for half an hour to 45 minutes. If I am walking with her, or we’re in the car, perhaps we can stretch it to an hour or even longer. But generally, it’s a catnap in the morning, one after lunch, and one after her 3 pm bottle.
The first two naps are fine, and she collapses in a heap of tired baby, but the 3:30 nap is often a fight.
The struggle to get her to nap at 3:30 is usually exacerbated by the fact that she is getting really tired, because the end of her day is rapidly approaching. And like most kids, she gears up for one last hurrah of craziness before she finally has her cereal, her bottle, and heads to bed somewhere around 6:30. So when the time comes for her 3:30 nap, despite being really tired, she fights sleep as hard as she can.
Today was not looking so bad, actually. When her 3 pm bottle came around, she was hungry. I turned off the TV, and gathered my baby up in a cuddle in the chair we normally sit in for bottle time. She was happy for both the snuggle and the bottle, and she wolfed it down. And as she ate, she dozed off.
Now, this week, Her Babyness has begun to babble. It started with “BA!”, randomly — just trying it on for size. But for the last couple of days, she’s moved on to “Da da da”, which she seems to like very much. “Da da” is her word of choice when she’s saying good morning to all her toy friends in her room, or chatting at the TV, or talking to BDH or myself or any of the cats. “Da da” seems to be a great all-purpose word for her.
Unfortunately, it’s also become a word she uses when she is upset.
Before, our daughter had a typical shrill, shrieky, infant cry. But now, she gets crying, and you hear her calling out to you for attention or comfort, sobs punctuated with “DA! DA! DA DA!”
And it just about breaks your heart.
So back to today’s 3 pm bottle. She had dozed off while finishing her bottle, and was out for the count. I carried her up to her crib, and put her down.
A moment later, her eyes popped open, wide awake.
She smiled.”Da da!”, she beamed at me.
Clearly, this nap was not going to come as easily as I thought. But there are two irrefutable rules in the life of a parent:
- Babies need to nap.
- Parents need to get things done, and naptime is often the only time to get these things done.
And I had things to do.
So, I brought her back down to her playroom, and put her down on her blanket on the floor, under a snuggly blanket, in the hopes that she’d just doze off. No such luck. “Da da da DA da da da da DA DA DA da da…”
I moved her to her swing. I strapped her in.
“Da da da!”, she grinned at me.
I turned it on and walked into the kitchen.Â And then the crying started.
“She’s so tired,” I thought. “Maybe she’ll just work it out and doze off.”
But the crying became more intense. Sobs, punctuated with her calling out to me: “Da da! Da da! Da!” And as the sobbing and the calling became more desperate, I thought happy pleasant thoughts, and continued to do the prep work for supper that I had started.
But there’s something about your child in distress. I challenge any parent to successfully resist the urge to run and scoop their baby up and make it all better when he or she is crying, really truly crying. It’s HARD. It’s like resisting a primal urge.
I waited five minutes, and then I went to rescue Her Babyness from The Swing Of Doom.
She looked up at me with those huge eyes, big, fat tears rolling down her cheeks, and said, “Da.”
I picked her up, snuggled her close, and went over and turned on iTunes.Â And as Van Morrison began to sing out her lullaby,”Tupelo Honey”, I danced my precious daughter around the room. I rocked her, and hushed her, and we danced around to the music.
She fell asleep in my arms.
I had fought the good fight, against the crying of my distressed child, and lost. She had fought the good fight, against her nap, and lost.
But nobody can win when they’re up against Van Morrison.