Nap time is sacred time for a mother. Just ask any mother of an newborn/infant/toddler/child. Lilly has recently transitioned from two naps a day to one. Lilly always, from just a couple of weeks old, took an amazing morning nap, which lasted from two to three hours. The afternoon one took a bit longer to develop. I would use the afternoon to go for a walk while she slept in the stroller, or go out and do some errands while she slept in her car seat. Or she would take catnaps all afternoon in her bouncy chair. It wasn't until Lilly was about six months old that the afternoon nap really took shape and lasted a solid two hours, like her morning one. From six months until 18 and a half months, Lilly took those two naps every day. She took them like clockwork. Over the summer, I had students come over to tutor during her nap time. I was able to ride on my trainer or get dinner ready. I could count on them as periods of time where I was able to accomplish what I needed to. Then, a couple of weeks ago, those naps started to get shorter and she spent more time playing in her crib than actually sleeping. For about two weeks, we alternated daily between one and two naps and now we're officially at one. The amazing thing about one nap is that when it's nap time, Lilly is so exhausted that she generally lies down and goes straight to sleep. There's no wondering if she'll sleep...it just happens. I like the one nap a day. I love being able to go for a walk in the morning, or being able to go out first thing to the grocery store. By 11:30, I'm ready to be home for lunch and then by noon, I'm ready for some quiet time as well. In the afternoon, we'll often go outside or go and play with a friend. Or Lilly is very happy being at home and playing with her toys (or moving furniture, taking everything out of drawers, closets, etc...) So it works out nicely for both of us.
My current problem with nap time is overbooking; I have a list of about 25 items that I would like to accomplish during Lilly's nap, when all I really want to do is sit down, have a cup of tea and read or catch up on the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy. My list looks something like:
* put on laundry
* fold and put away clothes
* get dinner ready
* respond to parent emails re: tutoring
* work out tutoring schedule for next week
* get materials ready for tonight's tutoring
* reorganize Lilly's toys
* write a blog
* respond to other emails
* there's always some sewing or knitting I'd like to be doing
* order photos/make photo albums
* get organized for weekend SAT class
My list generally looks the same every day and contains much more than I can accomplish in a 2-3 hour stretch. However, this list is comprised of things I want to do during nap time vs. things I should be doing during nap time. I never know what is going to win on any given day. Today, it's the blog and an episode of Grey's...with a little laundry, tea and clothes organization thrown in. That *me* time is so valuable. It gives me back my energy and allows me to do things that I love, which are much harder to do with Lilly's "help," like download music (one of my favorite pastimes!) and make playlists. The other day, Jim informed that I'm not as good at making workout playlists as I used to be. I would like to argue that it's not that I'm not as good. It's just that every time I try to sit down and download music and make a playlist, Lilly comes running over to the computer with her potato in hand, asking to listen to "hot potato." How can I say no to that? It's not like she's going to do this forever and I love seeing her dance with her potato in hand. So, inevitably, we end up listening to Lilly's music instead of what I'm trying to listen to, and downloading music gets relegated to my list of things to accomplish during nap time. Hence, when I was listening to my shuffle at the gym this morning, I skipped 90% of the songs that came on as they are overplayed and are slowly driving me crazy. Maybe I should be making that playlist instead of writing this blog.
I love the days when Lilly takes really long naps. The problem with those naps is that once she crosses the two hour threshold, I expect her to wake up any time. So I can't start anything new and I am constantly listening for, "hiiiiii mummmy, hiiiiiii mummmy, daaaaddddy....." whether I realize it or not. So if she ends up sleeping for three hours, that last hour is often wasted time.
Last week, Jim came home from work early on Thursday. And by early, I mean 11am! It was amazing. I had no idea that it was even a possibility but it was Veteran's Day and so Jim was able to leave. When he showed up at the door at 11, Lilly and I were just getting back from a walk and so we all sat down and had lunch. Jim and I decided to celebrate his early arrival home with a beer. We put Lilly down for a nap and tried to be productive but soon realized that the early morning gym visits were catching up with us, and paired with a beer at lunch, it was the perfect nap time for us too. 10 minutes later, we were asleep. We awoke to the little voice in the room next door two and half hours later. It was an amazing nap for everyone. The only downside to sleeping when Lilly's asleep is that there are so many other things I want to do during that time, so it's not often that I decide to have a nap too.
Over the past few months, I have grown to appreciate nap time even more than I used to, since as soon as Lilly goes to bed at night, I am heading out the door to tutor five nights a week. While I can't complain as I enjoy all the families that I work with, it is great income and I get to be home with Lilly all day, that time at night right after Lilly has gone to bed is amazing for sitting on the couch, and I miss it. So all my *me* time occurs during the middle of the day, during that magical nap time. I have at least an hour more to go today. What to do, what to do....