Of Course It Goes Without Saying That Caring For One's Child Is One Of The Most Rewarding Things You Can Do

So absent a week's worth of anomalies whereby Mr. Baby just happens not to be able to fall asleep for his "first nap," I believe that at just under 16 months, we have seen him transition to one nap a day.

I should back up, at least for the Childfree among us. So there's this pattern that children fall into where they take two naps a day. The pattern we settled into, which worked well for us, was the 2-3-4 routine, which, if you read about it, mostly makes sense, at least until you get to the "4." In short, two hours after a child wakes up, it's time for his or her first nap. Then three hours after he or she wakes up from a nap is the second nap. Four hours later he or she goes to bed.

I should add that Jen found this bit of information. I didn't really look up stuff at the beginning, so she took the lead there. Which is to say, I heard about this method second-hand, so I may be misunderstanding it, but four hours before bed time makes a sleep schedule a little like a M.C. Escher timewarp. For example: Baby goes to bed at 9 p.m.; he wakes up at 9 a.m. (because he's a fucking stoner and goes to bed late and sleeps late); he "goes down" for a nap at 11 a.m.; he wakes at 12 noon; he "goes down" again three hours later at 3 p.m.; he wakes at 4 p.m.; four hours later is 8 p.m.; then he wakes at . . . 8 a.m.? Hey, wait a second . . .

So I think what they mean is that baby is meant to wake up at least four hours before bedtime, but who knows.

Anyway, however you do two naps, two naps happens until it doesn't, and then a child transitions to one nap (and eventually no naps, unless you work for a tech company, in which case you apparently need to nap again). The thing is, it's hard to figure out when exactly they don't nap.

All this week, Mr. Baby has been gleefully chattering away for the entirety of a morning nap, never quite sleeping. Today I began to wonder if he's down to one nap.

And that sucks.

It doesn't suck because it's uncool for a child to develop and grow. It sucks because now I just lost an hour in the morning to answer emails and do chores and fold laundry and do all the stuff one is unable to do when there's a child up in your grill.

I know what you're thinking. And I'm not going to dignify it with a response, except which to say, look, you try to do part-time work, cook, "clean" (such as it is), and pay attention to a child — while at the same time paying attention to the lead topics on "Around The Horn." It's not easy. That extra morning hour helps.

If I didn't have martyrdom then I'd have nothing at all.

Just kidding.

Seriously though, when I walked out of the house to take Mr. Baby on a walk after he cried through his first "nap," I had this heavy feeling that our two-nap lifestyle had come to an end. I'm sure I've mentioned that life is a series of compromises and adjustments. Actually, I've never mentioned that, because that's not something you're ever supposed to say. What I meant was, if you're the type of person who thrives in rhythms and routines, it's a challenge to keep up with a toddler.

We went to the park. He fumbled around on his knees, because he's still not walking but you're not supposed to say shit about your kid, so he's just doing stuff at his own pace. Most of all, he did not appear to be tired or cranky in the slightest. We returned home and ate lunch. He slept after lunch. While he slept I Googled "babies two naps one" or "children transitioning to one nap" or probably more likely "seriously, when is it that this kid will go down to one nap and my time will really no longer be my own."

The weird thing is that, for some reason, there is no good answer. You might think, "Of course! You can't just Google your way through parenting . . ." But actually, you can. People talk about every think in the world online. But for some reason you can get 694,000 results about "toilet slaves" but you can't learn a goddamn thing about when your kid sleeps. At a loss, I thought to Ask Dr. Sears. He said to breastfeed, or something like that. It's nuts.

What I did find was a bunch of moms — and let's face it, it's always moms — writing about their child's daytime schedule. Look, most of this stuff is boring — not even arcane, which bestows an elite quality, but just downright lame. At some point I looked up and realized I spent twenty minutes — twenty precious minutes — trying to figure out some other random kid's sleep schedule.

The funny thing is that everyone I've talked to is torn up about shifting to one nap. Sure, it makes it easier to "do stuff" — you have a bigger block of time to go to the zoo, have your child study a foreign language, make him or her practice piano — but your time is squeezed out even more, until all you can do is contribute immensely hilarious but ultimately worthless Tweets. Stuff like "Can't wait to get home to curl up with a glass of Merlot in one hand and BuzzFeed's '47 Worst Toronto Raptors Low-Lights' in the other". Or, "Best worst final lines of novels that weren't: 'And for the rest of his life, the Turk breathed'". Or, "Respectfully I say to thee, you smell like a hobo, but no one makes me feel like you do". Or, "When toddlers discover phones, the poor sap at 222-222-2222 ext. 222222222 gets barraged with calls". Or perhaps, "45 min into Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; Al Qaeda's new goal should be to create 100000 Jonathan Safran Foers to bring US to its knees".

You get the idea: There's only so much uninterrupted time you have during the day; this is why Twitter was created; you have no choice as you watch your life slowly squeezed into 140 characters or fewer.

It's heartening and funny and real that the few people I've talked to about this feel the same way: They all want that nap back. Does that make us all bad parents? Of course. We're all terrible parents for wanting more time to do our work, complete our chores, weed the lawn, drink a beer or surf the internet without acceding to demands to look at ducks on Google Image Search.

I was fully intending on coming up with a snappy concluding paragraph but a) I forgot what I wanted to say and b) I'm too tired anyway.

Posted: April 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: , ,

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