If you are a mom, you know that one of the most prevalent pieces of advice given to new moms is to "nap when the baby naps." The idea is that most new mothers are bound to be at least a little sleep deprived; taking advantage of the time when the baby is sleeping to catch up on her own much-needed rest allows a mama very necessary refueling time.
Most moms find this to be an impossible concept..great in theory but tough to execute. There is so much to do during the brief periods of baby down time that to snooze on through them just feels like a waste. I never once took a nap when Monkey was an infant. It's not that I didn't want to. Talk about a waste of time: I used to daydream about napping instead of doing it. But I just couldn't relax knowing there was so much I could get done when I didn't have a baby attached to me.
Now that Monkey is older, he naps even less than he did when he was an infant, so napping is completely off the table for me. I'm not complaining about that. I was never much of a napper to begin with. I usually avoid it just because when I sleep in the afternoon it takes me at least an hour to climb out of the post-nap fog, and then I can't get to sleep later that night. Best just to leave the afternoon zzzzzzs to the baby.
But then last night happened, a strange one indeed. I was wide awake with no sleep in sight until at least 2:30am, mostly because of having changed the clocks for Daylight Savings time. This was disconcerting enough, given that my alarm was set to wake me at 5:30 for work. To add a layer of poo to the restless night, Monkey woke up just as I was about to drift off, and he was instantly and stubbornly wide awake in the middle of the night as I have only seen him on one other occasion. And not only was he awake, he was super irritable because of the incisors he's got breaking through, and he wanted nothing but to climb all over me, seeking some kind of comfort and reprieve from the pain.
This went on for the next 2 hours. I did everything I could to make him feel better, but in the end he was still clearly feeling pretty bad. At my wit's end I eventually turned on Nick Jr. and we sat through two episodes of bratty Franklin, up to no good as usual. I finally fell asleep around 4:30, and I don't know when Monkey finally dozed off, but when I awoke at 7:15 (whoops) I was dazed and exhausted and feeling pretty useless. Remarkably, Monkey was pretty much ready to get going with the day.
I rarely lose my patience with anything, and even more rarely when it comes to my son. Thankfully he is pretty agreeable so far, so he doesn't do a lot to try my patience. Also, given that he *is* my son and I am so thankful for his presence in my life, my heart is a soft squishy mess when it comes to him. I don't have a problem saying "no" and setting boundaries, but to see him upset or legitimately suffering pretty much guarantees levels of patience to emerge in me I didn't even know I had.
That said, today was kind of a strange exception. Having been awake almost the entire night and spending a good part of that time listening to him cry beyond consolation (mostly the extra grating, manufactured kind of crying as opposed to genuine tears), I was at the breaking point when late morning rolled around his emotional state hadn't changed. I kept telling myself that he was truly in pain and feeling bad, and I did what I could do to try and comfort him, but still I felt very much opposed to the thought of spending any more time listening to him by then.
Nap time, which is usually a breeze with him.--he just puts himself right to sleep--was looking to be a big challenge. The second I put him into his crib he started screaming and wailing (this time for real...he soaked thoroughly the blanket he was clutching), and he simply would not stop until eventually I took him out and came to find my Mom. In that moment, I'm positive my face was begging for help, searching her eyes for advice and wisdom and that Mama reassurance that says, "I've been here, in this place where you are right now. And I know just what to do."
And she did.
When my Mom watches the baby on my workdays, they have a nap time routine wherein the baby hangs out on his Nana's lap with his pacifier in, wrapped in his blanket, and just chillin' in her soft, warm Nana lap. She tells me he often falls asleep that way and she then carries him to his crib. When I'm home we don't do the Nana routine, and he's never seemed to mind in the past. But today, Nana's love was just what he needed, just when he needed it.
She took him from my arms, gathered him and his blanket up in her lap, and let her deepest, most patient and understanding Nana love shine through.
Today's New Activity: Giving in to the Comfort of Mom/Nana
I can't overstate how lucky I feel to have my parents nearby to help in the raising of my son. I don't know how I would have handled what was going on between last night and today if it weren't for the willingness of my Mom to step in a lend a hand. The baby, once comfortable in her lap, almost instantly fell asleep. And just knowing he was finally relaxed and at peace, I fell asleep too...right there on the couch next to him and my Mom. I'm not sure how long we napped together, but the sleep was obviously much needed for both of us, and whatever amount of time it was was enough for me. The peace of mind alone that came from knowing he was calm and comforted would have been enough itself. Having the chance to revisit the days of my own childhood--when my Mom was all that was ever needed to bring peace to my own heart--was just icing on the cake.