A warm afternoon about 1pm, curtains a drawn, and a ruggedly handsome, doting father is tenderly putting his calm, serene daughter in her cot for some quiet time
[Adoring Doting Daddy] “Ok so you’ve got teddy?”
[Slight Tired 2.5 Year old girl] “Yes daddy… and purple teddy daddy”
[ADD] “Oh yes purple teddy, here you are sweety”
[ST2.5] “…and Elmo daddy, where’s Elmo?”
[ADD] “Silly daddy, here you are”
ADD Turns to leave the room
[ST2.5]“And books daddy…”
[ADD] “OK sure sweety, here you are”
[ST2.5] “the pants book daddy, where is the pants book?”
[ADD] “woops, silly daddy, here you are. Is there anything else you need?”
[ST2.5]“ummmmmmmm… music daddy, silly daddy forgot music”
[ADD] “your right! here you are…ok? good. I’ll see you soon after your quiet time”
AD kisses daughters forehead, adoring brush back of fringe, uplifting music seems to be playing somewhere
[ST2.5] “That’s the wrong music daddy”
[ADD] “Oh, what’s the right music sweety?”
AD finally finds the right music, reaches over for a quick kiss, decides no adoring hair brushing is needed
[ST2.5]“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy… what about teddy’s socks?”
AD frantically looks for the small white newborn socks that teddy seems to require to prevent soft toy hypothermia. Puts them on making a show of them being on nice and tight
[ADD] “There you go sweety, quiet time now, see you soon”
AD leaves the room, pulling the door two slightly and walks towards the kitchen when the crying starts, which turn into a scream and then intermediate hyper-ventilating, and coughing and “DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDY!!!!!!!”
No it’s not the screenplay of my yet-to-be-published horror novel, nor is it the introduction of a post about some horrible injury or illness that my daughter suffered on the weekend. No it’s much, much worse. The Illiterate Infant household has crossed one of those final lines between babyhood and toddlerhood (or toddler hood and childhood depending on how lucky you are). That line is the afternoon sleep and we are now officially on the “no afternoon sleep” side of it.
It’s a clever bit of cosmic trickery because my first post, written back in July was a personal high five to myself, congratulating me on getting my daughter through her latest piece of daytime sleep rebellion. Since then I’ve been strutting around, secure in my ability to handle anything my growing child throws at me with my gifted parenting techniques.
With a false sense of security firmly instilled little miss 2.5 chose her moment to pounce and before I knew it it was gone. The hour and a half to sit on the couch, revive with a cuppa or even talk to my wife in the daytime has been swapped for a negotiated “truce” involving mum and dad bringing various offerings into the cot in the hope that she will quietly play, read or cuddle them in such a way that she will relax enough to fall asleep. Instead we are subjected to a period of blood curdling yelling and screaming before we go in to see a healthy little girl, albeit with slightly teary eyes who happily tells us the latest adventure teddy has been on.
I know nothing lasts forever and I realise that really, her sleep is as much about my wife and I being able to relax for a fleeting moment as it is about Miss 2.5’s health and well being. I’ve also noticed that she does pretty well without it unlike 3 months ago when each evening would be like a re-enactment of M*A*S*H (the injured soldiers bit, not the drinking gin and wearing your dressing gown to work bit) but I just wish that 3 weeks ago someone had said “make the most of it”.
So, practically speaking, is it over? When did your little ones day time sleeps finish? Is sleep a good friend of your household or an evil force that must be banished at all costs? If you’ve lost it, do you want it back?