Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Perfecting the art of the nap

In high school, I developed a formula for the perfect Sunday afternoon nap. I had a giant TV with a built-in DVD player in my room, and I could fall asleep watching a favorite movie. Then, when the main menu music started repeating after the movie was over, it would wake me up. Somehow all that worked out to give me the perfect hour and a half of sleep.

Then, in college, I arranged my classes so that I was finished every afternoon by one or two. We had mandatory chapel, so I had to be awake early anyway, so I took early classes and ended my academic day early. Which, you guessed it, meant a nap almost every day. Those were the glory days of 3 hour naps all cozy in my dorm-standard twin size bed.

After graduating, getting married, and starting a grown up job, my naps changed because if I didn't get to sleep early enough on Sunday afternoon, I had trouble falling asleep at night. And then Mondays were grumpier than usual. It all had to be timed carefully.

And now I am in the SAHM world, where everyone asks if you're getting to sleep when the baby sleeps. The answer, up until last week, was a resounding no. You see, I was told that I couldn't spoil my baby until she reached 3 months. And my Husband is a teacher, so he was home with me. So we held her for her naps and savored her precious littleness. And then Husband went back to work, so I developed a routine of watching a show on Netflix while holding a cuddly sleeping baby.

The reasons this went on for so long are multi-fold. She wouldn't sleep for as long if I laid her down. And I needed some time to not be "on," so holding her and watching TV was a good compromise. Also, she was sleeping great at night, and I didn't want to mess that up.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, nighttime sleep disentigrated and I decided my baby needed to nap on her own for my sanity. And she needed to sleep deeply so that I would be able to nap when I needed it. (I have an aversion to being woken up just as I fall asleep. So much so, that I'd rather not even risk it.) So we started napping together in my bed. And then we transitioned to her sleeping swaddled in her crib.

All this to say that I am relearning how to nap. And it's an ongoing process. Yesterday morning, she slept on my shoulder because she hadn't done that in a while and it was sweet. But I'm being consistent in putting her in her crib for her afternoon nap, and she usually sleeps for around two hours. That is a beautiful two hours, my friends. Very different from the two hours I would dedicate to napping in high school, but I finally understand the true value of "nap time." Wishing you restful days, and if you are so inclined, a nap or two.

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