Thursday, August 12, 2010

This Loop Could Be My Last

My life is going in circles. Literally.

I just returned from the dreaded Kiddo-Won't-Nap-So-We're-Taking-a-Drive. Livie is three in less an month, and since the installation of her Big Girl Bed, napping is a hit or miss activity. It took her a couple of weeks to realize that nothing was stopping her from getting out and playing with toys. Then a couple other weeks to realize that she could get out, play quietly with toys for an hour, get back in back in bed, and then call out "Mommy, I'm done napping."

It took me a couple of days to realize that this was she was doing (hey, that "Everyone Poops" book wasn't on the floor an hour ago...).

So, at least twice a week I find myself loading up both kids in the car and driving the 3-mile circle that loops around our suburban community. Yale Loop is actually its name; "The Loop" to locals.

This is if my fourth cycle on the Loop. The First Loop era was as a brand new mom, trying desperately to stick to my self-soothing methodology with infant Sophia. But when she just wouldn't "cry it out," and I just had to get an hour of peace, that car ride always did the trick.

Then there was the Second Loop, when Sophia was three and beginning to give up her nap time. When all my bribery and alchemy failed (story, song, sippy cup, slinking from the room), we'd head to the car. This happened so often my neighbors got used to the routine. Pregnant with Livie and exhausted, I almost held my breath as we drove in circles, willing her to nod off. Then I'd lug her droopy body upstairs to her bed, collapse onto mine, and go totally unconscious until she called me two hours later.

Third Loop: then a mother of two, struggling with postpartum depression,and finding the methodology that worked for the first child was not working for the second, I'd pack both kids in the car at 2 p.m. Often with tears in my eyes, I'd look at the rear view mirror and see that my four year old daughter was sound asleep, but my infant's blue eyes were still wide open.

And now, I'm looping in what is likely my last Loop. For Livie is my Last Baby. The "Nap Zone" sign that hangs on her door will soon be one of many relics of their babyhood. I'm not as devastated as I thought I'd be. Just like I wouldn't try to keep the kids from walking when they're ready, I have no desire to fight for a nap that is no longer necessary. It's tedious and frustrating to force things that are developmentally inappropriate; this revelation is one of the blessings from the second child.

Plus, I've had a good run. I've made the most of nap times for the last six years: napping myself, catching up on the phone with friends, reading, occasionally scrubbing a toilet. And I'm looking forward to having weekends where our activities aren't planned around someone's nap, besides my own.

Check back with me in a month or two. We'll see how I really cope with two pairs of eyes that are open ALL DAY.

In the meantime, I'll savor each Loop because it might be my last.

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