While I was pregnant, I signed up for all sorts of baby-related websites: "What to Expect" informational sites, mommy blogs and forums, coupon grabbers, etc. My email is now FLOODED on a daily basis with articles, sales, mommy humor, and everything under the sun related to parenting. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great. I love reading, I love researching, and I love the fact that technology puts all this information right at my fingertips. The thing with babies is that they're constantly changing, so there is always something new to learn. For me, it's like the most complex, evolving project I've ever had the pleasure to work on. It's incredible.
So there I was, drinking my coffee and checking out the highlights on my weekly email from TheBump, when a topic on the 6 Month Board caught my eye: "Dropping A Nap."
Instead, I dropped my phone.
My eyes darted over to the Grub, who was methodically munching away at her own feet. Then to the clock. Then to the Grub. Then back to the clock. It was 10:30a.m. Which meant that sometime in the next 20-30 minutes, we were going to settle down for a nap. Which meant that I could then get a shower. And with whatever time remained before she woke up, I could prep her lunch, throw in a load of laundry, and maybe even grab a few minutes to myself on the computer.
Therein lies the problem. I have allowed myself to become comfortable and to expect that certain things can, and will, happen at certain times of the day.
We have finally settled into a loose schedule in our household, and it is working beautifully. Much of the initial struggle with establishing a routine had a lot to do with Monica's dislike for her crib, so sleeping in general was a mess. For over four months, there was very little rhyme or reason to our days.
Thankfully, we've moved past those times, and the past two months have actually had a rhythm. I almost look like one of those carefree, effortless, put-together moms that you see in magazines. Ok, maybe that's a bit of a stretch. But I will venture to say that I'm actually getting good at the whole stay-at-home-mom thing. I'm not tooting my own horn here, I give full credit to the Grub for being an easy baby. BUT, I will say that remaining flexible and keeping expectations low have definitely been the keys to success in this ongoing endeavor. Acknowledging that the routine will happen, it's just not going to happen in an identical fashion every day. Variables like teething, dirty diapers, and the dog barking at the mailman/neighbor's dog/random kid on bike all have an influence on our daily routine.
However, even with all those factors, I can generally count on the fact that twice each day, somewhere in the neighborhood of 11am and 4pm, the Grub is going to lie down for a minimum of 45 minutes. Again, the key is staying flexible and just following her lead when she gets tired. I don't even try to estimate how long she'll stay asleep; I just go with it and appreciate whatever time she gives me.
Twice a day. I need it. Not once a day. Twice. On this, I am not flexible.
One nap? How do parents do it?? Let's be honest, some days I'm watching the clock, counting down to naptime. How do you give up that last little piece of freedom that, truthfully, is the one thing that's keeping you going on a rough day?
All of these thoughts raced through my head in less than 15 seconds. Taking a deep breathe, I figured I might as well start reading. The online network of experienced moms and dads must have some insight on transitioning (for the baby) and coping (for the parents). I mentally braced myself, and clicked open the link to start reading the introduction:
"In general, babies move to two naps around six months of age..."
Move to two naps?? TWO? The three naps per day ship sailed months ago in this household!
I collapsed onto the couch, exhaling loudly in relief, and smacking myself for being such a spazz. Grub started laughing at me. Either she thought my antics were for her amusement, or she had already read the article and knew I was getting all worked up for absolutely no reason.
Once I had my wits about me, I immediately started googling dropping down to one nap. I hate being caught off guard, so I figured I should prepare myself. My findings are that, on average, toddlers go down to one nap per day between 15 and 18 months of age.
Toddlers! Yes! Thank freaking God!
In my head, thinking about the Grub being 15-18 months old is so far away, I might as well be thinking of her high school graduation. Mentally, I simply can't even touch it. I do know that the time is going to fly, and she'll be toddling, talking, and terrorizing the dog before we know it. And JK and I will look at each other and say, "How did she get so big so fast?" We're already doing it now, when we look over and she is crawling around, playing with her toys, and sitting on her own - all before her six month birthday.
It's so true, how everyone says that time flies when your baby is an infant. Undoubtedly, this is because the changes happen in such quick succession; there is always a new development lurking just around the corner. And as parents, we're constantly changing and adapting and evolving right there with our babies. We have to. Staying flexible is a means of survival. But for now, I'm going to relax, and enjoy nap time. Twice a day. Every day. At least, until the next round of changes begin.