Aaaahhh, one of my favorite subjects: Mommy Break Time.
Mommy Break Time has evolved as my kids have aged. The Helpful Kid naps once in a blue moon, but is pretty good at entertaining herself these days. The Wiggly Toddler naps 3 to 5 days a week.
The Wiggly Toddler does this thing that the Helpful Kid never did:
She puts herself down for a nap.
Whaaaaaaaaaaat? I know–it’s miraculous. But despite the miraculous nature of a Toddler possessing such a trait, I find there’s still a bit of dread and frustration involved. First of all, I can’t help but wonder when that karma bill will come due because, dude, that will be one expensive invoice…
***Please note that the self-directed napping does NOT mean she goes to sleep willingly at bedtime.***
Secondly, she pretty much never naps at a time that is convenient for me. We’re going to leave for an appointment in 20 minutes? Out like a light. I really really really need her to stay awake until bedtime in a couple hours so she’s actually tired enough to go to sleep on time? Sawing logs. Time for lunch? Too late–already off to dreamland. That last scenario usually leads to whiny demands for snacks mid-afternoon.
Don’t get me wrong– I’m fully aware of how awful the alternate possibility is. An overtired toddler is fearsome to behold.
All the same, the most frustrating aspect of the self-directed napping is that she’s kinda sneaky about it. I’ll be working on something or cleaning something or cooking something and slowly realize how quiet it is. A quick interrogation of the Helpful Kid usually results in the indifferent answer, “She’s sleeping in her bed.”
Gaaaaaaaah! I’ve been wasting precious Mommy Break Time minutes!!!
Why does this elicit such a strong response that it must be bolded and italicized? The simple answer is that this often means that when I am finished with my work and in desperate need of a break, I will have to contend with a well-rested Wiggly Toddler.
Another way in which the Toddler differs from the kid is her
clingy cuddly personality. This trait means that, when I sit or lie down for that desperately needed break, she’s attached to me like a sticky on a toddler’s hand (and, also, her hands are usually sticky). And she WIGGLES. SO. FREAKING. MUCH.
And so it happened today. I had a lot of work to do today. She napped through lunch. She awoke with a wail because the Kid and I had the audacity not to sit next to her bed, watchfully, and wait reverantly for her tiniest whim to fulfill upon awakening. After
agreeing to anything to make the wailing stop placating her, I sent her out into the fenced back yard to play with the Kid.
I am exhausted today. I practically army crawled through the work I had to do today. And, somehow, I managed to get some work done.
I had finally reached that golden moment: Mommy Break Time. I have a solid hour until I have to get back up to start making dinner, so I decide to veg out with hulu for a while.
The moment my head hit pillow was the moment the Toddler decided she was all done playing outside.
So here she comes down the hallway. She crawls onto my bed with shoes on (did I mention the rain earlier in the day?). Post-shoe-removal, she snuggles in against my chest, flips over a dozen times for good measure, and ends by digging her knees into my belly. She then moves on to the natural followup of using her dirty little hands to mess with my face.
This point is where the Helpful Kid decides she’s kind of lonely outside by herself and, fortunately, had found a long fallen branch. So while I’m trying to get the Wiggly Toddler to be less, well, wiggly before the next knee to the belly makes me throwup, the Kid starts banging on the bedroom window with her new prize…
Finding the outdoors boring after the proscription of her fun, the Kid proceeds to come in and attempt to engage the Toddler in some kind of indoor play. This course of action would have been preferable but for the lamentable unwillingness of the Toddler to detach herself from me.
Once I finally got them off of me and out of my room so that I could get back to my break, I glanced at the clock.
I had 5 minutes left.