The panic that ensues when you finally allow yourself–after weeks of utter denial–to entertain the notion that perhaps, just maybe, your 16-month old is phasing out his naps is unquestionably the most extreme form of trepidation.
Now, panic is a funny thing.
I have experienced it in many forms.
However, the no-nap panic is in a category all its own.
It is not even remotely similar to the instant panic that rebirths your sailor mouth when you rub your husband’s prized pick-up against a bright, red shopping corral. I am all too familiar with this form of panic.
A no-nap panic also has no relation to the panic that eats at my brain, as well as my heart, when I turn on any form of media. The Trump-or-Clinton-Oh-My-Goodness-We-Are-Screwed panic is bad, but it is not nearly as bad as a no-nap panic.
It may be somewhat comparable to the panic that stares a pregnant woman in the face when she realizes she is not even close to a bathroom, causing her desperation for even a small tree on the side of the road to multiply ten-fold while she prays for a rest area, desperately convincing herself she is strong enough to hold it.
While in the denial stage, each day you approach nap time with optimism and grace, fully believing that God’s love for you and your family must cause Him to grant enough mercy to you and your little one to keep him asleep for at least two hours.
With each passing minute that your renegade stays asleep, your optimism grows. A positive attitude in life is important, of course; however, it simply causes the dread to crash into you harder and faster when you hear grumbling from the nursery 20 minutes after the commencement of naptime.
In that 20 minutes you have barely consumed your lunch, let alone done laundry, washed the floors, done your devotions, and baked banana bread, which is just to name a few of the items on your Nap Time To-Do List, which has grown to epic proportions since your sweet, innocent, adorable psychopath has chosen to look at nap time as more of a suggestion than a priority.
Now, I’m only going to say this once: NAP TIME IS NOT A SUGGESTION.
Now, I am fully and painfully aware that my young boy is not nearly old enough to understand the concept of a Quiet Time. I can’t lock him in his room and say to him, “Okay, honey, for the next 20 minutes, you are going to read quietly while Mommy takes a break.” I can’t whip out a coloring book, place him at the kitchen table, hand him a crayon, and expect silence. Nope. I’m not sure this will even happen when he is three, let alone 16-months.
So, once the realization of my reality has fully set in, my first action should be to open my Bible, looking for peace, advice, and clarity for how to deal with this mind-blowingly horrendous situation. However, instead, my first action is to log onto Pinterest. The Bible is helpful, of course, but it does not provide me with endless ideas for inexpensive sensory activities, quiet boxes, and concrete and strategic parenting strategies to escape the terror of my sleepless little one for a few sweet moments a day.
Ah…. sensory activities. What a wonderful thought!
Yes, I’m sure my son would thoroughly enjoy digging through a collection of dry pasta that I have placed in a cake pan on the floor. It would most likely take no more than 3 minutes before he lifted the cake pan, dumped out the pasta, and threw every item in his grasp as far as he could; lucky for me, he is not throwing at a real great distance right now.
Yes, I’m sure my son would thoroughly enjoy a makeshift bear cave made out of construction paper and a large cardboard box. My perfectionist self would work tirelessly to create an authentic and spacious cave. I would strategically place his stuffed bears inside the cave, thrilled to watch him play in it for the first time. I would leave him in the basement for five minutes, expecting his attention to remain on the box for at least 10 minutes, only to find that he has removed all the paper from the sides, torn it up, and tossed it willy-nilly about my, once clean, basement floor.
Yes, I’m sure my son would thoroughly enjoy a large, endless track of paper towel rolls, taped throughout my house for his Hotwheels cars. After an hour of assembling, I would stand next to a tube and show him how to put his car inside and retrieve it at the other end. Then, I would head into the kitchen to wash dishes while he begins to tear every tube off my wall, mistaking them for a weapon against the dog, instead of car tunnels. The dog will definitely thank me for my efforts…
You see, there are a few key facts that Pinterest is utterly unaware of as it displays countless, bewitching proposals to make my life easier. These facts are as follows: 1. My son is a dangerously curious boy; 2. My son is only 16-months old; 3. My son needs constant attention; 4. My son destroys literally everything.
I guess I failed to take into account that Pinterest does not know my son, and parenting is not perfect. No matter how many strategies I employ to entertain my busy toddler, parenting is never going to look like a magazine ad.
So, what is my solution to this no-nap panic? First, open your Bible: God will help you through every step of parenting. Second, keep trying. Third, against all odds, stay sane.
Most of all, soak up every moment you can with your little attention hog because even though you would give anything for a break, someday you are going to be willing to give anything for just one more day with your no-nap-taking-monster.