Monday, 2 March 2015

A Farewell to Naptime

Dear Naptime

It is now nearly a month since you left us unannounced. I had hoped, nay assumed, you would take your leave slowly – your visits becoming gradually shorter, or not coming one day only to return the next – but no, you made a dramatic exit. From two hours, often more, every day to nothing. You've popped back twice since but too close to bedtime so we've had to shove you out unceremoniously after half an hour.

I knew things would be hard once you'd gone, but your very sudden departure has left me all at sea. When do I do all those little jobs now? The ironing, sweeping up, prepping tea, when are they meant to happen? They sure as heck can't happen with an overtired three year old in tow, who protests if I so much as go to the next room by grabbing my hand and gently tugging me back saying, "but Mummy, I'm lonely on my own!" Yes I've got those two precious mornings when Eleanor is in preschool, but that's five hours a week. I used to have fourteen hours of you!

Your leaving is a game changer. My business has had to go on the back burner indefinitely, and my plans to start up a second business are also shelved until Eleanor gets more hours at preschool. My hopes of actually having a bit of spare money have been dashed, as have my hopes of finding fulfilment rather than fatigue in being a work at home mum.

And it's not just the housework or the work-work that's the trouble. When do I get a breather? When do I get a cup of coffee and a biscuit now? A biscuit that I don't have to share, or eat in the cupboard so my daughter remains under the illusion that biscuits are just for pudding or as a treat at playgroup. I miss those biscuits. I miss a couple of hours of utter peace and quiet, just me pottering around the house getting stuff done. I used to hate getting to the end of naptime and realising I'd hardly had a rest myself – it's amazing how hindsight can make ironing in front of the TV seem like such a blissful experience.

Now you're gone, I have two extra hours a day to fill with entertainment. Two hours with a three year old who, actually, quite clearly still needs a nap because from 1pm onwards she is an emotional wreck who is unable to focus on anything and unable to cope with me saying no to any of her demands. My once-peaceful afternoons are now filled with requests to watch-Charlie-and-Lola-read-a-story-bake-gingerbread-do-a-crafty-thing-watch-Charlie-and-Lola-again-do-painting-play-with-the-playdoh-cake-maker-watch-Charlie-and-Lola-again-BUT-MUMMY-I-WANT-TO-WATCH-CHARLIE-AND-LOLA-AGAIN-NO-DON'T-GO-TO-THE-TOILET-BECAUSE-I'M-LONELY-ON-MY-OWN! All this at a time when I've already exhausted my ideas for what to do in the day and feel shattered. Thanks for that.

And then, aside from all the things I can't do, aside from all the things I now have to do, there is that sense of wistfulness. Eleanor doesn't feed to sleep at bedtime, but she did feed to sleep for you. At times that was stressful, but there was such a beautiful tranquillity in sitting in a chair in a darkened room, nursing my hyper preschooler until her eyelids were heavy and her limbs limp. Lingering for a few minutes after she'd dropped off, my own head nodding slightly, enjoying holding my sleeping baby just like I did three years ago. Now the only times I can cuddle my slumbering child is the night feed and that stolen extra sleep when she comes through to our bed in the morning. Both times when I'm too tired to enjoy it.

I wonder how long she'll keep waking in the night. Well, I've always wondered that but now there's a conflict inside me. I long for the day when I'll go to bed knowing I won't be woken until such a time as can respectably be called morning. But now I feel like I'll miss sitting in that chair and holding my wonderful snoozy bundle. And then how long before she stops falling back to sleep when she comes through to us? The time of sleepy snuggles seems to be creeping away now, and that makes my heart ache.


I won't beg for you to come back, naptime, because I know it's futile. Eleanor has decided that she's done with you, and once her mind is made up there is no unmaking it. But I'll miss you, and not just for the obvious reasons. I'll miss that oasis of calm in a busy day, when I held my darling child and her eyes slowly closed.

2 comments:

  1. I fear we are starting this too! Be strong! And yes, one of my first thoughts is 'when do I get a break?!'.

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    1. It's relentless! I'm trying to encourage Eleanor to have a quiet time where she entertains herself drawing or doing a puzzle, but more often than not she wants me involved. She is going to bed earlier thankfully, but after a full day with her I'm not up to much by 7.30pm!!

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