US: Winken, Blinken and Nod

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I have never been a fan of taking a nap. Part of the reason is I don’t judge the length very well and end up sleeping too long. Then I wake up feeling like I was run over by a truck and it takes me an hour to adjust; it has never seemed worth it. Hope, on the other hand, feels that naps are a gift from God and it would be sinful to ignore that gift. And to her credit, she handles a nap well, waking up refreshed and happy. Of course, I am referring to adult naps and, as riveting as it may be to read about our nap habits, the point of this blog series is to share about how we chose to handle our children in this area. Let it be known the Queen of Naps ruled with an iron fist.

Every mom knows the importance of naps. When you have an infant, it is an opportunity to catch your breath and, possibly, catch up on your sleep. As the kids get older, the length of the naps may decrease but their importance actually increases. And this fact was never lost on Hope. She was a nap fanatic, establishing rules and consistency that the military would have deemed responsible. When they were still infants and sleeping in the crib, they would take a morning and afternoon nap. The morning nap would gradually start later and later until it went away entirely, melding into a two hour (plus) afternoon nap. If they woke up or started stirring around, she left them alone and, more often than not, they would fall back asleep for another hour.

The logic behind her insistence on naps was solid—she needed the time as much as they needed the rest. When they were two, they slept during naptime, a needed break between busyness and constant motion. As they got older, they began to balk at the naps so Hope adjusted her rules. She didn’t require them to sleep but they still had to stay in their bed, no games or toys, only books allowed. Of course, this generally led to the boys falling asleep, no matter how hard they tried to fight it. And just as sure as the boys would eventually pass out, it was equally sure that Laura would not. But the time was sacred. The day’s activities were planned around naptime and it was a rare event that superseded those couple of hours of rest.

As we have stated previously, Laura did not require as much sleep as the boys so naps were not her favorite time of day. But, to her credit, she made the most of it. She sang, read books to her dolls and acted out skits with her stuffed animals. Basically, she did the same thing during naptime that she would have done in the living room. But she logged in her required hour, just like the sleeping boys.

Even after they started spending the morning at preschool, Hope still required an hour of rest time every afternoon. Same rules and with little expectation of sleep. She used the time to finish laundry, start dinner or get the house picked up before the evening arrived because, once nap time ended, it was non-stop activity until bath and bed time. But Hope’s fondest memories about the nap times were not what she accomplished during, but what occurred after. As they slowly waddled out of their rooms, needing a few minutes to get their bearings, she loved the time snuggling with each of them on the sofa. Her babies stretched out, head in her lap and her rubbing an arm or lightly brushing their hair from their eyes, helping coax them into consciousness. And she is hoping those few minutes will be replicated with grandchildren one day. Odds are, by then, I will probably be taking naps with them. 

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