The Naptime Game
In a pre-Covid world, I would occasionally pick up my children during naptime for an appointment or some other reason. The room would be dark, soft music playing, and the children would all be lying quietly on cots with their favorite stuffed animal and a blanket. So I have had this vision in my head that naptime is this orderly, routine-based part of the day.
Now going on 10.5 months at home, my 3-year-old daughter has turned naptime into some kind of sporting event.
Due to our work schedules, my husband and I “switch” at 11:30 in the morning. He is with the 3-year-old until that time, and I take over at lunch. She eats with her two school-aged brothers who are home for remote learning, and then plays for a bit until noon.
At noon, I announce that it is naptime. She can’t do anything without setting a timer for two minutes. So we ask the nearby Alexa to “set timer for two minutes” and then she is ready to go upstairs to her room for nap when the timer goes off.
Except first, she has to say goodnight to both of her brothers. She will yell their names as loud as she can and demand elaborate kisses and hugs from both.
Then she will sloooooowwwwly climb the stairs to her room.
She refuses to nap in her clothes. I don’t know why this is a thing. She napped in clothes just fine when she was at day care. But no, at home, she insists on wearing pajamas for her nap.
But first, she has to strip completely naked and use the potty. Again, I don’t know why this is a thing either. I told my sister about it once, and her response was “Yeah… I hear that some adults like to be naked when they use the bathroom also…”
So she’ll use the potty and then come out saying “MOMMY! I TINKLE TINKLE!” And even though she has been potty trained for over a year, I have to praise her like it’s the first time she’s ever successfully used the potty and give her a high-five.
Then — still naked — she will set about “closing up” the master bedroom. Which is completely unnecessary since I don’t nap during the day (at least, not in the master). She will close all of the curtains and make sure that the doors are closed to the bathroom and closet. She will end by closing the master bedroom door and head back to her own room.
She won’t wear the same underwear she was wearing five minutes ago. Along with putting on pajamas, she needs new underwear. The process of picking out something to wear to nap is elaborate. She will sit and think and stare at her pajama options… yet always choose her Frozen pajamas.
We then close her curtains and her closet door.
She climbs into her bed and chooses a book. One book. By this time, I’ve run out of patience to read more than one book.
At the end of the book, we have to sing a song, from one of my favorite children’s books, Love You Forever.
I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.
At the end of the song, she puts her hand under my chin and pulls my face toward hers. She plants a big kiss right on my lips. Then she throws her arms around me and squeezes me tight in a big hug.
She always has to listen to the same music. I ask her Alexa device to play the playlist “Relax, Baby.” Then I have to tell Alexa to turn off in two minutes. Which seems ridiculous since two minutes is not nearly enough time to fall asleep — let alone get through the first song. But the 3-year-old insists.
I say goodnight and turn out her light.
Except on most days, she doesn’t nap. Instead, she’ll usually destroy her room by taking out every toy and flinging it around. Sometimes, she’ll even get into her laundry and play dress-up with her stuffed animals. One time she drew on the wall. I can hear her singing loudly to herself and banging on her toy piano when I walk by.
But I don’t care. She’ll stay in her room for several hours, happy as a clam. So I don’t mind the elaborate process it takes to get her to go down for a nap — at least, not too much.