"But Mommy, I don't NEED to take a nap. I'm BIG...remember?"
Is four too big to take naps? True, she's the last of her friends to give it up. But she's still completely narcoleptic in the car, passing out almost as soon as the key hits in the ignition if it's anytime after 10:00am. She rubs her eyes in the afternoon, or gets wild and silly, or cranky and sullen.
She still needs her nap.
I still need her nap.
Naptime is when I shower. It's when I write, and do the dishes, and catch up on Pretty Little Liars and Bachelor Pad while I'm folding laundry (don't judge.) It's when I breathe. Two little bodies asleep, the whispered static of the video monitors, the dog on my lap. Maybe even an afternoon snack. Maybe even an afternoon coffee, drunk in heavenly, uninterrupted sips.
But I can't deny that her sleep patterns are changing. Lately she's been fighting bedtime, appearing and re-appearing from her room wanting one last kiss, one more hug, a glass of water, a goodnight pat for the dog. When we get firm about her needing to get back in bed, she gets upset.
"But my stomach hurts, Mommy."
"I just can't sleep."
"I'm lonely...I need to be with YOU."
"This is getting ridiculous," J said. "Maybe it's time to let her drop the nap."
"NO. WAY. JOSE." I replied. Easy for him to say. He was far away at nap time, usually at lunch meetings that started with a salad course and ended with cappuccino. If E gives up her nap, my mommy duties will stretch from 6:00am to 8:30pm...that's a fourteen hour day. With no cappuccino. With no uninterrupted afternoon coffee, even.
However. Yesterday, after we let her play at the park with her friends for so long she missed lunch and naptime, and after she begged and pleaded that she was BIG and didn't need it anymore, I gave in. She stayed next to me and we read together for quiet time. Then she came upstairs and watched Charlie Brown Christmas (don't ask) while I put away the laundry. And at 7pm, when I reminded her she'd agreed to go to bed at the same time as Baby N because she skipped her nap, she agreed without so much as batting an eyelash. Or stomping a foot.
J brushed her teeth and helped her with her pajamas and read her a story. As always, she asked him to send me in to sing to her before lights out.
By the time I walked from the kitchen to her bedroom, she was fast asleep, hiding under the blankets like she always does to "surprise" me when I crawl in bed beside her.
7:30pm. No fuss, no whining, no seventy million "one last kisses."
There might be something to this no-nap thing, after all.
And then, today.
We'd agreed to try the no-nap thing one more time. "I WON'T need a nap, Mommy," E declared. "I want to stay up the WHOLE TIME."
At 5pm, when I returned from running errands, I found her on the couch.
So much for staying awake the "WHOLE TIME."
I think tomorrow, we're headed back to the land of daytime nod.
I can taste my afternoon coffee now.