Save Your Singles, Pal–Cash Won’t Buy You Jack in This Nap Dance

by anna on October 14, 2008

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Are you connoisseurs of the nap dance, my friends? And no, by using the term “nap dance,” I am most certainly not making reference to a type of “special” dance made available to cash-heavy gentlemen in the VIP room of Crazy Horse. Once again, I will kindly ask you to remove your mind from the gutter. This is a parenting blog, for fuck’s sake.
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No, the nap dance is something else entirely. Maybe you have not yet joined the ranks of sleep-deprived parents, and a nap dance is just one of many mysterious, possible activities in your hypothetical destiny. Or, alternatively, perhaps your children are long past school age, and the memories of days when you had to negotiate with your little angels to sleep during the day are hazy enough to convince you that the nap dance was a joy to practice. As a matter of fact, you are quite sure that you miss those nap dances! Remember how cute they were back then?
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But if you currently have a child in the age range of late-babyhood through toddlerdom, then surely you are no stranger to this widely practiced, rarely talked-about saltatorial negotiation between parent and child that begins shortly after the last Lunchables View definition in a new window™ is swallowed and continues on through the rest of the afternoon. Indeed, on a bad day, the nap dance might shimmy right on past dinnertime, sashay through bath time, and two-step all the way to bedtime or beyond, until it is finally abandoned by the weary toddler–however reluctantly–his love for the nightlife, his gotta-boogie defeated, ultimately, by excessive fatigue and unmitigated crankiness.
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As you might have guessed, I’ve had my share of the nap dance, and let me assure you that it requires a high level of commitment and dedication on the part of the lead partner (me). It comes quite naturally to my partner (Mini), but then he has always been an innovator. Yes, he is the jewel of this dance, and my job is just to provide the setting to allow him to shine; the elegance of the nap dance is built on a foundation of my ability to quickly adjust to his new steps–often thought up right in the heat of battle, so to speak. Oh, yes, it is a hard detail, but together we make the dance look effortless–he steadfastly refusing to sleep, me responding to his refusals by promises of milk and snuggles in the rocking chair, his squeals of protest punctuated by the odd volitant sippy cup or, more traditionally, the furious stompy foot.
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The second, or “bowel” movement of the nap dance, is one I would rather skip, frankly, if only it were always possible. This tricky interlude involves a swift transport of the toddler to his crib, coupled with the seamless activation the Sleep Sheep. I should stress that this must all be performed in one swift, fluid motion. If anything is to interfere with this precise maneuver–or, if Mini just feels like taking a shit at that point–then the duration of the Nap dance in its entirety must be extended at least one additional hour, giving Mini time to complete his Poop dance solo in the crib stage, as well as for the necessary revisit of the diaper changing stage and resnuggling at the rocking chair, only to be resubmitted to the crib for further demonstration of solo dancing routine.
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At the end of the second movement, there is sometimes a reprieve in which the toddler goes on to rest peacefully for a period of time ranging from 45 minutes up until 3 hours. On those glorious days where Mini really outdoes himself, and stretches his nap solo up over the two hour mark, it is often possible to waltz through dinnertime and bath time in a seamless display of mutual respect, admiration, grace, beauty and love.
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But usually that plan is shot to hell when Mini decides to wake up at the one and one half-hour mark, aka in the middle of “The Danger Zone,” a tortuous terrain in which Mini is convinced, utterly convinced, even if only temporarily, that I am not, after all, his benevolent, long-suffering nap dance partner and fervent supporter of his art. Rather, in the midst of the Danger Zone, Mini remembers that I am actually a despot of an oppressive regime which is dead set on his status as political prisoner. He knows I have come to crush him and all of his plans for happiness.
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Oh, sure, even in the midst of the Danger Zone, Mini will smile at me, cloyingly, determined to get me to come fetch him and finish the final act of the nap dance. But don’t be fooled! For he is not fooled by my transparent bribes of cheddar goldfish and Gerber Cheesy Poofs! No!
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[Incidentally, he will eat the Cheesy Poofs and cheddar goldfish. Begrudgingly. And I better keep them coming. And while I'm up, he wouldn't mind some milky milk to go with his Thomas the Train. But that doesn't mean he has to like it--the principle of it.]
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But if you think he’s not wise to my orders to torture and belittle him, to lure him up onto my lap to watch his Sprout TV, you are sorely mistaken! He’ll not be made a pawn to my tortuous games. This tortuous, agonizing third act of the Nap Dance extends for as long as it suits Mini’s fancy, usually an hour or so, or until a kitty walks by, since it’s impossible for Mini to see a kitty and not smile, no matter how foul his post-nap mood. At this point, the fog lifts–ours is not to question why, ours is but to do and die–and accordingly, he twists around and lays his face on my chest, hugging me and making snuggly noises, for I am his precious Muh-mah encore, une fois. And fear not, dear friends, for we will live to napdance another day.

{ 9 comments }

jenni October 14, 2008 at 6:26 am

This is so every day for me, right down to the, “OH MY GOD, I pooped my pants and now I can’t possibly be expected to sleep” maneuver.

jenni´s last blog post..My Mom is Crazy

Mary Anne October 14, 2008 at 7:27 am

Mine were “stop and drop” nappers, meaning I didn’t have my act together enough to have an organized routine. “Oh, passed out on the couch? Okay….” Now I miss those days because when they get to the age mine are (almost 10 and 7) they get up, start talking and complaining about being bored and don’t stop until 10 pm or so. I wonder if it’s too late to go back to a nap routine?

Mary Anne´s last blog post..Tag…I’m It.

Casey October 14, 2008 at 7:41 am

Oh, the 45 minute intruder is killing us right now with my 6 month old. Then she yells and wakes up my 21 month old in the next room. Me no likey the nap dance, the days when the naps are over two hours are numbered around here. We’re lucky to get 45 minutes of baby nirvana and then one or the other wake up. I hope you get some sleep around there!

Casey´s last blog post..Outsourcing

Jim October 14, 2008 at 9:36 am

Bwahahaha…I’m past this now. Woo hoo! I made it and so will you., never fear.

I’m sorry, did that seem callous?

Jim´s last blog post..Dust Bunnies

HeatherPride October 14, 2008 at 10:16 am

Oh yes, my friend. I know too well of which you speak. I am finally over that phase with the oldest, only to be in the prep stages for the youngest. Oh, good times….

HeatherPride´s last blog post..Are You Amazing?

J. October 14, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Are you SURE cash wouldn’t work? I mean, a well-timed bribe can do wonders. Or maybe threats that you’ll force him to go to USC…?

crazylovescompany October 14, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Dear Queen of Snark,

I am 8 months pregnant with my first and am now going to throw out all of the baby books friends and family have lovingly gifted me and instead I plan to dedicate myself to following your parenting methods. Clearly, you’ve got it down. Please provide more detail in the future. I am now going to search for posts about labor. Thank you.

crazylovescompany´s last blog post..Rich cheeks and first dates

Mary Anna October 14, 2008 at 5:50 pm

My first didn’t nap until he went to daycare at 3 months – and they didn’t believe me until that first day! He didn’t sleep through the night until almost 2 years.

Thing 2, on the other hand, sleeps so well that we called the nurse help line on him as an infant! Now I can hand him a sippy of milk, tell him I love him and close the door.

There is a God afterall!

Mary Anna´s last blog post..Get Saucy & Win!

blissfully caffeinated October 15, 2008 at 9:46 pm

I don’t even care that my kids don’t nap anymore. I couldn’t take the frustration.

You’re rocking them and coaxing them and singing to them and lighting incense praying, for what seems like hours. Then a half an hour after they finally go down they’re awake and crying. And then when you pick them up that fall back asleep on your shoulder. But then as soon as you try to lay them back down, they start crying again. Or, the worst thing is when you think they’re good and asleep after you’ve been rocking and rocking (because you NEED that hour of naptime) and you lay them in the crib, raise the side, and that CLICK startles them awake.

It’s a vicious, evil system.

blissfully caffeinated´s last blog post..Escargot, my car go, one sixty, swiftly / Wreck it buy a new one

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