Dear Babykins: Sleep Payback

Dear Babykins,

During your first round of nap protests, I had several mothers recommend the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child  “It’s so helpful,” they said.  “It really encouraged me understand my baby’s sleep needs,” they told me.  Consequently, I bought the book and plowed through it.  Then I attempted to apply the advice given in the book to you.

You didn’t go for it, leaving me a hysterical mess because the book also assured me that if you didn’t get the “right” sleep, you would grow up to be a delinquent idiot.

Your own sleep cycle soon emerged:  For several days you would take extremely long naps and go to bed well, then several days you would only nap for 30 minutes at a time and refuse to fall asleep at night.  Each time you entered the anti-sleep phase there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth because I was sure that your refusal to nap was a reflection of my terrible mothering.

At any rate, last week I thought we turned a corner with this whole sleep thing.  For three days you went to bed at 7:00 p.m. and you took a good morning nap and a good afternoon nap–just like the book said you should.  Then, without warning, you started waking up at 5:30 a.m. and taking 30 minute naps–just like the book said you shouldn’t.  Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

After the second day of this, I talked to your grandmother.  I bemoaned the fact that you just wouldn’t take a decent nap and despite you continuing your 7 p.m. bedtime, you were insistent on waking up before 6 a.m.  “That sounds reasonable to me,” your grandmother said.

“But that isn’t what the book said she should be doing,” I explained.

“Oh, throw that stupid book away.  I’ve always told you that you gave up your morning nap when you were only a few months older than Babykins!” exclaimed your grandmother.

It was true, one of your grandmother’s favorite stories of my infancy is that I was a terrible napper and refused to take a morning nap well before I was a year old.  Originally I thought this story was amusing, now that you’re here, Babykins, I realize the horrible reality of a baby who won’t take a nap.  Oh, why did I put your grandmother through that?

Oh, right, because I was a baby.

However, it is a comfort to know I was a terrible napper and I didn’t grow up to be a delinquent moron.  So there’s hope for you.

At any rate, perhaps 26 years from now you’ll have a baby of your own who won’t sleep.  And I’ll tell you when you lament about bad naps that you would often only take 30 minute naps that made me wail and gnash my teeth.  But I’ll do so with fondness and laughter.



P.S.–After I had this conversation with your grandmother, you took a 3 hour nap that afternoon.  Go figure.




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