One of my favorite scenes from The Chronicles of Narnia is when Aslan creates sleep in order to give the creatures a break from themselves. I am reminded of this often as the children (or I) stumble around as an emotional and physical train wreck. So every day at precisely the same time, I cheerily tell the children it’s time for The Nap, they shout with glee, skip to their room and sleep simultaneously for 3 hours.
Sometimes a few of them commence The Nap at the same time. And it’s glorious. But most of the time, the Nap feels like I’m playing “Whack-A-Mole”- get one down just in time for another to pop up (the same applies to sickness.) So to spare myself and my family frustration and shame, I hold The Nap loosely. My goal is for the Nap to happen, and I’m learning to be ok with it happening Not As Planned.
Sometimes it happens at the time I want; sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes it happens where I want; sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes they don’t need help being quiet; sometimes I have to stand guard at their door to keep reminding them.
Sometimes I can do that with lots of patience; sometimes I can’t.
Sometimes The Nap lasts as long as I want; sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes they wake up refreshed; sometimes they wake up grumpy.
Being on the road offers a great opportunity to get creative with The Nap, since the when, where and how are constantly changing. As I type this, Judah is sleeping in a pack-n-play hidden in a laundry room, Sam and Caramia are romping around in their sleeping bags (I will have to go and remind them in a few minutes to put their heads on their beds. And then there’ll be another round of hugs and kisses and a song or two.)
One of the unexpected joys of this open-ended road trip with my 4 children has been the amount of naps I’ve been able to take with them. Many of our hosts have offered to watch the other children while I nap with one of them. We cuddle and catch up as we drift off to sleep, and I inevitably end up drooling in their hair. That’s the ultimate sign of a good nap.
Just like collapsing face-first onto the couch is a sign of a good day in the world of toddlers.