Photo: Ursa Major during the happy times….the napping times…
“We don’t need sleeping, Mama, we’re playing with trucks!”
“We don’t need a nap, Mama!”
“We want out, Mama!”
“We don’t need milk and a nap, Mama, we’re playing!”
These are the campaign slogans of Ursa Major, who is currently boycotting the daily nap. Yesterday was day five of the boycott. And like any other totalitarian government under siege, I’m deploying increasingly desperate tactics to restore order within the state. Because naps aren’t for toddlers. Naps are for Mama.
Now, when you read that “we” business, I’ve decided that it’s a royal We. Because Ursa Minor needs his nap. He’s actively asking for it. Screaming for it, even, after lunch. It’s all I can do to clean him up from lunch, get him some milk, and get him in the crib without going half deaf for all of his screaming and carrying on. But of course, without his brother in the nursery with him, Ursa Minor is now waking up an hour earlier than usual, sensing something is amiss and wanted to know where his brother is. Soooooo my afternoons have been decimated.
And of course, toddlers who don’t nap in the 1 o’clock hour are jive punk-ass people in the 5 o’clock hour. Can Mommy get some onion and garlic chopped for dinner? The answer is a resounding No!!!
So yesterday, I put Ursa Minor down for a much needed nap and I instructed Ursa Major to stay out of my way. Play quietly, I told him. Don’t bother me, I told him. Of course, he did none of these things…so eventually I slumped onto the couch, turned on the Zimmerman trial, closed my eyes and tried to take my own nap.
Well, that intrigued him indeed.
“Mama, you sleeping?”
Pushing my shoulder. “Mama? you sleeping, mama?”
“Yes, baby, I’m sleeping. Mommy needs a nap.”
[He goes off to play.]
Five minutes later. “Mama? Mama, you sleeping? Mama?”
He comes over with his water and tries to climb on me. “Mama? I need the blue couch.”
Yesssss, my strategy is working. “Do you want to take a nap too, [Ursa Major]? Do you want to get in the crib?”
“No, I don’t need the crib,” he is still trying to climb over me, ” I need the blue couch. You get on the floor, Mama?”
Me, chortling. “No, I’m going to stay on the blue couch. Mommy is sleeping on the blue couch. Do you want to get on, too?”
“Yes!” He said with glee.
Great, I’m happy to compromise. I put him up on the couch and we snuggle up. I close my eyes and watch as he sloooowwwllyy…..sloooowwwwlllyyyyyy falls asleep.
And I fall asleep, too.
Well, something happened. I don’t know what, but something, and the next thing I know, he’s squirming. “I wanna go play!” He announces.
“What? I thought we were taking a nap?”
“No, I don’t need a nap. I need my trucks!”
Lordy… fine… so I let him down to go play. I fall back into a groggy sort of sleep–that weird mommy sleep of “I’m sleeping, but I’m totally aware of every single thing my kid is doing” kind of sleep.
He played quietly for all of 15 minutes. Then he found every single loud toy in the toybox and proceed to press all of their buttons.
Now I’m totally up. Turning off everything, praying that Ursa Minor didn’t hear.
I’m sure you know what happened next.
Cries out of the nursery.
Ursa Major: “[Ursa Minor]’s not sleeping, Mama.”
Thanks, Captain Obvious.
From that point, it’s about managing the inevitable deterioration. Can I do the work that I needed to do, keep the boys happy, get dinner on the table, and manage to make this place look like a sane place to be when my husband gets home?
Sesame Street and Word World gave me an hour and a half of respite. So the work got done. That’s the good news.
But when it was over…..oh when it was over…
Then the wrestling began. And by “wrestling,” I mean the constant physical oppression of Ursa Major over Ursa Minor. The chasing, the jumping, the smothering, the pushing. Oh yeah, Ursa Minor enjoys the chase, and he even enjoys a little of the wrestling, but when Ursa Major puts all of his 30 pounds on his brother’s back…well, that’s when the screams begin.
It took me forever to do the basic prep for dinner: The clearing of the dishwasher, the setting out of the pork chops, the cutting of the yukon golds, the snapping of the green beans. What were they doing during this time, you ask? What weren’t they doing? Throwing balls at everything. Ramming trucks into each other or walls? Having a spontaneous stomping party on the titled floor at the front door (remember, we live on the top floor of an apartment building…), spreading diapers around the nursery, taking out the mega blocks and distributing them around the living room… driving me flippin’ crazy!!!!!!
“Mommy can’t get dinner ready if I’m constantly managing you!” I must have screamed every three minutes.
After they were done destroying the apartment, then they just got mean. Asking for stuff without please and thank you. Hitting each other or throwing things at each other. How many times do you give a toddler timeout?
And, of course, when my husband got home, they acted like nothing bad ever happened ever!
The best part of all of this is that my husband and I are in “we’re married with two babies” mode. Which is probably the least sexiest of the marriage cycle. It’s the “I’m too tired to talk to you, fight with you, kiss you beyond the greeting peck on the cheek, or even giggle at an inside joke” part of the marriage cycle. We never get to “I hate you, why did I marry you?” mode, but we certainly get to “I’m too tired to do anything else but breathe the same air as you do as lovingly as I can muster” mode. It is very annoying when we are out of sync as a couple when the boys are in active and unrelenting rebellion. We really should be leaning on each other, and instead we’re just trying to carry the load individually, but muddled and less-than-excellent results.
So when he got home looking like a zombie anyway, I knew I didn’t gain anything more than an extra baby to be compassionate for.
So I broke out a beer to accompany my dinner.
The good news? They actually ate their dinner. Ursa Major, especially, devoured more than his fair share of green beans. Food seemed to revive my husband, too.
But when he took the boys for the bath and bed routine, I had a second beer.
Because it was a two beer kind of day.
The Terrible Twos are rough. I am just barely surviving them. Most days are good days…but the bad ones…ohhhhhhh the bad ones. I feel like I’m good about strategies around tantrums and what not…but how do you strategize around the afternoon from hell? I suppose I could have taken them outside, but it’s been rainy/muggy/hot/stormy around here.
How did I write this post, you ask? Well, I basically told my toddler, in no uncertain terms, that he would be taking a nap today. He’s currently in his crib. I don’t think he’s sleeping (though, I can’t hear anything above the sound of the dryer and my air conditioner)…
I hope you all are having less stressful weeks than I am. I’d love to know what your strategies are when it comes to open toddler rebellion. I’m aware that “this, too, shall pass” but in the meantime, I need a better survival strategy.
God rewarded me for my patience yesterday, though. One of the houses that I’ve been interested in came down significantly in price today. We’re meeting up with the realtor on Sunday for a looksie. Stagnation and Frustration turn into Forward Motion, ya’ll!