to sleep, perchance to dream

Is there any better feeling, on a fall afternoon, than having a small child fall asleep in your lap as the two of you sit in a rocking chair? Cozy and warm, with a little human heat generator to ward off the afternoon chill…

The Potato has recently decided that he is too big to nap. (He’s too big for a lot of other things too, if you ask him, as evidenced by his cries of “I big boy!” every fifteen minutes.) Landisdad and I do not concur with this decision, especially since he insists on getting up at 6:15 a.m., even on weekends. On the days that he is successful in winning the nap struggle, there are generally sixteen or seventeen meltdowns between dinnertime and bedtime. Not that much fun, especially on school nights when we are trying to cook, help the Bee do her homework, and make sure the kids get a bath once every six weeks or so before getting into bed by a reasonable hour.

There’s not much we can do about the nap-at-daycare situation, so on weekends, we try to do whatever’s in our power to get him to nap. Lately, that’s meant sitting in the rocking chair with him, sometimes for an hour, to get him to fall asleep. It’s a somewhat odd development, as the Potato is our ‘good’ sleeper. He slept through the night when he was a week old, and was always a great napper. And I know there are people out there who are cursing me out right now, but let me tell you, we deserved it. Because the Bee? Never. Slept.

When the Bee was born, we lived in an apartment in a duplex house. We moved there while I was pregnant, so we didn’t know our upstairs neighbors tremendously well. It was an old, kind of shitty house and you could hear all kinds of stuff between the two apartments, and we really tried very hard to not subject them to a crying baby at all hours of the day and night. That meant that landisdad and I spent a lot of time holding the Bee while she slept, or sitting on the floor while she held on to our thumbs. (Yes, the Bee never had a comfort object–just “thumby.”) When we finally did move into our own house, we had created a monster–a child who wanted to spend every waking–and sleeping–moment with her parents. By the time the Potato came along, we had been through the sleep wars, and I vowed, “never again.” But we didn’t have to have big battles with him about sleep, the way we did with the Bee.

I’m much more patient about the nap struggle, this time through. Partly because I know that it won’t last–that eventually my son will develop the stamina to last the whole day without a nap. Partly because I myself have more stamina to sit quietly in a chair, slowly rocking, than I did with my firstborn. But mostly because I know it’s not that much longer that I’ll have a little kid to do this with. In a few weeks, he’ll be moving out of the crib, and then I really won’t have a baby anymore. I’m clinging to the last moments of his babyhood with a combination of pride and regret.


November 5, 2005. growing up.


  1. Fidget replied:

    Tessa tries not to nap anymore.. its frustarting. She moved out of her crib at 14 month or so. Nap is the last shred of babyhood, well i guess truthfully Binki (pacifyer) is but damn it’s all slipping away so fast. I miss our rocking chair. Tessa coincidentally is our good sleeper… mira had always been rough

  2. Moonface replied:

    Falling asleep in the rocking chair on a fall afternoon with your child snuggled in your lap … what a lovely image. I love holding my little ones and falling asleep together – the closeness, the warmth, the smell of their hair…

    Thanks for visiting me – look forward to following your blog in the future 🙂

  3. The Scarlett replied:

    You are so wise to savor those moments. My second grader is probably quite close to not wanting to hold my hand or being embarrassed to hug me; I find myself tearing up just thinking about how sad that will be!

  4. Suzanne replied:

    For my kids, that post-dinner/pre-bedtime period has always been at best exasperating and at worst truly awful. I’m sure you can guess which end of the spectrum is associated with a lack of napping! I hope that this transitional period isn’t too hard on you and the rest of your family. In the meantime, once you are in the right mindset (sometimes it was hard for me to get to that place), all that time spent rocking becomes precious.

  5. Jessica replied:

    I so empathize with this post (even as the mother of a 15 year old). The continual growth of our children and the gradual changes that come with it are so bittersweet.

  6. MetroDad replied:

    Our little Peanut at 13 months old has NEVER wanted to sleep in our arms or cuddle in the rocker with us. It kills me! She’s so independent. But on the other hand, the kid sleeps like a rock. Naps eveywhere, anywhere and all the time. Mixed blessing, I guess.

  7. Jessica replied:

    That’s a tough stage – I remember it all too well. I also remember Abby not sleeping as a baby. That year of my life made me realize first-hand why sleep deprivation is used as a (very effective) torture technique. It’s great that you are enjoying the rocking and snuggling while it lasts. I didn’t have a lot of patience for it too much of the time, and I think I missed out on some really nice closeness.

  8. Mere replied:

    I have those same feelings, but my girl is 3! She doesn’t let me call her my little baby anymore – she’s my big girl. 😦

  9. Desperate To Be a Housewife replied:

    That’s what I miss the most. Holding my baby while he/she sleeps on my shoulder. I remember holding Budgie for the last time like that when he was about 4 and thinking…”this will probably be the last time.” It’s such a relaxing endeavor…

  10. One year of BBSP « Bumblebee Sweet Potato replied:

    […] 13. to sleep, perchance to dream […]

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