My kid is now working on hour three of his afternoon nap. Which is good, because he refused to take a morning nap and I've needed the last two hours to clean up the blood and gore from when my head exploded.
When he does stuff like that I tend to freeze. Why isn't he napping? Why is he off? Did we have a weird morning? What time did he wake up? Is he hungry? He can't be hungry! Am I putting him down too early? Should I keep him up? If I keep him up will he get his next nap? Do we have to go anywhere? When does he need to eat again? Should I leave him in the crib? I need to take a shower. Maybe he'll fall asleep while I'm in the shower. What if he cries the whole time? Should I let him cry and see what happens? What if he never falls asleep and our entire day is screwed?
It's not that mothers' brains turn to mush. It's that everything that was previously important, like birthdays and ATM codes, is replaced by a 24/7 thought process I like to call What Am I Doing Wrong? (Also known as Am I Doing Everything Right? but I like to be negative.)
I was telling my mother this on the phone the other night and she was all, "Welcome to the rest of your life, sweetheart!"
But I think I've determined the problem. The problem is that I'm doing this parenting thing on a nice little bar graph. Skill level on the y axis, time on the x axis. (Maybe I learned a thing or two in fifth grade math after all.) The first point should be pretty close to the 0,0 mark, but all subsequent points should be higher. Maybe at month one I was at skill level two. At month three I should be at skill level four or five. Or sixteen or seventeen because I'm used to being an overachiever.
The bar graph, however, could use a few more variables. Baby's Disposition, for one. Daylight Savings Time for another. Sleep Deprivation. Busyness. Availability of Babysitters. The Baby Being An Actual Human Being Instead Of A Robotic Yet Cuddly Doll. And that's where fifth grade math turns into a very confusing PhD level calcubranometry problem.
I'm beginning to think that sometimes? He just doesn't feel like napping. And it doesn't matter if he's been napping great for weeks, or if he woke up early or late, or if I've become a pro at putting him to sleep, or if his tummy is full or not. There is no point in going through the spiral of What Am I Doing Wrong. And probably no point in tallying up Everything I'm Doing Right, because a What Am I Doing Wrong day is just around the corner and exists simply to prove that the baby is his own person and is going to get his way. I mean, can you force your child to sleep?
The trade off, I'm finding, is that the more my baby reveals his own little personality, the more I love him. I loved him when he was a blob, it's true, but this love is different. On the graph, this love rises exponentially.
*hey locals- I LOVE the guy who took our pictures this weekend. Let me know if you want his info!
** originally I'd cropped the copyright out because I didn't think he'd want his name on my stupid website. Until 5 minutes later when I thought, "That's what a copyright is FOR, you PICTURE STEALER." So it's back. Google at will.