Over the years I've been blogging, I've had a few people, here and there, express admiration for the fact that I have managed to keep updating so consistently even with two young children and an active life full of diapers and pureed sweet potatoes and whatever other rich and rewarding activities I engage in. And I always responded, humbly and with a self-deprecating wave of my noble hand, that it is relatively easy to write a paragraph here and there if you are a stay at home mama, because you can take advantage of nap times to get your blog on. And then, Ladies and Gentlemen, the unthinkable happened. Max stopped napping.
I was a notoriously poor napper as a child, and I outgrew my naps almost immediately after outgrowing the womb. Ian, however, according to his mother, was still napping in kindergarten, and I kind of thought that Max was going to take after his dad in this respect. However, in the last three weeks, he has napped twice. Two times. He will still ask to go lay down at nap time, and we will get all settled, and he will be quiet and still just long enough for me to think, maybe he's not really outgrowing naps! Maybe it was all just a crazy phase, brought on by school starting and too much vacation and -- and then I'll hear his little voice.
"Mama, this is really weird. I'm not tired. I'm getting upset. I think I'm going to go to the living room. Do you wanna come with me, Mama?" and that will be that.
What this means, folks, is that the window that I used to have open in my day for blogging, reading, cleaning myself or my environment, eating, breathing, etc. has been firmly closed. Max is coping with his new found awakefulness by making much with the crabby. He does not like to wear diapers. He is not interested in underwear, and if he were, it certainly would not be the underwear that I chose for him. He dislikes food, and he also dislikes being made to wait for the food that he refused to request and will most likely refuse to eat. He goes to bed earlier, which is good, but the hour before he goes to bed is now so utterly and all-consumingly fraught with emotional outbursts that the extra time we have after he goes to sleep at night is mostly committed to recovery. I recollect parents at the preschool describing the transition from napper to non-napper as a challenging one, and I recollect being amused by how their faces would fall when I would report that nope, their child had not slept that day, and I would like to collectively apologize to all of them for my lack of sympathy on their behalf. I know that Max's body will adjust to his new schedule, and that the rest of our lives will fall back into place and we will get a new routine going, just like we do every time any one has any kind of developmental leap. Max will not always be as prone to tears and outrage every God blessed minute as he seems to be right now. But Good Grief.
In other, possibly related news, Max and I started off a new school year last week. I work two days a week, six hours a day. Max comes with me, and Maggie stays with Ian. Maggie cries every time I leave, which makes me feel excruciatingly terrible, but Ian assures me that she is quite cheerful when she is not actually looking at me leaving, and they are having a delightsome time together bonding. Max loves school, he loves that he has a lunchbox and a backpack and sporty new Lightning McQueen shoes. He is learning the rules and routines, and it has been fascinating and wonderful and heart wrenching and anxiety-producing to observe him as he learns to be social and to take his own place in a group of peers. In theory, I am also bringing Max one day a week without me, so that he learns independence and self esteem and whatever else. We kicked the experiment off last Wednesday; I dropped Max off, said goodbye (he looked alarmed but didn't cry), went to the grocery store with Maggie, and returned to pick Max up an hour and twenty three minutes later. I walked around the corner toward the yard, saw Max sitting in the sand area with his back to me, and thought, "Oh, good. He's playing! I wonder if he even noticed that I was gone!" And then one of the teachers said, "Look, Max! Look who's here!" and Max turned and started slooowwwlllyyy walking up the path towards me, his little face crumpling and an hour and twenty three minutes worth of tear tracks painted on his cheeks. "Maaaammmmaaaa!" he wailed, looking and sounding utterly bereft and betrayed, and threw himself into my arms. I feel like that expression on his face is going to poke me right in the heart every time I think about it for the rest of my life.
Less melodramatically, Max did recover quickly, especially when he learned that I had purchased him a guilt-induced juice smoothie at the store, and he was quite cheerful the rest of the day. Every day since, though, he has asked me if "we are going to preschool but it is not a day when you go away but it is a day when you stay?" Today was supposed to be round two of Operation: Max goes solo, but, predictably, he is taking a nap right in the middle of what is supposed to be school time, his first nap in what feels like twenty gajillion years and exquisitely timed. I haven't quite decided whether we will go late today or wait until Friday. I will keep you posted, as best and as promptly as I can in these trying times.