Actually, now that I think about it, it’s Kryptonite for all my kids. Possibly all children, everywhere. They avoid it at all costs, going to great lengths to stay awake. There’s the nap struggle (as in, “I’m not even tired right now!”) and the bedtime ritual that involves drinks, stories, tuck-ins, trips to the potty, prayers, tuck-ins, giggling, reading by nightlight, threats and the FINAL tuck-in. Once they’ve succumbed to sleep, they are as vulnerable as newborns. This must make them nervous, to slip out of consciousness so completely, because my older children still ask me to check on them as they sleep. On my way to bed, I check on my defenseless babies to make sure they are covered, to remove the books and toys from under their cheeks, and to arrange their limbs in a way that won’t send them head-first to the floor when they roll over in their sleep. It’s the best part of my day, to smooth their hair or rub their backs or kiss them, and marvel at the fact that they are MINE. If they knew how sweet and adorable they looked in sleep, and how my heart swells when I watch them, perhaps they wouldn’t fight sleep so much.
Let me paint a picture: Yesterday my two youngest had their well-child checkups. (They are four and two.) My son got off lucky with two shots and a blood draw, but my poor daughter had FIVE shots. (And the broken blood vessels under her eye to prove it! Man, that kid can scream! On a separate-but-related note, she is now fully immunized, and her Kindergarten checkup will be a breeze. My oldest two steadfastly refused to start Kindergarten, knowing it meant more shots, for all the good it did them.) Anyway, back to the topic at hand. The pediatrician told me that with so many shots, their legs would be stiff and sore, and to give them regular doses of Tylenol for the next 24 hours. He also warned that they could be more sleepy than normal. (Hallelujah!)
I thought I was in for a relaxing afternoon, with my two babies sleeping peacefully in a state of pain-reliever bliss, but what I got instead was a cranky toddler and a whiny preschooler who WOULD NOT GO TO SLEEP. Each time I settled them in their beds, my daughter would make her way out to me to inquire, sotto voce, “Mommy, is it time for me to get up yet?” (If you are creating a mental image, be sure to include the eyelash batting that accompanies said voice.) When all her previous efforts failed, she went into her brother’s bedroom and asked him if he was ready to get up. I could hear them giggling together, and when I went to send her back to bed, I got the blinky eyes again and a leg hug. “Mommy, I was trying SOOOOOO hard to go to sleep, but I just couldn’t because Anthony was being so loud. He really wants to get up, and I’m really, really tired. But if he’s getting up, I’ll play with him so he doesn’t be naughty.” It’s hard to argue with that logic. Or maybe I was just worn out.
So after a late bedtime and an early, EARLY rise this morning, both kids seem to have recovered fully from their immunization trauma. They are back to fighting with each other and running around the house. Anthony left a trail of chaos and destruction that will take me hours to clean up. The enormity of his pillaging was too much for me to take in at 7:30 AM on a Saturday (he was only up for 10 minutes! How did he DO so much damage?) and I crawled back into bed next to my husband, who was oblivious to kids, wife, snow, destruction, and even the new day. After about thirty seconds, I heard footsteps to the side of my bed and an urgent whisper: “Mommy!” I lifted the corner of the down comforter just enough to take in the pale blue bulldog pajamas. Anthony. Sleep-disheveled. Big blue eyes and dimples, smelling faintly of a wet diaper.
“Mommy!” came the whisper again. I raised the duvet enough to allow him entrance, but he just stared at me, unblinking, eyes full of disdain. “Snuggle?” I asked him, hopeful. “Nooooooooooooooooo!” he yelled. “No sleep! No bed, me. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” And he ran off down the hallway to hit his sister.
Is 8:00 too early for his nap?