The needed, necessary, essential nap.
Needed because she gets grumpy when she isn't well rested.
Necessary because I get impatient when I don't get my slice of daily silence.
Essential because it keeps our house in some form of harmony.
These days the nap is a battle. It requires planning and cunning and nerves of steel. If she doesn't nod off in the car then the nap usually doesn't occur. I can ask her if she is going to nap, and she can serenely nod, and then the battle begins.
She gets up three dozen times. I* threaten. I bribe. I take away toys and music and dress up clothes. I sit in the chair in the bed room and pretend to read or surf the net or watch TV, when in reality my eyes are trained on her door. I watch for the shadow to appear, for the door to crack open. I get ready for the complaints - My toes hurt or I have to go peepee or Here my kitties, I earn them back tomorrow or quite simply NO NAP NO.
If I give up the nap battle and bend to the demands of our benevolent dictator then our afternoons are tedious. Full of tears and bad behavior. The cat is tormented, toys don't get picked up, dinner is a nightmare. Errands are impossible and following through on "no nap consequences" (no cartoons, no movies, no painting and so on) are more of a punishment for me than her.
On the upside, bedtime is usually a breeze. PJs, milk, stories, asleep - sometimes the stories aren't even finished before she is snoring on one of our laps. She borrows under her blanket, snuggles her stuffed friends and snores away. A peaceful evening after a long day.
If she does fall asleep in the car or I cajole her to take an actual nap, our afternoons are lovely. There is laughter and game playing. The cat is hugged and kissed, toys and crayons get put away, and dinner is usually a pleasant affair. We are able to go to Target or Home Depot or Kroger without incident and a movie or cartoon is enjoyed (I love me some Elmo's World).
The downside? Bedtime is, in a word, hellacious. She gets up six dozen times. She wants to pretend to be an octopus under her blanket. She wants to see what we are doing. She sneaks around in the shadows and hides in the living room. She needs one more kiss, one more hug, one more snuggle from the cat. She has a list of concerns - Where's Gramma? Uncle Dickie at work? What Emmett doing?. She has her complaints - My tag biting me or My hair ouchy or My boogers hurting, a LOT or I no wanna go ni-night.
What, on a no nap day, is a 10 minute bedtime ritual becomes a two hour ordeal on a nap day.
And I can't decide if there is an upside to either scenerio...ouch.
*"I" truly equals We, as the loving husband does have nap and bedtime duties when he's not at work.