I'm just curious. Because some sort of cosmic pay-back is the only way I can explain having given birth to a child whose sleeping patterns have spent the past two and a half years taking a decade off of my life.
Since we traveled to L.A. in April prior to moving here, Ethan's bedtime had gotten progressively later and later. We assumed it was because when he was out here, he was going to bed three hours later than at home and his body just had just acclimated to it. So when we got back to Virginia, bedtime was closer to 10-10:30pm than we'd have liked it. We comforted ourself with the cautious optimism that when we moved to Los Angeles, that inner-clock would prevail and his bedtime would naturally adjust to 7-7:30pm.
Think of the hours of Husband and Sarah time! An Ethan asleep before 8 o'clock could mean up to THREE hours of uninterrupted Husband and Sarah time! We might even be able to conceive the next spawn to wreck our sleep for another two years with that kind of time to work with!! That could be six sit-coms, three dramas, a WHOLE movie, endless Wii time. Just the thought of it was enough to throw Husband and I into the upper stratosphere of joyful anticipation. We became blindingly certain in our hope that, yes, when we got to L.A., the child would go to bed early.
Except he didn't. Nope. 10:30pm in Virginia turned into 10:30 in Los Angeles. Sure, for a couple of days, while we were first in the hotel, he conked out pretty early, out of deference to the time change and the sheer exhaustion of absorbing the new environment. But it didn't last; within a few days of moving into our house, Ethan was fighting sleep with the same champion's spirit he has all along.
And while he was pulling his "you can't make me!" routine at night, he was perfecting the same fight around nap times. So, sometimes he got a nap. Sometimes he didn't. In a few short days of this "flip flopping", Husband and I noticed something we'd consider nothing short of miraculous happening. On days he napped, he was up until after 10pm. On days he didn't nap, suddenly, he was rubbing his eyes and amenable to the idea of going to bed by...wait for it...7pm.
This was unchartered territory. Previously, days without naps just meant a crankier Ethan until after 10pm. The idea that he would be ready for bed before sundown on a day that he hadn't given in to a late morning/early afternoon nap was unheard of. No, we'd think, not our kid. He's a night-owl; won't think of going to bed until the 10 o'clock news is on; he's got to check out the headlines you know, he's very informed. But here it was. Sleeping, soundly, peacefully--from 7pm until 8am. (cue the angels weeping and the sky opening in a chorus of harmonizing seraphim).
So it began. The elimination of the nap. At under two and half years old. Parts of me were concerned that it was too soon. Other parts of me, the parts that wanted to spend some quiet time with Husband and not sit by myself for hours and hours every night, wrapped duct tape around the concerned parts and told them to shut the hell up.
Ethan did really well; I worried about having two extra hours in the day during which I'd have to entertain him, but we did okay--we filled our hours with all kinds of activities (we even made a trip to Michaels' craft store, and that's a whole blog entry in and of itself), and play dates and then magically, it was 6pm and time for dinner and bedtime. Viola!!! Perfect! Finally! This is what we'd been waiting for for the past year and a half of Ethan's life! A child who is happy all day, goes to bed at a reasonable time and stays asleep for hours and hours at a stretch.
Had I not been blinded by the rapturous ecstasy of it all, I would have known it was too good to be true. I would have heard the muffled voice of the parts of me duct taped and shoved in a trunk trying to tell me that he wasn't entirely ready and he was going to crash and this was a bad, bad thing to do to my poor little man. It was nice while it lasted, which was about a week...
This week, as we barreled through on the no-nap schedule, Ethan was Major Meltdown. We did all right in the mornings, fresh off our thirteen hours of sleep. Morning activities and play dates were a huge success (which is a blessing because we had a playdate this week with Gwen Stefani's kid and if Ethan has thrown something at Kingston, I'd have died of mortification--who wants Gwen Stefani being pissed off at them? Not moi!)
But the afternoons? Exorcist-baby. The park? Disaster. Our whole playground drug-trade of match-box cars ceased to appease the "IT'S MINE!!!" mantra that has suddenly found it's way into Ethan's repertoire. We tried a play date at a new friend's house. A friend Ethan's been rambling on about for days. Five minutes into the play date, Ethan's head was spinning and he was screaming like a banshee. Friend offers a toy, Ethan freaks. Friend takes a toy, Ethan freaks. Friend makes noise, Ethan freaks. Sarah scoops up Ethan, apologizes profusely to friend and friend's mom, and takes her poor cranky baby home, all the while wishing she hadn't carried on about how great this "no nap" thing is to all her friends because now when Ethan is a lunatic, people say, "Hm. He didn't nap today, huh?" And I hang my head in bad-mommy shame as I skulk away and wonder what do I do now?
So here it is, Saturday afternoon and I sit in Panera, my life-sized iced green tea and iPhone (I'm waiting for you to call me, Tress) at my side. And where is my son? At home. Napping with Husband.