We've been hitting the napping hard for the past week and a half or so. There have definitely been some successes. Yesterday, I was able to sit outside and read for a bit while the girls napped, and later on during another napping session I was able to paint my toes. I know, the time spent on these activities is time most people, including my former, pre-mama-self, took for granted--now I revel in the luxury of those precious minutes.
It's not about me though, it's about them, and while they haven't mastered the whole talking thing just yet, I think they are telling me that the person who came up with the whole concept of naps was pretty ingenious--I have to agree with them. Now, if I could just get them to say the same thing about sleeping through the night.... On days when napping goes well, we've noticed that the girls seem content and relaxed. It's made evenings much more enjoyable, and their papa's limited time with his daughters, after a long day of work, a pleasant experience.
Getting both girls down for a nap is an intricate dance. The performance needs to be flawless, and everything must be timed perfectly. It's exhausting work to choreograph this frolic, but I am determined. First, I look for sleep cues: yawning, rubbing eyes, fussing, disengaging from play--the trick is to catch these before it turns into a meltdown, which can thwart the napping performance even before it's started. These cues present themselves after the girls have been awake for about an hour. After identifying a need for sleep, I swaddle both girls up. I've found that we are most successful if I can lay Brynne down in the crib first with her bink and get her situated--she will sometimes waltz herself right into dream world with no extra coaching from me (those are really good days). Then, I tackle getting Hadley calmed down. Sometimes this is a simple little two-step of bouncing on the yoga ball and, other times it's a complicated number that goes on and on and on--imagine dancing to Stairway to Heaven, or pretty much any song by The Who. Once Hadley is drowsy and almost asleep, I can lay her down and creep out of the room. This is a successful napping session.
There are plenty of unsuccessful napping sessions--those are frenzied dances that end with the curtain crashing down in a tears, or determined smiles. The girls tend to feed off one each other's energy, both good and bad. If one begins to cry the other determines to out perform the other, if one smiles and coos, the other tries to woo my attention away from the other; such prima donnas! There are also partially successful napping sessions, when I can only manage to convince one of the girls that she is giving me all the signs that she is tired. The other, despite my best efforts, keeps her eyes peeled open in staunch defiance, and since you can't really force sleep, we hang up the tap shoes until the next napping session.
All in all, things are better--any amount of napping during the day is a good thing. Sleep begets sleep, or so the books all say, so we will plug away, ever chasing that tricky last letter of the alphabet.