So much has been written about how to get kids and toddlers to sleep (Yes, I admit I’ve read and even followed Save our Sleep!), what parents get up to when the kids have finally gone to sleep (my mentors and compatriots, who wrote Cocktails at Naptime are the first ones that spring to my mind).
There’s also a bit of braver, but rare literature out there on how difficult it is getting the kids/babies to sleep (Go the F to Sleep is one of my favourites). But I am yet to find anything written about the delicate time bracket starting just from the moment the kids/babies have just fallen asleep to the moment they wake up on their own. Until this post of mine, of course!
For me, this extremely delicate pocket in time is when I creep around trying to maintain some peace and tranquility in the house. Also, I blog while they sleep if I can manage to put my mind to it, so for me they absolutely MUST sleep.
So, at all costs, I will try to preserve the sanctity of two simultaneously sleeping babies. Sometimes to my own detriment and sanity – but mostly to the detriment of others, because during naptime at my house, lockdown commences and waking my kids is an offence punishable either by [screaming noise pollution] administered by screaming, over-tired kids or overtime, free community service babysitting hours – which noone in my family wants.
So basically, if you know what’s good for you, do not wake my kids up by calling my phone or ringing my doorbell twenty times because you didn’t get a response the first nineteen times, between the hours of 12pm and 3pm. Not even if you’re George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio or Hugh Jackman just popping round to say ‘hi’ on your stop-off in Sydney (although that would be quite a nice surprise).
Ultimately, left to my own devices I can and have learnt to navigate cautiously, successfully and even productively around the naptime triangle. On my own. Meaning I am not in a position to take on external advice or interference. Thanks. (Today, for example was one of my most productive, quiet, undisturbed naptimes – I cleaned three bathrooms, lay in the sun for five minutes, started typing this blog post and then made myself a nice, fattening creamy salmon pasta, which I was just about to tuck into, but Jon Jon just woke up!) So, naturally, I especially hate the well-wishing, advice-offering strangers or friends or family members (usually the best self-declared parenting experts are the ones who either have had very little or no personal experience in parenting or looking after kids) who tell me firmly “But, they’re just kids, they should learn to sleep through noise and anything that’s happening around them – there’s no need to creep around them just so that they can sleep!” Brilliant. But I’d love to know where these parenting experts are when the kids are woken mid-sleep and are cranky as hell and are impossible to manage for the rest of the day. Funny, these experts never stick around to witness the products of their genius advice. Noooo, they’ve dashed off long before for a bit of ‘down-time’ because they’re exhausted from shopping all morning and then going for a walk after lunch. So then I’m stuck dealing with the junior draculas who’ve been woken during their sleep from the over-loud conversations and ridiculous phone ring tones going off just as they were falling asleep.
In no specific order, this is my hit list of the worst culprits of cutting my kids’ sleep short:
- Lawn mowers, leaf blowers or any outdoor maintenance-type service providers
- Home renovators
- Neighbours’ doors banging off the hinges after being slammed by a fleeing mother, no doubt
- Telemarketers calling and then doing some heavy breathing / time delay voice, throwing and not speaking up when I answer the call
- Unexpected pop-ins ringing 100 times on my doorbell even though the sign outside clearly reads “Please ring my mobile phone – do not ring the doorbell, kids sleeping
- Boisterous youngsters congregating round my house and chatting loudly or scraping their scooters and skateboards up and down my driveway (when my second baby was a newborn I used to bribe them with chocolate to cease and desist – but now since they’re a bit older I’m not quite sure that confectionery has the same pull for them!
So here’s my open warning to anyone who so much as whispers in the vicinity of my house during naptime – ‘either move it, or lose it’ – or be man enough to come over to babysit when my kids have been woken by you early. In a nutshell – ‘You wake them, you take them!’
Now let me scoff down my pasta before the little guy realises that he’s properly awake!