This is one Quick Trick that now is worth about a million bucks to me:
I remember the day I actually learned it–way back when Maddy was an infant–I just joined my local MOMS group. I was holding her, the tiny little two-month-old bean she was (yes, early to join a MOMS group, I know, but gosh–the interaction with other speaking human beings was nice!
One of the seasoned mothers came up to me (I didn’t even know her name–or anyone’s for that matter), but she told me this,
I am not one to offer unsolicited advice about how you should take care of your kids, but I will tell you this because I wish someone had told me earlier: if you don’t get that baby used to taking a nap right away, she’ll never do it. And even when she stops sleeping during the day (Gulp! STOP sleeping during the day? When will I sleep?! I remember thinking. . .), you better get her in the habit of having a rest time every single day, even if she’s just playing or reading in her room. You’ll go crazy if you don’t. Especially if you have more kids.
And off she ran, trying to catch her own running, laughing, crumb-covered children, her baby bouncing from her hip. I seem to remember the baby winking at me as his mom darted away, but I could be wrong. I was seriously sleep-deprived at the time. . .
- So that’s the Quick Trick today; it has worked for me and is something I will use until my kids are asking for the keys to my mini-van. I swear by it–A rest time a day keeps crazy mommy away. Or daddy, depending on who’s home that day.
And this is a rest time away from sisters and brothers, in their own rooms, with books and puzzles close at hand, relaxing music on like at night-time. Cora’s still in her crib, and if she doesn’t nap, she has a pile of books to look at and some dolls to dress and undress. Owen sometimes asks for a few cars, a puzzle, or his Little Einsteins computer, and Maddy plays with dolls, reads books (now she’s into listening to books on CD), or works on puzzles. They all have some water on their nightstands (or for Cora, in a sippy cup), and it’s quiet time for an hour.
Granted, it’s not always quiet, but quiet is the goal. The norm is that after we play a bit after lunch, everyone has rest time in their rooms; whether it’s a short one or a solid hour, like everything we do, depends on the day.
It’s my hour to catch my breath. It’s my planning period, my re-grouping time, sometimes–it’s my salvation. Not to mention that it’s just plain healthy for our little ones to sit down and rest their bodies at some point during the day and to learn to appreciate alone time–we all need it. It’s my daily adult swim.