Some kids are textbook. They do something, you find it in the index with a page number, and there’s your answer. Apply, and success is yours.
Then there are kids who rip the edge of the envelope and write a new one.
My daughter is the 22nd of 22 grandchildren. I babysat many of those other grandchildren as I was growing up. Plus I babysat other kids throughout my junior high and senior high years. I had extensive experience with children of all ages by the time I had my own. Diapers, bottles, and bedtimes were nothing new. However, no matter the experience with other people’s kids, there are some things your own offspring hand you that is new. Some? Understatement.
Standard Operating Procedure according to all the authors, the other mothers, my own mother, my mother-in-law, my sisters, my first child, and strangers on the street — "Please help me!!" "Go away!!" — is that in the child’s first year, he/she will nap in the morning and in the afternoon and go to bed at 8:00. In the child’s second year, he/she will not need a morning nap and will nap only in the afternoon. Brenda didn’t read the books.
At 3 months, the morning nap was history. It was replaced by screaming not heard in any horror movie — ever. Ok. She wins. At less than one year, the afternoon nap also became nuclear. Ok. I want peace. She can stay up all day. Also, during the course of the first year, a 10:30 bedtime was a contest of wills. By the time I just knew her lungs were about to hit the wall, she slumped and slept.
When it was clear that there were no naps ever again, she developed a pattern. When she first dumped the naptime, it was about once a week between 5 and 7:00pm that she would stop whatever high energy activity that she was in the middle of and be still for about two minutes during which time her eyes became heavy, drifted shut, and she slowly slumped over. We would scoop her off the floor, the sofa, the high chair (yes, we wiped the food off), or wherever, deposit her in the crib, and the next morning she awoke refreshed, perky as you please.
I want to pause here and say that Brenda was the prettiest, sweetest, most pleasant and fun little person I ever knew. I hope someday she has a baby as adorable as she was.
This pass-out pattern prevailed throughout toddlerness. As she grew older, the one week became two, the two weeks stretched into a month and eventually, she made it to bedtime, dragged out, but dag-nabbit, she didn’t give up. By the time early elementary school came around, the big brother partnered with her to negotiate for a later bedtime. Of course, he ruled and she was in full agreement. The new negotiated bedtime was 9:00. It wasn’t more than a week, and BB approached us, in tears, asking if she could please go to bed at 8:30. Sure. We give.
Hey, Lily, you were a ball. And we didn’t let you drown.