Okay, they’re not always the worst. When they go right, they’re the best. You have 45 minutes – maybe even an entire hour and a half – to do whatever you want. You can use your computer without a small person smacking the keyboard. Pee alone. Eat a snack without having to share. You may even TAKE A NAP YOURSELF. But when they go wrong, naps a stressful will-she-or-won’t-she game, a battle between mum and baby where there is no real winner.
Here is how nap time goes in my house:
Breastfeed the baby. (Negative sleep association #1.)
Put the baby in her cot and give her a dummy. (Negative sleep association #2.)
Lay down in the bed next to the cot and stick my hair through the slats so they baby can tug on it. (Negative (and, quite frankly, weird) sleep association #3.)
Baby grabs my hair, then rolls over and grabs the slats on the other side of the cot.
Baby rolls back and pushes up onto her hands, yelling, “Yayadadada.”
Pat the baby on the head, saying, “Shh, shh” and singing a lullaby I made up where I repeat the word “sheep” over and over.
Baby rolls over again. And again. And again.
Get up to leave. Baby starts to cry.
Come back and lay down again. “Mummy’s here,” I say, “See? Here’s Mummy’s hair. Why don’t you grab it?”
Baby grabs my hair and tugs hard, then rolls over onto her stomach with my hair in her fist.
Attempt to extract my hair from her fist. Baby starts crying. Lay there, patting her head with one arm awkwardly stuck through the cot slats, until I’m sure she’s asleep.
Extract my hair from her fist again. Get up quietly and open the door.
Baby starts crying.
Get back in bed and let her grab my hair again. Baby rolls to the other side of the cot, taking a chunk of my hair in the process, then rolls back and grins at me through the slats.
“Sheep, sheep, sheep, sheep,” I sing quietly. Baby lays down, hair in fist, and moans a little.
Tug tug tug.
And then…no tugging.
Baby is asleep, I think. Best not to risk getting up, though.
Reach for my phone. Realise I left my phone in the other room.