Wednesday, March 30, 2011

G is for Grumpy

Things have gotten a little grumpy around here lately. 3 is a tough, tough age. Did I mention that Owen has stopped napping? I knew it was coming - most kids stop napping between 3 and 4 - but I figured we had another 6 months at least. Nope. No taper. No "some days yes, some days no." Just - over. One day I put him down the same way I always did and instead of dozing off he... didn't. Same thing happened the next day. And the next day. And the next day.

Knowing it was useless to try to force the kid to go to sleep, I started issuing a mandatory "quiet time." The rules: No sleep. Just some approximation of silence.

First there was the chatting. Then the singing. Then came the escapes. I'd hear the tell-tale rustling followed by a triumphant shuffling of feet. I'd open the door and see him hopping around his room like a sparrow.

Me: "Owen, you need to stay in your bed."
Owen: "Why?"
Me: "Because it's Quiet Time."
Owen: "But I'm not sleepy."
Me: "But your body is. Your body needs to rest so that you can play."
Owen: "But my body wants to play now. It's not tired."
Me: "You have to stay in bed. You can have a toy or a book, but you need to stay resting."
Owen (pointing to toy box): "My body can rest over there."
Me: "No. You need to say in bed."
Owen: "But why?"
Me: "Because."
Owen: "Why?"
Me: "Because."

This went on awhile.

Finally I realized that I could either spend the next hour putting my kid back in bed which would A) get ugly quick, and B) guarantee rest for no one. Or I could let him win. Because really, if he was content to be quiet and play by himself (the operative phrase) so that I could attend to laundry/dishes/emails/lunch, what was the harm? I mean yes, maybe I'm teaching him a terrible lesson about Who's Really In Charge and when he's 15 and rolling his eyes while I mew about how terrible it is to drink and drive I'll regret not forcing him to obey, but I feel like sometimes it's okay for little kids to win things. I spend a good 97% of his life telling Owen to stop it. It can't be all bad to pick my battles.

And to be honest, the lack of midday sleep? Kind of awesome. Owen's bedtime had been inching towards 10 pm which was completely uncivilized. Without nap, he's unconscious by 7:00, tops. Friends, my husband and I have evenings! We can eat dinner! Together! We can have actual conversations and hog all the chocolate covered raisins and watch "Being Human" WITHOUT INTERRUPTION. I love my kid more than life but at the end of the day, I am done. I miss the midday break, but four hours of nightly decompression? I'm in.