Parenting

'I dove into the corner of his room, my cheek flush against the Diaper Genie...'

Naptime. That glorious chunk of time in the middle of the day that affords moms a tiny bit of freedom. Now that my toddler is about a year and a half old, he is down to one nap per day (his choice, certainly not mine…). But it is a beautifully long nap. It gives me the chance to eat some lunch, to clean up a bit, and sometimes even get a start on dinner. And if I’m really lucky, I can squeeze in a mommy nap as well.

The problem with my son’s nap is that he just doesn’t sleep as soundly as he does at night. I could lead a marching band through his room at 2 a.m. and he would wake up for a moment, then fall back asleep on his face, not remembering a thing. His midday sleep, however, is easily disrupted. Once he is awake, he’s awake until bedtime.

Recently during Jake’s nap I looked at his monitor and noticed that it was getting a little hot in his room. (Ours is a video monitor with a temperature gauge on it.) At first I chose to ignore this, since he was sleeping just fine and I feared that going in mid-nap to turn on the fan (and risking waking him up) would be worse than letting him sleep in a stuffy room for another hour.

But after a few minutes my conscience got the better of me and I snuck in, ninja-like, as quietly as I could. As I was switching on the fan, my son stirred and started turning his crib aquarium on and off. Without even a thought, I dove into the corner of his room, my cheek flush against the bottom of the Diaper Genie, in all its stinky glory. The top of my head was uncomfortably close to the hot radiator that started this whole mess to begin with. On all fours, with my ass in the air and my socked feet behind me, I held my breath and hoped that Jake wouldn’t notice me in the corner of his room and that he would just go back to sleep. After a moment I glanced behind me — only to see him looking over the corner of his crib, craning his neck to see who the hell was crouched on the other side of his room. I had to remind myself that he is little, but that he is neither stupid nor blind (and in fact his eyes were more adjusted to the dark room than mine were). So there was no way he was not going to recognize me in a ball on the floor.

He started whining and crying when he realized that his mother was, in fact, in his room and was all but ignoring him. I knew my cover was blown so I finally gave up, picked him up for a few seconds and then put him back in his crib, whispering for him to go back to sleep.

My husband and I have done it all to keep our son from waking up when we’ve needed to go into his room. We’ve done the army crawl (which no longer works because Jake’s mattress has been dropped to the lowest level), the freeze-in-place/hide-in-plain-sight tactic, and the quick dash in and out. Sadly, the measures we take to make sure that Jake stays asleep are not purely altruistic. Sure, we want him to be well rested, but dear God, do we cherish those quiet moments for ourselves.

I ended up ruining his nap when I dove into the corner of his room and hid by the Diaper Genie. After I put him back in his crib, he was wide awake until bedtime. Perhaps a warm, stuffy room would have been better for everyone after all…