As Paige finished her lunch Monday she looked me dead in the eyes, furled her eyebrows (as her mother does all the time) and emphatically said, "I don't want to nap...never, ever!" After refusing to nap the previous week, which I attempted to shrug off as a blip on the napping radar, her outright refusal to take a mid-day siesta this week has sealed the deal - and possibly my sanity.
When Paige napped, it was always for at least two hours, sometimes three. She's a high-energy, busy, emotional child, so I cherished those hours after lunch. I'd figure out dinner. I'd clean the kitchen. I'd work on emerging freelance projects. I'd use the treadmill (when the weather was bad). I'd sit and enjoy the silence for a few minutes. Now, Paige and I have 13 to 14 consecutive hours together. No break.
And, by 4 or 5 in the afternoon, the effects of not napping takes its toll. The other day as I was getting dinner together, she asked if they could eat dinner on their little trays in front of the TV, which exclusively is a treat for them and maybe happens once a week. I said no. She then climbed on our tall kitchen chairs, screamed and berated me for several minutes with tears in her eyes, then meekly said, "Daddy...I need help getting down."
The no-napping tirades also reared their ugly head the other day when I received a call from a potential employer asking to do a phone interview at that moment, then suddenly realizing I clearly must have been waterboarding 15 toddlers as there was no other reason for the amount of desperate, agonizing screaming in the background. The caller immediately said, "Do you have time tomorrow that would be better?"
Yesterday Allison had the day off and as the three of us raced back from her mom's house to be home in time to pick up Lucy from the bus stop, Paige yelled at us the entire way. Turn the music off! My feet are cold!(it was 72 and sunny yesterday) My want my toys! My want my books! All the while I'm thinking, "My want to drive into oncoming traffic."
Three minutes before we pulled into the driveway, the only noise from the tiny dictator in the backseat was snoring. Awesome. A nap at 3 in the afternoon. Needless to say, she then was up until 9 last night but managed to burst out of bed before 6 this morning. She went through the typical routine of walking into our room, going all the way around the foot of our bed to reach my side, then poking her fingers in my face to wake me up. Why doesn't she do this to her mother, who is sleeping right near the door? I'll never know.
I do know this - Paige and I have survived these 11 weeks because we have a good system in place, a system that includes grocery shopping at 8 a.m. on Mondays, story time at the library on Monday and Tuesdays at 10 a.m...and a two-hour respite for me in the middle of the day. Now, she's amping up the craziness by a couple hours a day in an effort to claim all the power in the house.
I'm pretty sure I'm screwed. So, if you don't hear from me for a few days, just imagine a three-year-old in a glittery princess tutu standing over me, barking out orders with tears in her eyes as I duck for cover. I don't see any other way for this to turn out.