Or mom and me time. I harp about it a lot, but I seem to just not have nappers no matter the hours spent nap training (read: listening to screaming forever and ever and panicky texting every mom friend and getting mad at my husband for bringing me flowers because my nerves were fried and therefore made me insane ... good, nap-fruitless times). Anyway, my opinion on this matter wavers between resigned acceptance and a frustrated, "Why me?!" mild inner rage when I hear of other kids sleeping for three hours daily. I do normally get a synchronized albeit short afternoon nap out of both boys so really things could be much worse.
I just noticed that the nap times which I have always seen as me time are nicely folding some Mom and me time for each boy into the stack of things we do every day. And I do mean nicely! The fact that my neighbor and I are sharing a mother's helper a couple times a week is most likely what makes me able to be so kind to this change.
(A really neat and miraculous recent happening - my boss gave me an hourly raise of the exact amount that my mother's helper charges per hour for my share. I know. I got goosebumps when I realized this yesterday).
For Ryan, this time means a conscious time doing "preschool" during Conor's thirty minute morning nap. I used to get so wound up during this nap because by the time I got him down and Ryan in the playroom with activities to occupy his attention span for a hopeful 30 minutes, but a more realistic 5 minutes, it seemed like right when I would sit down to work, I'd hear the Conor's bellows/shrieks. Let's be frank ... they are shrieks.
Now "preschool" happens in that time and just taking the pressure of work away from that ill-fitting space of time has made it easier to breathe.
(I keep putting it in quotation marks because we aren't doing much, and I don't feel like we need to do much, but Ryan doesn't have any older siblings so 20 minutes to 30 minutes of him making dots instead of the requested number 1 is what he gets. And these are his playing years! I think I also have a poor taste in my mouth from watching a Netflix documentary on the ridiculous NYC preschool process a few years ago as I was stuffing our wedding invitations, and I thought I was at least two years away from even being pregnant. That thought deserves an LOL. To clarify, I don't think sending kids to preschool is the devil; lots of my friends' kids go to preschool, but it's just not in the plans for our family at this time. For better mentions of relaxed "preschool" stuff you can check here, here, here and here).
This week we have just done the same things every day. Ryan works with a shoe string and some beads I checked out from the library, then we do a page from this book recommended by Rachael (we've done the same page three days in a row because there is no rush, he's only three!), and then we do a big puzzle. This morning I remembered a Montessori letters book I had slung into the library bag so we spent some time on that. Normally by the end of the puzzle, Conor is awake. It's been lovely, and I know Ryan appreciates the Mom and me time and the structure. Today I walked away to grab a drink of water, and Ryan hollered, "Okay, come back when you are finished! I'll be doing my preschool!"
For Conor, Mom and me time begins when he loudly announces the end of his pitifully short afternoon nap. I used to pull my hair out over this. Now it just gets a mild tug, ha. But I sweep him up into my arms before he awakes the slumbering Ryandragon, take him to the living room, ignore his tantrum as I close my laptop that he adores stomping on, lie down and just let him climb all over me while telling me all about his thoughts in nonsensical gibberish. Another lovely part of my day. A lot of the above photo takes place, as it always does. This Conor and me time is so very much needed because Conor has been extra screamy as of late. He needs this cuddly time, and, honestly, I need to hear his sweet baby talk if I want to keep my patience gauge at a decently healthy level.