The flip side of the longer, independent bed naps that H has been taking is that sometimes he fights those naps tooth and nail or skips them entirely. Today he was in a nap fighting, nap skipping kind of mood. His tired cues, the yawning and the eye rubbing and the fussing, were clear, and I broke out all of my sleep-related parenting tools. Sleep did not come for him, but frustration did for me. Sometime during the bouncing, patting, nursing, rocking, singing, murmuring, humming, walking, carrying, and frustrated thoughts pinging around in my mind, Importanter Than a Diaper showed up.
Importanter Than a Diaper.
It comes from a piece by Andrea Scher in which she recounts wrangling her younger child into a diaper while her older child calls for her from the bathtub. She struggles. She struggles with getting the wriggling child into the diaper, she struggles to balance the needs of both of her children, she struggles to stay calm. She struggles and then she yells at her older child. As she apologizes for the yelling, snuggling her older child close, he tells her through tears that he is importanter than a diaper. “Yes, yes, you are right,” she tells him. “You are much more importanter than a diaper.”
In my own frustration, Importanter Than a Diaper became a mantra. As I repeated it to myself, it stood in for all the things H was much more importanter than. He was importanter than that article on the internet I had wanted to read while he napped. He was importanter than my desire to have five minutes to myself to do nothing at all. He was importanter than my need to have illusory control over the napping situation. He was the importantest thing in my world at that moment. Importanter Than a Diaper slowed the frustrated thoughts pinging around in my mind until they were quiet.
We got out of bed and played on the floor. It ended up being a nap fighting, nap skipping kind of day and it was okay. There were importanter things to do. Everything else could wait.
Read Andrea Scher’s essay Importanter Than a Diaper.
(Originally posted in slightly different form in my sleep support group, July 2013.)