Monday, July 05, 2004

Sleeping in the car

Sarah's napping in the car, again. Shy Kitty's stretched out in front of the porch, washing himself in a highly undignified way. Renaissance Woman's asleep inside. I'm stationed on our postage-stamp front lawn, looking at the blue flowers and the roses and listening to the wind-chimes from across the street and the birds on the telephone wire and the cars on the big street at the end of the block. Our neighbors are hammering on their house as they've been doing for the last 6 or 7 years. Renaissance Woman says that when she first moved in here she thought it was just a project and they'd be done soon, but after a couple of years she realized that home improvement for our next-door neighbors is a lifestyle that will never end.

When we were in L.A. my uncle kept offering to let Sarah nap in his room at the assisted living place where he lives now [really it's a nursing home, I guess] and I kept having to refuse, politely. She can't sleep where there's anything exciting going on, I said, and it was the truth. I took her out in the rental car every day and drove her around to let her rest.

She's like me and RW that way: a sleep-resister. Always has been. I remember reading baby books that reassured us that newborns will drop off anywhere, anytime, if they need it, and wondering why our little baby seemed to be so crabby and fragile. One day it hit us: she was exhausted! But she wouldn't go to sleep when we were out and about. She hated to miss a thing.

Now she naps in the car, usually, or not at all, and the mom on call sits on the porch or the front lawn and reads or opens mail or talks on the phone. Apparently she will nap at day care--usually. Probably the collective sleepies of all those other kids, combined with the assurance that absolutely nothing is going on, enables her to let go. But with us she's always on edge, certain that we're about to break out the party treats and good times as soon as she's asleep.

On the one hand, it's a good thing, in that attachment-parenting kind of way: forces us to slow down and rest too. On the other hand... well, we have a lot to do and would like to be able to go to the back of the house and wash dishes sometimes. And often it's rainy. And the mom on call can't really nap properly herself, watching over the little car-napper. And so often we would like to. Especially when we've been up reading. But I guess we brought this on ourselves with our decadent sleep-resisting example, vicious circle that it is.

Although I am grateful that once she's out [especially at night] she's out. I'd rather have a sleep-resister than an early riser if it comes to that.


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