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New Years Soap Dish Preflection

By Carissa Tobin

TUE DEC 21, 2021

Well, we had a month.

November was a month of transition and, well, anger, in our house. Things were just not going Little L's way.

I would guessing that the end of the nap had something to do with it.

Now, I never would have taken myself for someone who would be anti-nap. When parents of three-year-olds would say, "she doesn't nap, but she goes to bed so early - it's great!" I would smile politely and inwardly cringe. That will never be me! I'd think. She will nap until she's eight!

But napping sporadically isn't all it's cracked up to be. We would let Little L fall asleep when she needed to, and if she didn't need to, she would just stay in her room and have quiet time until her nap light told her that it was time to get up.

In theory.

In actuality she would often lay in bed awake for forty-five minutes, only to fall asleep well after 2PM. Then after a late bedtime we were trapped in our room as she wiggled about for another hour. We knew if we walked past her room she would yell the dreaded "I'm not TIRED!"

But on those days she didn't fall asleep - oh, the beauty - she konked out just minutes after we turned on her bedtime sleep story.

It was almost as if - gasp! - it was better when she didn't nap.

Then in mid-November, she started spending a longer day at school. She was there for nap/rest time. We told the teacher she probably wouldn't nap. In fact, there's no way she would nap. Oso was staying at home; she was taking a doggie as a stand-in. A nap without Oso? Impossible.

Undeterred by Little L's absence, Oso went ahead with naptime on its own.
Undeterred by Little L's absence, Oso went ahead with naptime on its own.

I was right. No naps at school. I thought that meant she wouldn't nap on weekends either. But she was so tired.

She was tired every day. And crabby. This longer school-day thing was quite the adjustment. And taking away her naps at the same time?


When she got a longer break at Thanksgiving, I told Axel that she was probably going to just nap at home and that we'd try to sort it out in the New Year after Winter Break. After all, I needed a break during the day. I really wanted her to just quit napping completely (who had I become!?) because I thought she would probably do better with consistency and sleep longer at night.

"I think we need to think about it differently," he told me. "I don't think shutting her in her room works if we want her to just play quietly. She's just conditioned to sleep if she's in her room."

I shook my head as I filled my water bottle. "I need my time. I can't go like twelve hours straight. It's too much."

"We might just have to think about it in a different way," he said. "Let her be out in the main room with you. She might talk to you a little bit, so it's not perfect. But we'll all be quiet. You'll still get some time. But she won't fall asleep if she has the option of being right next to you."

I was doubtful, but somehow, I agreed. I started with only 20 minutes. It went well. We upped it each day.

He was right. If she could be out at her art station painting and making collages, Little L didn't lay down in her bed and fall asleep. Even though there were plenty of options to play with in her room - cars, blocks, babies - for some reason, being out and about kept her awake.

And my little pep talk about "If you can stay quiet, then we can do this again tomorrow!" seemed to mostly work. I sat at the kitchen counter on my computer and did my own thing, with ocassional whispers from Little L. When Axel tried to talk with me, I put a finger to my lips.

"Send me a text," I mouthed.

Little L enjoys checking how many minutes are left and whispering it to me. Once the light turns green, she yells loudly,
Little L enjoys checking how many minutes are left and whispering it to me. Once the light turns green, she yells loudly, "Quiet time is over!" I think she expects me to join in her excitement.

As we were getting this whole no-nap thing worked out, there were plenty of bumps. Little L held it together at school, it seemed, only to come home and let loose. She threw towels in the sink full of dishwater. She took a potato I was peeling and set it on the floor. She took the snack I'd set at the table and put each apple slice and raisin on her chair. "Icky," she said, when I asked why.

But once December came, things were looking up. But then one morning as she was getting ready for school, Little L was in a mood. I left her in the bathroom with her toothbrush full of toothpaste.

A minute later she came out and found me.

"Did you go potty and brush your teeth?" I asked.

She nodded. "But I put soap on the floor," she said. Her acts of defiance hadn't vanished this month, but I'd thought they were waning in intensity. I took a deep breath. This had echoes of the time she had brushed the counter rather than her teeth with her toothpaste the prior week. I imagined foamy white handsoap smeared across the gray tile floor.

"Well, do you know where the washcloths are to clean it up?" I asked, and she nodded, heading towards the drawer where we keep what she calls the "stinky white rags." I couldn't let her get away with it, but at the same time, I just wanted to get her out the door to school before things escalated.

I followed her into the bathroom to supervise her clean-up job.

"Mama, I don't need a washcloth," she said, tossing it aside. She took her bare hand and lifted a white bar of Dove bath soap back in its dish.

I stifled a laugh. She put soap on the floor, huh? Well, that showed me.

The soap, after she cleaned it up. Conveniently, it had been placed right next to its dish.
The soap, after she cleaned it up. Conveniently, it had been placed right next to its dish.

The new nap set-up is still going fairly well, though I notice that some days Little L still crawls in her bed with Oso, much to my chagrin. The early bedtimes are so nice. But it's still long being on all day (though silent for an hour of it), especially during our winter break.

As New Year's approaches, Axel has suggested that we get another new routine going. "It seems like there's a lot of yelling in the morning," he said. So that's what we plan to tackle next - the morning routine.

What about you? Is there anything in your life that could benefit from taking a fresh perspective? Opening up that bedroom door and letting your metaphorical child have a little more space to play quietly? A routine that needs to be revamped? Soap that needs to be picked up off the floor?

If you're interested, it's time for the New Year's Eve Year in Reflection. And to take a preflective look at 2022.

Enjoy, and Happy Noon Year. And New Year too.