I can honestly say that I have never been one of those parents who express regret about the passing of time. It has given me great joy to see my baby turn into a toddler, and my toddler turn into a preschooler.

I want DorkySon to grow up. I want him to become more confident and independent of me, to do things on his own without my help.

Perhaps it has been easier because he is naturally a quiet and fairly reserved boy, and I am more used to giving him gentle, encouraging nudges to try new things, rather than trying to hold him back from activities that he’s not yet ready for.

That said; all his big developmental stages have started on his say-so rather than mine. He indicated very clearly that he wanted to stop breastfeeding at 9 months. He decided when he was ready to start using a potty, and when he wanted the bars taken off his cot.

The next big thing on the horizon is probably going to be dropping his nap. I feel incredibly lucky to have a three year old who still reliably takes an hour’s nap after lunch every day, but I am very aware that this time next year DorkySon will have started school, and it won’t be possible to keep that going.

I’m hopeful – that like everything else – he will make the decision to phase it out fairly naturally, without us having to make a big deal out of it. And with that in mind, I savour the nap related loveliness every day.

Not the hour of quiet – although that is excellent and precious – but the half hour or so afterwards when he is waking up, and still needs me to help him do that.

The quiet cuddles we used to have in bed every morning stopped a long time ago. DorkySon is now so eager to get on with the day that he will run through to our room and only stay long enough to guzzle down some milk, before tearing off into the living room to start one of his traffic jams, or build something out of Lego, or just to sit on the sofa watching Postman Pat.

Naps are different though.

He still needs coaxing out of a nap.

About 3pm, or maybe 3.30, I’ll hear his bedroom door creaking open, before he ambles slowly through to the bathroom for a wee. Then he’ll appear in the doorway to the living room, usually without pants on, messy haired and scowling.

Without saying anything, he’ll walk across to the sofa, climb up, and curl into a tight little bundle on my lap. He might grunt a little, or yawn, but he still won’t say anything. For a good ten or fifteen minutes he’ll sit there, sooking on his thumb with gusto, and peering up at me with those enormous blue peepers. Gosh, I wonder sometimes what he is thinking.

It’s the one time of day he stays still long enough for me to really look at him; to notice how much longer his legs are getting, to see how defined his muscles are becoming, to wonder how he got so many nicks and bumps and bruises. I love the soft, blonde down that grows on his shins, the cosy creases in his neck that I can still bury my nose in. Post-naptime, he’ll accept my kisses without pulling away, and he occasionally takes his hand away from his mouth to offer me some ‘thumb pie’.

As the minutes pass, I will slowly start to see the spark of mischief return to his expression. He’ll start to wiggle around a little. A smile will start to play at the corners of his mouth.

And then, inevitably, with a final loud yawn he will shift along the sofa, extend one of those elegant limbs in my direction and stick his foot in my face.

Smell this Mummy,” he’ll say. “It’s PIS-gusting.

I will sigh, and smile, and he will laugh loudly before jumping off the sofa.

The baby has gone again and the boy has returned.

As it should be.

27 responses

  1. What a beautifully written post. I too love that quiet, sleepy time. For us, it’s just before bedtime, when the fairy lights are on and F is in s sleepy state, sucking her thumb and twiddling her blanket as she lies placidly against me. Waking from naps is a different thing altogether. She’s often terribly grumpy and if she has to be woken at the childminder’s when I come to collect her I have to navigate her out of the door without a full-blown tantrum before she wakes all the other sleeping toddlers. It’s not my favourite time of day!

  2. My son (just three) is slowly dropping naps. But he is replacing them with quiet time curled up with me. While I miss my time for me in the middle of the day I do like the additional snuggles.

  3. This is beautiful. My baby is only just two, and for all sorts of (selfish) reasons I hope his naps will stay in place for a good while yet. You’re right, though: the after-nap snuggles, that magical no-man’s-land ‘twixt dreams and mischief, are especially precious.

  4. What a gorgeous post. My son’s two and a half and still naps for a couple of hours a day, and then takes a good half an hour to come round after snuggled in my arms….and I love this precious time just like you! Incidentally my daughter’s four and still has an hour or two’s nap most days – we live in France and her school encourages after lunch sleeps for as long as possible (well wouldn’t you if you were teaching two to five year olds?!) so she’s still in the routine of it which is wonderful. Louisa

  5. So beautifully written and true. It makes me sad that I miss out on Maxy’s post-nap cuddles as we have to whiz of to school but I still adore all the cuddles I get from all my children when they are sleepy pre or post sleeping! xx

  6. ‘Thumb pie’ – how lovely! This post made me feel all warm and cosy inside. Little A will soon start to drop her nap, she forgoes a nap here and there already, and she too, takes a while before she comes around properly – grumpy, then followed by ‘can I watch some TV now mummy’. X.

    • I don’t know where we’re at with ours now. T dropped his for for days on the trot, but then the last 2 days he has taken a 2.5 hour one, and then slept 12 hours each night. This is going to be another one of those processes that drags on for months, isn’t it? xx

  7. Ahhh that’s lovely. My daughter (2.5) still snuggles in the morning. Sadly as the second child she doesn’t get much chance after her lunchtime nap, as I’m normally bundling her into the car to pick up my son :o(

  8. This is an absolutely lovely post. You have inspired me to take time out and write a little descriptive piece about my boys. As there are only 20 months between them, I forget to write about these things which will be so lovely to look back on and read in years to come.
    You write beautifully and I could see every detail in what you were describing.

    Oh, and NAPS AT THREE! You are sooooo lucky. Spud dropped his ages ago but since he is the youngest at preschool (he started last week) then it’s helped with his transition 🙂

    • Thank you so much. I’ll have to pop over to yours to see what you’ve written. It’s so worth writing those wee descriptive pieces occasionally – I look back at ones even from 6 months ago, and can never believe how much T has changed since then xx

  9. Wow, what a gorgeous post! I completely agree, post nap times were always amazing here too. I won’t lie and say I don’t miss it, I really do since Sausage started school and everything has changed, but I’m also massively enjoying seeing her grow and develop in new ways so I wouldn’t change things for all the world. Also, I’m still a clingy Mummy, which means Sausage still falls asleep on mine or Husbands lap of an evening before being carried into bed, so I still get to enjoy an element of it 🙂

  10. What a lovely post. And so eloquently put. My daughter gave up her nap at 4 and my son b4 he was 2, and I remember the post nap as the best and the worst times! They would cuddle and wake up, sort of, but be on a knife edge of grumpiness for a bit. Ready too explode if things didn’t quite work out. Neither of them were happy enough to sit on my lap for long enough to fully wake up I guess! I miss naps now though, and cuddles. We still get them in the morning and that’s precious. Wonder how long that will last….

    • Yes, that’s so true – if you get the nap-wakefulness transition wrong it can lead to severe grumpiness! But then that’s true of me too, so I can’t really knock T for it!

  11. Gorgeous! My daughter dropped her naps shortly before turning two if I remember correctly which I guess is quite early. I wonder how long my baby boy will keep napping for.

  12. Pingback: No Longer Needed | dorkymum

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