Just about the hardest thing today was keeping Gavriel Zev awake as we tootled around town running various errands.
With Baby #1, it seems (from watching other families, because I have no memory of this period in my life), everything revolves around naptime.
We’ve had guests miss Shabbos meals because their precious infant was sleeping; everyone tiptoes around, it’s a sacred moment: naptime. If workers are using jackhammers on the street, you feel like running out there and screaming at them: “don’t you know it’s naptime???”
Babies #2 and onward have it the other way around.
From birth, they have to accommodate the rest of the world’s schedule, so it’s the baby we scream at (or, if not scream, coax, wheedle, and urge) to stay awake just a bit longer. “It’s not sleep time yet; aren’t you hungry? We’ll have pizza! Don’t you want to wait ‘till we get home so we can have nummies? I’m turning off the music because it’s making you too sleepy. Stay awake – hey, look, jackhammers!”
I have actually pared down our schedule radically so that we are pretty much accommodating GZ, our still-napping 2-year-old, most days. We don’t do afternoon dance classes anymore because he was melting down every single week. And he’s meeting me halfway by staying alert longer into the afternoon; I’m sure at some point much too soon, his nap will vanish entirely.
Today, the first stretch of our errands was okay, but ‘round about 2 o’clock, as we were crossing town to come home from a particularly annoying mission at the North York Central Library, things started going downhill fast. The littles hadn’t had lunch yet – 2 p.m.!!! But they’d had an assortment of sustaining snacks, and GZ was getting VERY sleepy.
His head was tilting. His eyes were closing. The pizza shop (Pizza Café, formerly King Kosher, formerly King David’s Wilson location) was seconds away, but his eyes were shutting; shut… and then we made it! Sort of. He opened his eyes, but refused to get out of the car to go inside; “I’m too sleepy!” (duh)
But I persisted; I engaged him in a chat about what pizza kind he wanted, and eventually he went from no pizza to a predictable veggie slice. Our girls like it plain; the boys like veggie. And then I caved and bought them a single chocolate milk to share (2 straws, so it’s perfectly hygienic!) for a temporary hit of energy which would hopefully get us the rest of the way home.
(plus we stopped in Starbucks for a temporary hit of energy to get me through the afternoon!)
And he made it. By the time they got back in the car after exploring Starbucks and running over the sidewalk gratings beside the restaurant, GZ was fully alert again.
Now, my fear changed from “can I keep him awake?” to “will he ever sleep again?” When Naomi was that age, once her eyes shut, it was like tripping a switch. That was it! Even if she only slept for 30 seconds, she would NOT fall asleep again that afternoon, like until bedtime that night.
Luckily, GZ is not like that. We got home soon after and finished our pizza on the lawn before going inside for “N plus N” (= “nummies and a nap”). A few minutes into our nice, soft nummy cuddle, he was out cold.
Like always, I picked him up and tossed him over my shoulder. “That’s it; good boy… Mommy is helping chicken pie. Here’s Mommy. He’s a good boy. He’s the best boy. He’s the best chicken pie. Mommy is helping carry Gavriel Zev into his nice, soft beddy.” I murmur the same things to him, just about every day (except the one time I accidentally smashed his limp head into the doorframe and had to soothe him back to sleep!).
GZ slept for two hours. Nice. Naomi did not sleep, but read princess books quietly in my bed the entire time until Ted came home. Double nice. I got supper made, got my own stuff done (laundry; fun). Dayeinu. That’s about as nice as it gets, with more than one baby.