I can assure you that I needed to have already read a copy of Elizabeth Pantley's new book The No-Cry Nap Solution today before I even tried getting six-month-old Little Cutie, who I watch a few days a week, to take his morning nap. Had I read it, perhaps we would not have encountered a melt-down of epic proportions. Or maybe we might have still, but, at any rate, I desperately need to get some new sleep ideas under my belt while dealing with two ages two and under and a lentil-sized Bean who sucks away all of my precious child-rearing energy. I especially need to learn some new sleepy-time tricks before the Bean arrives.
Little Cutie starts getting sleepy and cranky around 10:45, and I know better this time than to wait. Last time I waited a few minutes, he was overtired and barely slept the rest of the day. So Gabe, LC and I venture upstairs with a bottle of breastmilk in one hand and books for Gabe in the other. I ask Gabe to play in his play yard and read while I put LC to bed. Gabe happily obliges because he thinks the play yard is some sort of awesome tent, which it is because I've draped a blanket over half of it. LC is already expired, though, because of the time it took to warm the milk and get Gabe settled. He gulps his bottle voraciously. And then I hear a loud thump followed by a bellow. I jump up, run into our room next door and Gabe is pitifully sobbing and holding his head. I don't know what he bumped it on, but he is not happy. Meanwhile, LC is now crying in the other room because the bottle fell from his mouth when I ran to check on Gabe. I haul Gabe, still sobbing, into the room where LC is sobbing. I try nursing Gabe there while soothing LC, but Gabe becomes even more upset because LC is crying. And then the dog starts barking as if to alert me ala Lassie-style that he smells trouble and perhaps Timmy fell in the well. Thanks, Chase, I think to myself; you are ever so helpful in times like these. If you want to help, you would be holding LC's bottle in his mouth while I nurse Gabe instead of barking and causing more noise pollution.
**At this point, my house looks like a scene from a Super Nanny episode -- you know, the part where a horrified Super Nanny is watching the video of a family on the verge of absolute melt-down, and she decides she must go rescue them. I imagine if Elizabeth Pantley had a TV show about the No-Cry Nap Solution, she would have seen my clip and been here faster than I could have swallowed ten Martinis during this intense moment of extreme and utter disarray. Also note, the dog is barking like someone is running away with everything in our house and both kids are bellowing ever so loudly as I'm pondering my next move. **
So I take Gabe into the other room to help settle him because he's turning a shade of purple I've never seen on his skin and coughing like he's going to puke the entire contents of his breakfast all over my lap; The Bean, though the size of a lentil, has made it so that I cannot handle seeing puking without returning the favor. LC still is crying, but he's not turning weird colors, thankfully. I take Gabe into the other room, nurse Gabe and calm him down explaining that the baby really wants some more milk. As soon as Gabe turns his normal color and downs a few glugs of milk, I return to LC and give him the bottle. But he doesn't want the bottle now because he's really mad at life. He's so mad, he bellows even louder when I put the bottle by his lips. Gabe climbs on the bed, distressed again at LC's cries, so I do what any mother would do: I give him two cookies and an entire deck of cards and show him how cool it is to flick those cards throw the banister rails. This makes him forget about the crying baby so I can focus on getting LC to take his bottle and go to sleep. We are now at the volcanic explosion that Pantley describes in her book after she forewarns parents not to skip or put off naps. ** I only know this now after I read a description of her book and both boys are asleep. I really should have read this book, like, um, yesterday.**
LC finally decides he will take the bottle. He gulps it down. He's almost asleep, and the bottle is almost empty. I think we might have success, which is good because I hear cards being flicked over the banister at an increasing speed; there cannot be many left. And knowing Gabe, the cookies haven't seen the light of day since I put them in his chubby little hand.
And LC knows this. As soon as he sucks the last bit of milk he yelps for more; he's had almost 4 ounces already, and the Bean is warning me that if he's gonna blow, so are we. But I have to take the chance. Quickly, I pick up Gabe and run downstairs to get more milk. There's not time to heat these two ounces. We have to move quickly. Cold breastmilk is better than no breastmilk. We return upstairs and Gabe resumes his card game. I give LC more milk. He, at first, balks at the cold milk and looks at me like the sous chef has gone mad and he may refuse to pay his bill, but then he remembers that it's food from his favorite diner ... and we all know no one can resist his favorite feast even if it is a bit chilly. And the grub tastes like it's from the real chef even if that stupid sous chef messed up the preparation a bit. And the real chef knows how to fill him up and put him to sleep. Thankfully, he drifts off as Gabe strolls into the room with an empty box of cards.
So, Elizabeth Pantley, if you're reading this, I sincerely hope that you take pity on me and think about creating a TV series called the No-Cry Nap Solution. If you do, I promise to video tape my next fiasco and be the first family to submit a plea for help. And if you decide against the TV show, I sincerely hope that at least you'll send me a book. And maybe a book for a lucky read who needs it just as badly as we do. I know I'm not the only one who's arming a toddler with cookies and playing cards in order to buy time to get the other one to sleep.