Tuesday, August 18, 2009

That's My Cue

I've never been strict about nap and bed times with Jack.

It might be because I'm not super regimented anyway, but it might also be that his cues for needing sleep are so obvious that I've never had to question when he needs rest and when he doesn't.

I thought you might like a virtual glimpse of some of my favorite cues that Jack needs a nap.

THE CLASSIC: eye rubbing, yawning, head shaking... other cutesy baby-like signals that mean, "Oh! I'm getting sleepy."

THE MANIC: This one involves wildly running from every corner of the house, usually laughing in a shrill, slightly crazy, fashion. His movements get really fast and he doesn't stay in one place very long.

THE CLUMSY: This one often works in conjunction with The Manic. Jack starts to trip over things or run into walls and then get up and laugh it off, only to stumble just a few steps later.

THE CRANKY: Usually involves wanting to be picked up but not wanting to stay picked up, some sort of physical outburst and general unpleasantness.

THE NAUGHTY: My least favorite (but it makes it the easiest to put him in his crib). Not to be confused with Cranky. Sometimes when Jack needs a nap he lets me know by going around the house and touching every single thing (over and over and over again) that he knows is off limits. If I find myself saying, "No! Don't touch that!" forty-five times in a row, I usually move the little fingers into their little bed.

THE SILLY: This one is the newest and, in my opinion, the cutest. This is when anything I do is just hysterical. We can be sitting on the couch and I just open my mouth and all of a sudden Jack is in a fit of giggles. Oh, you can't even believe the sweet sound of real, true, delighted laughter coming from that little boy. I usually drag this one out as long as I can. When he stops laughing and starts staring into space, I know we're done.

THE OBVIOUS: This one is pretty cute too. And it makes it an easy decision to switch into sleeping mode. Jack will be playing and having a grand ol' time, when all of a sudden I look over and he is laying motionless on the floor. Eyes open, toy in hand, but totally still. Yep. When a 16 month old boy chooses to lay still, you know he needs a nap.

I feel pretty lucky that Jack is such a good communicator about when he needs rest. It sure makes it easy to have people babysit or to tell when it will be a two nap day instead of one. Just one of Jack's many fine qualities - of which I am trying to remind myself of as he proceeds to drive me crazy this week.

Any advice on making it through the food throwing/hair pulling/hitting/saying "no" a million times/climbing on the table/trowing the phone in the toilet/running out the back door and down a flight of stairs while my back was turned for half a second phase?



Sarah said...

I know what you mean about the visual cues. Sometimes they just won't go to sleep though. Like Sunday. I put Maggie down for a nap, no correction, I tried putting her down for a nap all day and every time I did, she climbed out of her play pen and came back out. This happened all day, from about 11am when we got back from the park until 5pm when she finally crashed out in the living room.

Terrianne said...

When I was the mom of four little ones (Seth came so much later, I never had five little ones), I once attended a lecture on parenting where the presenter explained about age-appropriate behavior, using the phrase, "He's just doing his job!" I've thought of that oh so many times through the years, and even spoken it aloud, and laughed. It really helped to ease the stress.

Ellery said...

Wait four years until he is a mature five-year-old and he may surprise you by taking his new water bottle into the bathtub and getting the bright idea of filling it with bath water and flinging the contents ALL OVER the bathroom.