As I type this, Little Oil is in her room, playing quietly by herself. We recently added a "Quiet Time" rather than Nap Time option for after lunch on days when Little is at home with us.
This is significant for a number of reasons.
Like her papa, my three-year-old demands some attention from everyone around her, all the time. This is cute, tiring, a little distressing and just the way she is. We are pretty relaxed about "just the way she is." Our kid is very energetic and that's lovely. Still, I love it when she shows that she can entertain herself, just like I love that she is gradually growing in self-confidence and self-reliance in all areas of her life. Play is the route of all her learning. The more self-directed her play can be the more effective her learning can be. Sooooo; more opportunities for independent play are awesome. Yay for today. Yay for right now.
Another big reason why this "Quiet Time" experience is significant is that it represents a new approach to the Oil Family mid-day siesta. Basically, Little came out early as a champion napper. Very regular in her timing and very easy to put down. When Little shifted from two naps a day to one, her regular nap's length blew up to around three hours a day! This was amazing for Mama and Papa Oil, we'd get a huuuge break in the day to close our own eyes or do a little writing or whatev's. This blog's early burst of daily posts depended on those nice, long naps.
Compared to Mama Oil, who is a Master Sleep-Putter, I sometimes struggle, sometimes for a longish time helping Little Oil settle down and fall asleep. For bedtime, this is not really that big a deal. Occasionally we take a while, get frustrated with each other, do some fussing, but sweet sleep always comes. Naps are worse. Maybe because I've never napped myself, I have just never really gotten the hang of putting Little Oil down for naps in the afternoon. Before, when the naps were more deeply written into her 24 hour circadian rhythms, she'd still go down, just not easily. For the last several months, naps at home with Papa are a No-Go. No one is happy about that.
But there is a work-around and if you are a Pedal Parent (or if you read the title of this post), I bet you've already guessed what it is! The surefire way to induce sleep in early afternoon? Take a ride!
It's that head-loll sh-t that makes you flip your deck! Woo-Hah! Gotcha all in check!
We don't even need to rearrange our schedule for this. Since we ride everywhere when Little and I are together and since those are the days when naps at home are unlikely, it is pretty much guaranteed that if it is after lunch and if Little Oil is on the Xtracycle, she's nodding off.
I carry her blankie with us for these rides. We added some plastic clips to the straps on the Yepp seat after one ride where a driving Samaritan had to flag me down to alert me that the sleeping kid had dropped her blanket a block behind. The clips are handy for freeing up her hands for other things when I wrap her in a warm blanket on chilly mornings, too. Clips=Good idea for a longtail kid.
Clips, apple, zebra.
Longtail kids and standard American rear seat kids not only need to be careful about dropping stuff from their perches a-bike, they also need to learn to sleep strapped upright in a three or five-point harness. I get the impression this is less uncomfortable than it looks. Gotta admit that bucket-bike, box-bike and trailer kids have the sweeter platform for sleeping.
Atop the Thomas Street Ped Bridge. Naps over a traffic jam.
Last week, at the May Day March for Workers and Immigrants Rights, Little Oil dozed off while I pushed the bike. She slept soundly, even with a chant-leader shouting "Show me what democracy looks like.! This is what democracy looks like!" into a bullhorn about five feet away. When a kid's gotta sleep a kid's gotta sleep, and a family bike is a great tool for it!
This is what democracy naps like.
How do your Pedal Passengers sleep on the bike? Any tips for beginner Pedal Parents?
Holy Crap. You know what happened while I was busy writing this little post to you?
All by herself! Maybe naps at home have a few more months in 'em!