i need a nap

August 22, 2008

Diego and I have been duking it out over his nap time. He thinks he doesn’t need one. I know better. Our routine right now is that we come home from day care at noon, we eat lunch, and Carlos goes back to work. Ideally, the boys would snooze from 1 to 3, or even 2 to 4, so I could rest too or get some work done. There have been times when Diego even sleeps three or four hours, because he really, really needs his afternoon nap.

But the last couple of weeks I have struggled to get him to rest. We did it to ourselves, though. For too long after we had Rafael, Carlos and I relied on a quick drive in the minivan to get Diego asleep. Diego’s over-tired? Let’s go for a quick drive. This technique back-fired on me, though, when I was home with both boys the last several months. It got too hard for me to take both sleeping kids from the car and into the house, and pray they both stayed asleep. What Diego started doing was waking up as soon as I’d put him on the bed. So I’d have wasted time driving around, and carrying them in two trips into the house, just to have to entertain them again.

I’ve tried putting videos in. I tried to reason with him that he will be so much happier, and play so much nicer, if he just rests. A few times (seriously, like maybe three times) he took his blankets and crawled into our bed on his own, and took a nap. Once I think he lay down on the floor of our bedroom and fell asleep right there. But most times I’m fighting with him that “You Need To Sleep!” and I’m taking him on several trips back into bed. When he refuses, I try to ignore him for however long it would take him to nap.

Yesterday it all came to a head. He’d been nice and quiet in our room (because he doesn’t like to nap in his own bed), and came out a while later. I knew he hadn’t slept, though, and walked him back in. And all over my comforter were his trademark swirls and lines, done in black ink. GRRRRRR!!!

So Carlos and I decided that I will encourage him to sleep, but if he doesn’t want to, I’ll just play nice and not guilt-trip him about how mommy is tried too and needs to rest too. And if he doesn’t sleep on his own before 3 p.m., he’s not to have a nap at all. Yesterday, after I rushed to the dry cleaners to see if they could get the ink marks off, Diego started asking for his “blankies.” I had confiscated them and put them on top of the fridge as punishment for doodling on the bed. He said sorry and I felt bad for the kid, so I gave them back. He walked to the couch and started closing his eyes. It was 4:30 p.m.

“Oh, no you don’t,” I said. I handed him a book. “Here, read instead.”

I felt ridiculous forcing him to stay awake when he clearly was falling asleep before our eyes. But the other day he’d napped from 4 to almost 6:30 p.m. and it totally threw off our night routine. We’re pretty good about getting Diego to sleep by 8 p.m. (after stories it’s probably a bit later, but this is our quiet down time). And the late nap days are rough, because then we’re pushing everything else back one hour.

I feel like there’s a no win situation here. If he doesn’t nap early, I have to keep playing and maybe even walk to the park to try and wear him out. If he sleeps in the stroller on the walk back but then wakes when we get home (which has happened often) I have to keep going with the entertainment. If he waits until way too late to nap, we either work to keep him awake, or work to get him to sleep that night.

In my ideal toddler world, Diego takes his blankies and stuffed tiger right after lunch, walks into mommy’s room and crawls into bed, snoozing for the two hours he desperately needs. This kid isn’t even 3 yet. I refuse to believe he doesn’t need a nap anymore. What 2 1/2 year old kid can go 14 hours without resting? Oh, that’s right. Mine.

The teen is back in the house, and back in full social swing. She had some buddies over one day, and spent the night at a friend’s a couple days ago. Last night it was a concert at a coffee shop downtown. After the concert, which got out a bit before 11 p.m., she came home with a friend who was staying the night with us.

It’s always interesting to see the late-night workings of teens around the house. Most of the attacks are in the kitchen. One morning we woke up and found the girls had baked a cake. They’d eaten half of it and the rest was in the fridge. But we’d had lasagna that night, and Carlos had made them hand-wash the baking dish for their cake. In the morning I found a stash of what seemed to be perfectly clean paper towels in the trashcan. Being my mom’s kid, I fished them out of the trash, found them a bit damp, but not smelly or stained in any way. I couldn’t figure out what had happened. Carlos solved the puzzle for me. They’d used a wad of paper towels to dry the baking dish after they washed it. I spread them on the kitchen counters for reuse.

Last night, when Rafael woke up for some late-night/early-morning nursing, I could hear the girls in the kitchen. The lights had been left on, but as I was getting ready to head over there and turn them off, someone flipped the switch. I checked my cell phone and it was right around 3 a.m. I felt a bit of anxiety building up but then remembered it’s summer, they’re 14, and at least they’re at home. So in the morning, there were some new bowls in the sink. Half a pomegranate in the fridge; some of the other half in the trash. Half an apple in the trash. Someone made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And Ramen.

I have a feeling when we head home for lunch at noon, the girls will still be snoozing. It’s a great day for sleeping in, too, because storm clouds rolled in and its a gray, windy, slightly rainy day.

Peter and the Wolf

August 15, 2008

I’m auditioning for a community symphony in two weeks. I guess I could argue that I’ve been playing the flute for almost 20 years now, but the truth would be I’ve only picked it up randomly in the last 10. There was that semester I majored in it in college, but all that theory and composing knocked the fun out of it for a while. I do remember taking it out to show Itzul how to play “Sally’s song” from The Nightmare Before Christmas. But even that was a few years ago now.

This all started when we were dropping off Itzul’s rental trumpet to the music store in the big city that’s 40 miles from here. While we were leaving I saw a flyer calling for flutes, horns and some other instrument to audition at the end of the summer for the Tri-Cities Symphony. Some of my fondest memories from high school, and growing up, are playing my flute in a youth symphony. It was so different from playing in the school groups because only the best kids in the area got chosen to play. I played in our town’s symphony, the Glendale Youth Symphony, for three years. Even though I decided not to major in music, despite my teacher’s insistence, it’s something I’ve always thought about pursuing again.

With that said, I highly doubt I’ll make it. They sent me a packet of music to rehearse: Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of the Animals, Daphnis et Chloe…these are all extremely challenging on the flute…even worse when you haven’t played consistently for 10 years.

The first go at Peter and the Wolf was especially painful. I think the baby cried. Flute is also really really shrill and loud. A few weeks into it and the music started making sense. My fingers woke up and the passages were starting to transcend from seemingly impossible to almost easy.

But now it’s been almost two weeks since I seriously practiced. I need to get myself back in shape if I’m going to go through with this. I’ve decided, though, that even if I’m not totally rocking all the songs for the audition, I’m going to do it anyway so I won’t have any regrets. Maybe they’ll hear some potential in me and I’ll get back something that I enjoyed so much, so long ago.

24 hour drive

August 12, 2008

We took our family vacation a few weeks back. Two glorious weeks in Los Angeles to visit family and friends, show off the new baby, and enjoy some time away from work. We took the boys to their first trip to Disneyland, managed to make it to the Comic-Con in San Diego, and got to see just about all our family and friends in the area.

Getting to LA was half the adventure. We knew we didn’t want to fly down, mainly because it was out of our budget. With two kids under 3 years of age, we would have needed to pack car seats, a stroller, the playpen, our luggage, and then rent a car when we got to LA. So driving the 1,200 miles made more sense. But 20 hours in the car is a long time to travel with a 2 1/2 year old and a 4-month-old.

Our strategy was to leave Walla Walla at 7 p.m. on a Friday, take turns at the wheel and drive until we felt too drowsy to keep going. Probably not the safest choice, but the night was the only time we could count on the boys sleeping and us covering the most ground. After loading up on coffee and setting the DVD player up for Diego, we headed out of Walla Walla and toward the Oregon coast, to get on the 5 freeway. Carlos managed until about 12 a.m., and then I took over. I made it through most of Oregon and had to stop at a rest area about 3:30 a.m. Carlos took over again, and we decided to have an early breakfast at 4:30 a.m. The boys rustled out of sleep and were happy to get out of the car in a new place.

We found a Sheri’s restaurant (much like a Denny’s) almost identical to one we have in Walla Walla. I think we were just outside Yreka in California. The breakfast went smoothly, and when we got back on the road the sun was just getting up. We timed the stop perfectly because the boys knocked out once we got back in the minivan, and stayed asleep about another three hours. Then our worst fears manifested. After stopping several times to use the “potty,” to gas up, to nurse, to let Diego run around and play, and to buy goodies to make lunch, we made it to our first destination, Sacramento, at 1 p.m. Luckily we got to stay in a hotel thanks to my awesome aunt Ada, who also cooked dinner for us.

Diego and Rafa chillin' at the hotel in Sacramento.

Diego and Rafa chillin

Everyone slept peacefully that night. We killed time Sunday morning at a park, then started the six hour drive to LA a little before noon. Some more crankiness and way more stops than were necessary, and we made it to LA close to 7 p.m.

I can’t believe we did this drive again two weeks later. More soon…