It is with a heavy heart that I must report that little John’s afternoon nap has now been laid to rest. RIP nap time. Tear, sniff. I will miss you deeply and the hours of peace and quiet you have provided, allowing me to attempt to put the pieces of my life back together each afternoon following the chaos of every morning. You helped me get beds made, pick up toys, fold laundry, empty the dishwasher, get a head start on dinner, maybe get in a speedy workout and perhaps most importantly, on a special occasion, take a shower without a small curious peeping John asking questions. Many mornings just the anticipation of you and not being asked for anything for two whole hours has helped keep me from crossing the fine line of sanity. Thank you for your service dear, beloved nap.
Yep! Once the big boy bed transition was made, the nap died a pretty sudden death. I guess I was not surprised as this was the same sequence of events that occurred with both of my girls. I have been trying to hold on to hope by enforcing “quiet time” where I lure John into his room by bribing him with pacifiers. We go through the entire nap prep process and he starts out in his bed, but then shortly ends up climbing out. Before long I hear the “wee oh” of his fire truck, the “choo choo” of his Thomas Train and soon comes the incessant knocking and calling. “Momma! I get out of bed. Come out?” I can put him off for a little while as I do think it is good for him to have some down time and to learn how to occupy himself. Once or twice he has eventually fallen asleep on the floor of his room, but by then it is much too late. And then we have to repeat the struggle all over again at bed time when he wants to stay up and party until 10:00 p.m. Usually though, he doesn’t fall asleep and after listening to his calls to come out of his room I feel guilty and decide I should make the most of the time with him before the craziness of carting his sisters around after school begins. That’s when he is strapped in his car seat to go from school to dance class, then an orthodontist appointment, maybe the bank and the post office. None of which is for him.
So suddenly I am finding myself with many more hours in which I need to keep this busy little guy occupied. Yesterday afternoon I decided to get out some paints. I had in mind a couple of fall craft ideas that might keep him seated and stop him from coloring on the walls of his sister’s room like he has been known to do. I pulled out one small apple remaining in the fridge from our trip to the apple orchard which I decided to cut in half for him to use as a stamp. We also cut a small red potato in half which we would use as a pumpkin stamp. My night owl was ready to paint! I still can’t believe I actually let him use paint in my dining room over my new rug without being strapped into his booster seat. I must be crazy. I never would have done this with my first child. Actually, I probably had some really well thought out project planned for her, the supplies set out the night before and a monogrammed art smock. Then I would have sat and taught her each step as if it was an art class. Funny how things are different from first born to third. Now that Pinterest has come about, there are dozens of projects I have pinned that I could try with John. But in my experience, sometimes it’s better to keep it simple. Especially with a two-year-old. Just let them explore, be creative and get messy. Usually if I try to make some perfect and pretty craft with my kids, I end up doing most of the work and they end up crying because they have their own plan. It never ends the way I envision. So today, it was just going to be paint, paper, our homemade stamps and maybe a couple of brushes.
First we used brown paint to create an apple tree trunk. Then we dipped half of the apple in red paint and used a paint brush to make sure the entire apple was covered. John went to work stamping apples on his tree.
We were having lots of fun until this happened. No, he’s not hurt. This is called a temper tantrum. I don’t even recall now what caused this scene. Probably something to do with me wanting to help him get more paint on his apple. Apparently I wasn’t doing it the way he had hoped. Such is life as a two-year-old. You might be thinking I am terrible to post this picture of him. I have photos of each of my children that are similar. The girls and I pull them out every now and then and laugh. It’s good for them to remember what they put their mom and dad through so they will take care of us when we are old.
So while John cooled off in his room, I took a few minutes to paint my own apple trees. There is something strangely enjoyable and satisfying about painting and coloring even very elementary looking works of art. Brings you back to being a carefree child, I guess. I’m not sure, but it was fun! Here are our apple trees.
When John was feeling better, we decided to try again and make a pumpkin patch using our potato as a stamp. First, John told me about all the colors of the rainbow. Then we talked about mixing colors. We mixed red and yellow to make orange for our pretty pumpkins. He was all smiles.
There are moments like the “meltdown” photo above depicts when I long for the serenity of John’s former nap time. But, all joking aside, now that I have been through this twice before and then witnessed just how quickly those children are hopping on the school bus and in the care of someone else all day, I am able to keep it all in perspective. Sounds cliche perhaps, but I know firsthand how quickly this time when they are “all yours” passes. So, I suppose for now the laundry, the mess, the dishes, the shower, it can all wait. For now we have pictures to paint, trucks and trains to play with, towers to build, books to read, tantrums to overcome and messes to make.