Thursday, 22 May 2014
The unmapped nap
I've always resisted using the car to get my little ones to sleep. I prefer to use it as little as possible anyway - using foot or pedal power whenever we can. But with Quinn at kindy two days a week, he needs sleep more than ever on the days I have him home. And he just wasn't getting any with his baby sister climbing all over him in our bed wanting to play. A week or so into the school year I realised I could either become a slave to my children's sleep routines, or let them sleep in the back seat while I got out of the house and explored the south coast. I chose the latter.
Thea would have a big morning sleep while Quinn and I got jobs done around the house and garden, played in the sandpit or read stories on the verandah, then after lunch we all climbed in the car and headed off down gravel roads to sandy beaches where I swam while the two of them slept. I left the map folded in the glove-box and navigated by chance down dusty back roads, past farms and forests to swimming holes in sluggish rivers. Sometimes Quinn would wake up and join me in the water. Sometimes I would get caught out by roadworks; like the time they laid new asphalt 20 minutes before the school siren while I was still 20km from town. "You're always late!" the big kids protested when I arrived ten minutes late to an empty school carpark. I tried to circle closer to home after that.
We made the most of our summer days, and now that they have gone we have found a new rhythm. Thea dropped her morning sleep before her first birthday and now we all climb into bed together after lunch, read a few books and doze to the sound of the rain drumming down on the roof. Quinn likes to make a nest for himself in a corner of the loungeroom, where he beds down amongst the cushions with a bowl full of almonds and sultanas. I find him there snoring gently when I creep back out to knit, or read, or write. He will be four in a few weeks' time and soon he probably won't be needing the rest. But that hour or two of quiet each day feeds my soul. And I am happy to get it in whatever form I can.