“He didn’t nap at all today. Is there a secret to getting him to sleep?”
“Well, to be quite honest, he has spent most of his life going down for a nap with me or his dad. I mean, sometimes he’ll fall asleep on his own if we ignore him long enough. And sometimes I still breastfeed him at nap? So it could just be that he needs to get used to this new routine. No real secret.”
Wallace started “tiny school” today. That’s what he named it and that is what we shall call it. Technically it’s preschool. It’s childcare 3 days a week. It’s a reprieve from solo parenting while Scott travels for his new job, and it gives me hours in the week that I can set aside for work.
Much of Wallace’s life hasn’t had much of a traditional routine. He napped many naps in national parks on his dad’s back, and even more snuggled under my arm in bed.
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We have parented babies and toddlers on either side of a decade, and those experiences have been so different. Not just because the advancement of technology means I can now get a full report of my 3-year-old’s day in real time on my phone.
Mostly because we are different parents. We are older. We have a lot more going on. We have fewer fucks for toddler-problems bucket because they are all in the middle-school and school-tests and learn-to-read buckets.
So, yeah, our 3 year old went to preschool in diapers, and he doesn’t really know how to do naps without us.
And I truly could not find a care in the world about any of this because he will be fine. It will all be fine.
I am not a laid back parent. I am anxious and jumpy and I care way too much about some things.
Just not these things. Anymore.
Wallace talked about “tiny school” all weekend. He has to wear little polo shirts, and he was so excited that he slept in them on Friday and Saturday night. His tiny-school joy bubbled over– up until the moment he realized this morning that I was going to, like, ACTUALLY DO THIS. I was going to take him there and then I WAS GOING TO LEAVE.
He has spent nearly every day, all day of his whole 3 years on this earth with me or Scott, and many of those days with both of us. So today was a really, really big day for all of us.
He cried while I drove him to school. He cried as I walked him in. The teachers report he cried through a good portion of the morning. The app tells me he didn’t eat breakfast or lunch.
Another iteration of me as a mother in another time would have been a wreck over this, but I guess one of the gifts of my anxiety is coming out of it enough times to know that the things that seem like the end of the world in my head are almost always terrible liars.
Actually, they are always liars. The end of the world has yet to come.
He ate 3 Rice Krispie treats when we got home, right before he passed out at 5 pm for an ill-timed but hard earned 90 minute nap.
When he finally falls asleep at who knows what time tonight, in bed next to me, after a night nursing session, it will be the end of another day with a wonky routine.
But that’s fine.
I’ve done the thing where I worried about routine and times, and potty trained by two, and weaned sooner. And I don’t regret any of that or think those were lesser choices. Because those choices worked out at the time.
But, I no longer hack and time and organize my way through this parenting chapter. My brain can only handle being ok with good enough, with fine, with trusting that doing what feels best is what is actually best. No secret needed.
Don’t worry, though. We’re totally going to work on naps and potty training at home, alongside tiny school. (Because once we master those things he can move in to the older class and that saves us a solid $50/month- and they do legit science experiments and learn Spanish in there!)
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