Saturday, October 23, 2010

Realizing goals as I go along

This afternoon Mark was in charge of River and I was supposed to be off. I heard him wake River up from his nap after only an hour of sleep. I could tell from River’s cry (normally he gets up cheery and talkative) that he was still exhausted. I felt a pang in my heart that he should have to get up when he’s still tired. Perhaps I could relate, since I was in bed taking my own nap, and also resented being woken up. I thought River would be crabby all evening as a result.

When I went into his room and urged Mark to go do his errand without River, River’s head fell onto my shoulder and I knew he was still tired. I sang him a song and told him I’d put him back in his crib with some cars and books, for quiet time. I wasn’t sure he’d fall back asleep after such an awakening, but at least he could have a little time to transition alone to wakefulness. I don’t think he touched the cars or books and we woke him up an hour and a half later.

The pain I felt at him possibly being forced to get up when he wasn’t ready made me realize that it’s quite important to me to have a well-rested child. That wasn’t a goal I set out with when I became a parent. But it’s one that over time has assumed importance.

River having adequate rest has benefits for us. It means we have more down time and that when he’s awake, our job is easier because he’s generally in a good mood. I also know that research points to adequate rest as having all kind of implications for learning and intellectual development. But mostly, I think I just appreciate how nice it is to wake up fully rested and to greet the day prepared. It’s no fun to slug through a day. River will have plenty of time to experience that in his life. As long as I can, I’d like to protect him from demands that cut into his sleep and let him enjoy the world on his schedule.

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