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I see you sneaking toward the door, tippy toeing so I don’t hear you. I see you getting farther and farther away, and I don’t like it. I forbid you to go. Sure, it starts with just one day off, but I know how quickly it escalates and you’re going to want more and more time off, until this vacation is permanent and I’ve completely lost my mind.

So, what do you need? Tell me, and I’ll make sure I do it. I’ll appreciate you more. I won’t take you for granted. I’ll remember to say thank you every time you give me long enough to get a post or two written, along with some laundry and maybe just maybe long enough to empty the dishwasher. You and I were the best of friends, that’s why this hurts so badly – you wanting to leave.

Sydney is only two. She still needs you. Remember that tantrum she kicked off in the middle of the grocery store the other day. That was fun. Remember how fast we hustled to get the hell out of there before one more person gave us the look? You know the “Someone needs a nap, don’t they!” look.

Little did I know that you weren’t at home waiting for our return. I couldn’t have been more disappointed. I thought we had a deal. I get the tantrums until we make it home and then you take Sydney for a few hours so I can get some work done. But you thought, let’s just play hide and seek for a while. Let’s tell Sydney about all the way cool toys she could be playing with right now instead of you. That’s a mean little game you’re playing.

You’re getting closer and closer to Dinnertime and now Bedtime thinks it can get away with stuff too. Like playing the “more kisses” game. I’ll admit that I do kind of like it when I’m the recipient of more kisses. But after Sydney needs “just one more kiss” every two seconds and it goes on and on without an end in sight, at some point I have to put my foot down and tell Bedtime who the boss is.

So, you see it’s not just you. I need both of you to work together. You make sure Sydney makes it to bedtime with crashing in a cranky heap on the floor (preferably not the grocery store floor again), and Bedtime will take over for the long shift until morning. Don’t think I didn’t notice Bedtime shirking its job. We’re going to have words if she keeps taking off an hour from the beginning of her shift and an hour from the end. She knows how much I need her too. Otherwise, I’m the cranky heap on the floor and trust me when I say, ain’t nobody got time for that. It’s more than Sydney who needs me.

I have two other kids and a husband who need me awake to handle homework, baths and showers and the nightly routine of ushering kids up the stairs on the endless march toward pajamas and teeth brushing and picking out clothes for the morning. Sometimes, I think Bedtime likes to mess with me big time. She’s a real prankster. She likes to whisper in my kids ears, “Hey, remember that spot on your leg you bumped two weeks ago, tell your mom it hurts” or “Let’s play a game of ‘guess what body part suddenly itches’” or my least favorite game of all “sleep or no sleep” in which she picks one or both of my older children and convinces them she’s not coming tonight. That is the FREAKING WORST!

No matter how many times I tell Hannah or Jay that Bedtime is coming, they just don’t seem to get it. Then sometimes they worry that they won’t be able to sleep like it’ll just stop coming around and they’ll be up all night. Even though I tell them that Sleep comes for us all, the tricky part about sleep is to trust she’s coming without ever actually expecting her visit. The longer we watch and wait for her arrival, the longer it takes for her to get here. She’s a drop by type of friend. She doesn’t ever want you to go to the trouble of waiting on her. I think it makes her feel guilty or something.

But I’ve gotten off track, this is about you Naptime. I know I can’t make you stay forever. I’m so grateful you stayed with Hannah as long as you did. Quitting a mere two weeks before the start of Kindergarten. I must say I was impressed with your work ethic with that one. With Jayden I had to ask you to leave when he was three because Bedtime was so fickle on the days you were working and since she’s under permanent contract I couldn’t fire her, so you know it wasn’t personal me letting you go.

But Sydney is just two and she still needs you so much. Truthfully, I might need you a little more than she does. I can’t get all the work done that I need to if you leave. I need you to stick around one more year at least, more would be great, but I know not to book you that far in advance. I know so many other families need you too.

But Naptime, not so fast. No, sneaking out the back door. Promise me that when you’re ready to go, you’ll meet with me face to face. You’ll give me a chance to plead my case. Because you see Naptime, it’s just so hard to make it through the day without you! You need to give me time to adjust. I know nobody ever told me just how hard this parenting thing would be, but I also know nobody ever said it would be easy either. In case you do decide to silently slip away without a goodbye, “thank you!” You have made my job infinitely easier and I won’t ever forget you.

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama is the author of “So, You’re Broke? 18 Drama-Free Steps To A Richer Life.” She can be found writing for The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent when she’s not busy caring for her three adorable kiddos. Her work can also be found on The Huffington Post, Money Saving Mom, Mamapedia and Worshipful Living.

We all know that getting an appropriate amount of  sleep is important for the health of your child. But, what you may not know is how many health conditions are tied to sleep. A new report this week found that lack of sleep may be linked to childhood obesity. “The researchers  found that daytime naps are not an adequate substitute for lost nighttime sleep in terms of preventing obesity. The study included 1,930 U.S. children, ages 1 month to 13 years, who were divided into two groups — younger (ages 1 month to 59 months) and older (ages 5 to 13 years). Data on the children was collected at the start of the study (baseline) in 1997 and again in 2002 (follow-up).” How many hours of sleep do your children average a night?

After taking our 3 month old out to the west coast to meet his 3 cousins and assorted aunts, uncles, and grandparents, we now have a little guy who is exhibiting different sleep patterns than before the trip. Whether this was caused in some way by the time zone shift or is simply another changing pattern, we’re struggling with it right now. My partner and I have different views on how to handle this development, which entails waking up more frequently, with more crying episodes.

She is favoring The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley, while I’m leaning toward a more cut and dried approach, which she distainingly refers to as “Ferberization,” as in “I will not Ferberize my baby.” But Richard Ferber is not quite as heartless as those who haven’t fully read up on his method might suppose.

Win a free Parent Guide book!
Do you have a story about your child’s sleep situation that is interesting or horrifying or hysterical or helpful? Post it in a comment. The staff here at Hudson Valley Parent will pick the comment that stands out most, and we’ll send you a copy of The Smart Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, Accidents: Expert Answers to the Questions Parents Ask Most. Whew. That’s a long title! The rules are simple. Post your comment before 4pm Monday, March 8th. Facebook users, please click to our wordpress blog and comment there. The winner will be announced Tuesday morning, with instructions on how to contact us to claim your prize.

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