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Quiet Time - A One Act Play

In my life, no naps = loss of sanity. I don't mean that I need a snooze (although that would be nice), I'm talking about my three and five year old taking naps. My five year old hasn't napped for a year or so, and just this past year, my three year old stopped taking naps too. Since then, she lives in a perpetual state of tiredness. And I live in a perpetual state of tension.

I'm a stay-at-home-working mom. In addition to my mothering duties, I freelance for my local paper. I've tried to morph nap time into Quiet Time so I can get things done - conduct interviews, write stories, or catch up on bills; pretend I'm going to do the dishes, maintain my sanity, etc.

If Quiet Time were a play, it would go something like this:

Characters: Me, the frustrated mom; Hannah, the three year old with an adorable yet sometimes piercing voice; and Kenzie, the five year old who sends Hannah to do her bidding and sometimes finds pleasure in teasing her.

As the curtain opens, Quiet Time has just started.

Me: Sighing with relief and looking for some comfort food in the kitchen before settling down to work.

Offstage, a door opens.

Me: Gritting teeth and rolling eyes, waiting for the request.

Hannah: Mommy, I need a drink.

Me: Fine Hannah, come and get a drink. Hides cookie and gives Hannah a drink.

Me: Firmly, Okay, sweetie, now it's quiet time. That means you stay in your room and be quiet. Go on. Don't come out again.

Hannah: Okay.

Me: Grabs cookie and drink and heads for the computer, ready to call an interviewee for a story. Begins asking questions and typing. The sound of a door opening causes widened eyes and obvious discombobulation.

Hannah: Mommy, mommy.

Me: Silently shaking head furiously and trying to type.

Hannah: Insistently, Mommy, mommy. Will you help me put this dress on my doll?

Me: To the interviewee, Ummm, will you excuse me? Sets phone down, walks Hannah to her room and hurries and pulls the dress on the doll. Is obviously flustered. Hannah! Do not come out! It's quiet time and mommy is on the phone. You're going to be in trouble.

Hannah: Okay mommy. The door shuts.

Me: Finishes the interview and begins organizing notes and typing a story. Suddenly, a loud burst of hurt and angry crying emanates from the bedroom.

Kenzie: Crying pitifully, Mom! Hannah pulled my hair and kicked me!

Me: That's it! Hannah you go downstairs. Kenzie you stay here. You cannot have quiet time together!

Hannah: NOOOOOOOOO! I want quiet time with Kenzie.

Me: Apologize to your sister. Why did you do that Hannah?

Hannah: Kenzie took my dolly.

Kenzie: She started it.
Me: Argghhhh! Let's go. Hannah, downstairs.

Hannah: Sobbing uncontrollably. I'm sorry mommy, I'm sorry Kenzie. I don't want to go downstairs.

Me: Fine. One more chance. But if you guys keep fighting you can't have quiet time together.

I return to my desk, angry, frazzled and dejected.

The End

Quiet time is a mess. I guess my first problem is that quiet time is too long. Two hours is obviously too long to expect them to entertain themselves (or is it?). I've also found that sometimes in mothering, if I revise my expectations, things go more smoothly because I feel less stressed. I don't want to let go of Quiet Time, but I'm not sure how to make it a less stressful experience. (Why wasn't this addressed in 3 Nephi?) I just need to figure out something better.

How do you handle no more naps? What strategies do you employ to get things done?

Amateur Steph is still trying to figure out this mom-gig. As soon as she figures it out, she expects it will change, especially since she is expecting a baby in June. She keeps a family journal/narcissitic blog at Everyone's Excited and Confused.

Photo by Stephanie

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