What do I do?

I am pretty depressed about it, but I was right: Sam really is done napping. If he has more than a quickie car nap, he does not go to bed at night. If I keep him awake all day (still a struggle as he gets soooo sleepy mid-afternoon, but doable if I am vigilant) he goes to bed easily at a reasonable hour and sleeps better throughout the night. But keeping him awake, and the zero time to myself that goes along with it, is HARD.

I can give him food and a movie and he is pretty happy by himself for an hour, though he prefers for me to sit with him. Still, nine times out of ten I can go downstairs and have a little quality time with my coffee or the internet or whatever. It is never enough time to do any serious writing, but I imagine it could eventually be. I can knit all I like sitting right next to him. But the instant I take out my sewing things, he comes downstairs and literally starts to headbutt my cutting arm.

This is a problem. I have some sewing that I need to get done. Also, I do not like being headbutted. Nor do I like hollering at my kid but it is kind of reflexive. And then he cries because he only wanted some loving from Mama, and then I feel like a monster.

He needs my attention pretty much all day. He wants me to play with him or nurse him or just sit there with him. I am OK with that, since he does usually grant me a little time during a movie. But what do I do if he doesn’t allow me to use that time the way I need to?

Practical suggestions would be SO welcome, but please keep in mind my philosophy of gentle parenting and my $0 budget for childcare.

13 thoughts on “What do I do?

  1. Amadna

    October 20, 2008 at 12:29pm

    In my experience, the easiest way to handle that situation is to find some way for them to help. A two-year-old will be interested for several minutes, then wander off to find something else to do. Jaime helped me “clean” my motorcycle for almost 10 minutes before getting bored last weekend.

    Granted, that’s more difficult with sewing. If you’re actually at the machine, he can help guide the material while you run the pedal, or put the pins back in the pin cushion, or hold the fabric while you cut it, depending on what you think he can handle.

    Amadna’s last blog post..Culmination

  2. Katherine

    October 20, 2008 at 1:16pm

    Play dates? Like, you and some other mama who both sew or knot or whatever get together and the kids play or watch a video and you get to work.

    Or you switch off custody of the children for a few hours a few times a week…

    Neither would be everyday, but this way you get some alone time or work time, and Sam gets to have an adventure.

    Katherine’s last blog post..About face.

  3. Violet

    October 20, 2008 at 1:19pm

    Enforced “quiet time”. It’s not a punishment, it’s a way to learn to entertain yourself! I use it with Mason quite frequently – reminding him that we’re going to spend time apart doing things that we can talk about later. We can read books or we can play with quiet toys or we can lie in bed and look at pictures or whatever.. but we do it quietly and apart. He likes it best for the pleasure of “telling me” about it later..

    Violet’s last blog post..Assortment.

  4. Delle

    October 20, 2008 at 1:23pm

    I have sympathy (and similar things happening here, though we haven’t lost napping entirely yet, just on Thursday). It’s lovely to be needed, but sometimes it just feels so needy. Before small child I didn’t think it was possible to be simultaneously irritated and enchanted by exactly the same thing.

    Delle’s last blog post..Two

  5. nova

    October 20, 2008 at 1:24pm

    No children of my own, so no practical advice, but after reading the first response I just wanted to add that my mom had a home sewing business all through my childhood and worked during the day with me around — no money for a babysitter. That’s exactly how she handled it: she gave me jobs. I remember “sorting” her buttons in her button drawer, a job I really enjoyed as a kid. Also playing with scraps — “organizing” things, “making” my own things out of scraps. Later, I cut threads, etc. I really thought I was helping. I have very fond memories of working with my mom :)

    nova’s last blog post..What I Did on My Staycation

  6. Annika

    October 20, 2008 at 3:00pm

    Nova! You really were helping. I guarantee it. Your mom had the peace of mind of knowing what you were up to, and the ease of not having you make her crazy.

    I managed to get the rest of the project cut out one tiny cut at a time (so annoying) and then Sam helped me by putting his hand on the fabric as it fed through the machine. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! This was too slow to be a long-term solution, but it worked for this project.

  7. Jaime

    October 20, 2008 at 3:54pm

    Glad you found a solution… I was thinking along the same lines as Amadna and Nova… mine love to work alongside of me, although it’s usually in the kitchen since I don’t know how to sew.

    Jaime’s last blog post..Groceries!

  8. B

    October 20, 2008 at 4:07pm

    Definitely, as you found today, finding ways to include him will help you both through the process.

    For cutting – I’ve got Katie convinced that whatever small scraps of fabric leftover from my cutting are hers. So now she stays away from the cutting knowing that I’ll give her a piece as soon as I have one available. And then she has her “own” fabric and generally now she runs off to play with it, making it into a wipe for her doll or food for her doll or something. After five minutes, she’s back saying, “more?” and then I give her another scrap I’ve just cut and off she goes again. And yes, then I have to play “find the fabric scrap” all over the house but that’s no biggie to me.

    Same goes when I’m at the machine. She has to wait just a few minutes and then she can “have” the thread I trim from whatever seam I’ve just sewn. Usually she’s happy to just take it to the garbage for me but if not, she’ll play with it for awhile first.

    While she waits for these trimmings, she usually grabs a toy cup and brings me “coffee” – so the helping thing is the way to go. As long as she feel a part of what I’m doing, she lets me be (within reason).

    B’s last blog post..So this is why they teach higher math

  9. B

    October 20, 2008 at 4:09pm

    (And when I say scrap I mean scrap – teeny tiny pieces that would end up in the garbage anyway. This fabric whore has no fabric to spare.)

    B’s last blog post..So this is why they teach higher math

  10. Grandmere

    October 20, 2008 at 7:43pm

    I agree with VIolet about enforced quiet time. I did that with my kids who outgrew naps before I was ready for them to. They had to “rest quietly” in their rooms for a period in the afternoon, replacing thier naptime. With their dad gone 12 -14 hours/day, I was a better mama for the hour or so of alone time in the afternoon. It gave me time for knitting, sewing, reading or just staring at the ceiling!

    Grandmere’s last blog post..Daily Kos: State of the Nation

  11. Annika

    October 20, 2008 at 8:01pm

    I love the idea of quiet time, and always planned on using it to transition out of naps. But I thought that would be, like, a year from now. And Sam is just not capable of getting the concept yet. Damn it.

  12. Cindy Lou

    October 22, 2008 at 7:04pm

    My big bugaboo with Foster and Emylie was being able to carry on a 15-20 minute phone conversation without constant interruption. I was more conscious of it being a problem for the party at the other end of the line than me…however, it was hard to make appointments, transact, business etc. with the constant demands as soon as I was spotted with a receiver in my hands.

    So…I bought several “special” toys that were kept on top of the fridge and only brought out to be played with when Mommy was on the phone. That doesn’t give you quite an hour for sewing but perhaps some special “mommy’s sewing time toys” might buy you some fabric cutting time that is head butt free.

    Cindy Lou’s last blog post..Red State

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