Structure & Flow


I was at a mom’s dinner the other day when a fellow mama shared a story about how her one year old daughter dozed off in the car for ten minutes, refusing to nap upon arriving home. My dear friend tried relentlessly for the next hour to get her to go back to sleep, with no success. The event ended in tears and frustration, handing the baby over to dad on her last whim. 

We’ve all been there. And if you haven’t, just wait… (insert scared emoji here). We get so stuck in the structure of things that we are determined to no end, to get… that… baby… to… SLEEP!!!

I’ve lived through my friend’s story before and it happened again yesterday, when Wes dozed off, or more like had a spacey several moments in the car just before we arrived home. He was showing all the signs of being ready for his nap but when I took him upstairs, started our routine, he looked up at me and gave me a BIG CHEESY grin.

Now, my mommy and me group and probably every rigid sleep “pro” out there would say “nap time is nap time, not play time” but I just couldn’t help myself. This boy was in the middle of a second wind and I had two options: spend the next however-long-it takes him to get sleepy by rocking, singing, sitting in a pitch dark room, fussing, feeling like a crappy end to a nice awake time for both of us OR go with the flow. I chose option B in risk that stimulation may make it take longer for him to go down again. What the heck…

In response to his cheesy grin, I made tight fish lips, squeaked toward his face and kissed his little nose over and over again.  There we were wrapped up in a kissing game – and it’s become my favorite time to involve in this kind of play as he’s drowsy and acting goofy. His adorable giggle – the kind that comes from the tummy – filled my love tank right up.

About twenty minutes later, he was getting sleepy again, I held him close to my heart, hummed Baby Mine, rocked him gently and got to watch my baby boy close his eyes peacefully without a fight. Not before he looked up to see mommy’s fish lips one more time, he replied with a peaceful giggle and closed his eyes.

My heart melted as he drifted off in my arms. I wrote about this moment in his journal later that night.

Walking down the hall after putting him down, I thought about how differently that could have gone. If I stuck rigidly to our structure/nap time routine, I would have missed this moment entirely. Even worse, I would have spent that time being frustrated and probably have an ugly-cry moment. Wes would have probably cried, too =/.

It was actually a balance of having structure and going with the flow that allowed the moment to happen. The structure lead us to that particular moment, flow is what cultivated it. It was a new way we bonded and helped me feel how light everything can be if I let it. Laughter helped me breathe through what would usually be a frustrating moment of “trying” to get him to nap. 

Where has structure helped you get to a certain point and once there, were you able to give yourself space to go with the flow? Or maybe you're seeing it as a possibility now? I’d love to hear your experience! Please tell me about it in the comments section below!