Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Cave Explorer

Quite some time ago, when my daughter had just learned to walk, I picked up a set of Childcraft How & Why books at a garage sale. I had no expectations of my daughter being interested in them for several years, but my siblings and I had a set of children's encyclopedias when we were growing up, and I loved them, and was pleased to find such a good set for my own family's library. And so they have been sitting on my daughter's bookshelf ever since.

Recently my daughter became interested in the books. They have colorful pictures and good photographs, and she likes to make up her own little stories about pictures that she sees. She started asking to read these books at bedtime, instead of her usual rhyming books or Winnie-the-Pooh. So we flip through the pages, I point things out to her, she asks questions, we make up stories.

Lately she has had a very difficult time falling asleep at naptime. (Please, please don't let this be the beginning of the end of naptime! I need her naptime!) I'll walk into her room an hour or two after tucking her in, and she'll be wide awake. Sometimes I hear her scrambling to get back into bed as I approach the door, and she'll be sitting there looking perfectly innocent, or will even be feigning sleep (poorly; she tries to snore), but her light will be on, her books scattered across the floor, her humidifier turned on. She doesn't cover her tracks well. For the most part, I'm okay with her "reading" or playing quietly in her room. If naptime evolves into quiet time, that's all right.

Today, an hour and a half into naptime, she started knocking on her door (she can't open it herself; she knocks when she is awake), sobbing. I knew she had not fallen asleep yet, but she doesn't really cry much unless she is hurt or really tired, so I went in prepared for either a minor injury or some time in the rocking chair. Turned out to be the latter. I opened the door and my sobbing two-year-old ran into my arms, holding her encyclopedia, crying, "Mommy, I can't find the stalagmites and stalactites! I can't find them!" Huh. So we sat in the rocking chair, I looked up the "Cave Exploration" pages of her book, we read about stalagmites and stalactites, and I tucked her back into bed.

I hear new parents sometimes ask why no one told them about all the problems they would encounter as parents. I think the answer is simple. Each individual child's crises are unique. Nobody can predict them. Who knew I would ever be called upon to comfort a child who couldn't find her cave formations?

1 comment:

Tiff said...

LOL she's so cute! My son is three and won't take a nap but he loves to "rest" and will play quietly in his room for about two hours while his little brother naps.