On Friday, when I got home from work, Q. told me that “there was a situation” at E’s nursery school. When he’d gone to pick E. up that afternoon, the staff had wanted to talk to him about E.’s behavior in the sleep room.
E. hasn’t ever slept while at nursery school, but he has at least been willing to lie on his little cot and be quiet and relax until it was time for him to get up.
Not so on Friday.
E. apparently spent the entire ‘nap/quiet time’ doing headstands, kicking his feet against a cupboard, and getting up and running around.
Not conducive to napping, obviously, for him, but whatever. He’s been coping fine with missing the nap on nursery school days and takes a big nap on the days he’s at home to make up for it. This gives me more time to work, so it’s been a good system.
The problem was E. was now keeping all of the other children from napping too. Plus the staff were ending up understandably frazzled.
“Does he have a toy or something that acts as a sleep cue?” his teacher asked Q.
Well, yes, Q. had to admit. He does. Of course he does. We worked our asses off for months to create a consistent routine with clear sleep cues: a sleep sack, and his special special bunny. I can still remember my mother visiting once when E. was still very little, and I was getting him dressed for bed after his bath, and as soon as I put him in the sleep sack he started yawning and rubbing his eyes. “Look at that!” Mum marvelled. “He knows he’s going to sleep.”
So Q. came home and we talked about it, and we agreed that we would send E.’s 0.5 tog sleep sack to nursery school since it was now too cold for it in our house, but it would be the right weight at nursery school given he stays in his clothes and the building is really warm.
E.’s special special bunny was another matter.
“We’re not sending her,” I said. “All it takes is one day where we forget to bring her home again, and we have the night from hell. What if we forget her on a Friday and we can’t get her back for the whole weekend?” (I will freely admit I was using ‘we’ to appear like a team player, when really I meant ‘you’. Q. isn’t great with remembering fine details and he does the Friday pickup.)
“What about 2.0?” I asked.
We have, you see, a second version of E.’s special special bunny. We purchased her quite some time ago, and then we hit an impasse. Q. wanted to introduce said bunny immediately so that E. got used to her as well, and we would just have both in rotation. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was terribly dishonest, and that E. would be horrified if he eventually realized there were two bunnies and we were just always switching them around on him. So I stalled and prevaricated and after a while it became clear that the moment to secretly introduce 2.0 had well and truly passed as there was no way E. would mistake said pristine bunny (even after I had washed her a few times) for his special special bunny.
Nursery school, however, was a different matter.
This morning, while E. was eating breakfast, Q. and I said we had a surprise. We said that his bunny had heard that he was having trouble sleeping at nursery school, so she’d asked her cousin to come so that E. could have a bunny with him at nursery school, although not, of course, his special special bunny since she wanted to stay at home.
E. seemed intrigued by the idea, and didn’t lose his mind when I pulled out the second bunny. So I packed the bunny and the sleep sack into his backpack, Q. and I crossed our fingers, and off we went.
We have been assuming all along that E. was never going to nap at nursery school. It is a completely different environment: a little bed on the floor instead of a crib, lots of other kids, music, some lights, adults in the room, etc. Given he was such a bad sleeper for such a long time, and he remains very sensitive to changes in his sleep routine, we’d started nursery school with the expectation that he wouldn’t nap on those days.
Turns out we were wrong.
With his sleep sack on and his special bunny’s cousin by his side, E. not only napped at nursery school, he took the longest nap of any of the children. The teachers had to wake him up when it was time to start the afternoon program.
Maybe we should have tried that a bit earlier…