Apparently napping is bad for 2 year olds now*. Who knew? Our son clearly knew, because he never bloody sleeps during the day anymore anyway. Gave it up months ago, just refused to go to sleep and turned into an overemotional blob of whining after 5pm.

*I know that’s not what the study actually says, but it’s fun to use hyperbole.

These days (and we worked on this in Sleep School), we have “rest time” or “recharge time” at home. The Lad stays in bed for up to 3/4 of an hour, and if he goes to sleep well and good. If he doesn’t, at least he’s had some downtime. It’s working for now, and every 3rd or 4th day he actually does sleep. God help us all if he oversleeps…..

Once a week he has a daycare day with a local family day-carer. She’s wonderful, knows The Lad well and provides excellent care to him. She’s wonderful, and we’re lucky to have found her. But The Lad was having a lot of issues with, you guessed it, sleep.

He was refusing to nap at daycare, all the usual tricks weren’t working, and he was disturbing the other kids. Now daycare naps are about a bit more than just the children getting some sleep, they’re also about giving the educator time to pack up and do paperwork (observations) for the day. So our boy making a ruckus, crying and disturbing the others was creating such a headache that for a bunch of sessions The Mamanator was called on to collect him, where she’d have to deal with the meltdown and the ruckus until I got home from work.

It wasn’t easy, and it was getting to the point where we were going to give up on daycare, which would have been a bad outcome.

The our son’s day-carer shared a little pearl of wisdom. The kind of wisdom you get from years of working with many pre-schoolers of all kinds of dispositions. She asked if he had a teddy of some kind, then she asked The Mamanator if she had a shirt or top we could send with him next time, and the two agreed it was a good idea.

Now I was there in the room that afternoon collecting the boy with the pair of them. I thought about mornings Mornings somewhere between 5:15 and 6:00am) our boy trundles into our room, bleary eyed. Seeks me out, waits for me to pull him into bed and burrows into my armpit and sleeps for another half an hour to an hour.

Before, when he was coming into our bed earlier than that, he would always seek me out, same thing.

This thought bubbled away in my head for a few seconds as they kept talking.

But then the bubbles popped and I realised what was wrong with this picture.

“Maybe it should be my shirt?”
“What?”
“Maybe we should send The Lad with my shirt?”
“Oh, okay.”
“Well he usually sleeps on me”
“Yeah”

Fast forward to 3 weeks later and the stinky shirt is a hit. It’s used not only to keep him settled for rest time, but he asks for it when he’s upset. He even said “Daddy smell makes me feel better”. I may have choked up a bit when I heard that story.

And there it was, the power of man-stink. As distinct from woman-stink (The Mamantor won’t mind me calling it that). So dad’s out there, don’t underestimate the power of those hugs, those nuzzles and those naps together. Your bond is probably stronger than you think.

Postscript:

Apparently this worked on The Mamanator too when I had to spend a few weeks away when she was 8 months pregnant with The Lad. She spent a lot of time in my t-shirts (eating Hungry Jacks and watching The West Wing).

Postpostscript:

The cats like my stinky shirts too, one of them is currently rolling around in the shirt I wore jogging today…. Blech.