There is a sound in our house, that I prize more highly above any other.
And no it is not the sound of happy children laughing.
Or the sound of silence.
It is the sound of contented sucking.
Every morning, I put Ava down for her first nap. And it seems, every morning, I am held hostage in my living room until the sound of happy sucking starts.
She is resisting sleep. All my children have, so I don’t know why I’m surprised, but the problem with being number four, is that there is always something interesting going on. (Well interesting for a ten month old at least.)
When Ava goes down for her sleep, no one is allowed in the hallway. Mostly because Bailey and Bridie run up and down it flat out with bags full of goodness knows what, playing some random game, which involves them shouting at the top of their lungs.
The kids need to ask permission to go to the toilet, since Bridie spends her toilet time singing, and even the sound of a running tap can be distraction enough for Miss Ava.
No one is allowed outside. Or rather they can play around the front of the house, but not the back, and if they want to go from the front to the back, they need to go through the house.
I can’t do any washing, since our washing machine is outside, and Ava has a beautiful view of it from her room.
If the dog runs past her window, she won’t sleep. If the cat makes it’s bed on Taylah’s pillow, she will sit there and talk to it. Even people walking through the alley past our house are conversation material to my little sanguine.
We are literally held hostage, and it is beyond a joke.
So when I press my ear quietly to her bed room door, and I hear the sound of thumb sucking coming from her cot, I breathe a sigh of relief. We can start to live again.
The problem is that with four kids, things are never quiet. Every time nap time comes around, someone is invariably in trouble, and screaming from their room after being sent there to get some self control, or they have hurt themselves, and are screaming so as to make sure the entire neighbourhood knows. Bridie is just loud because of all her ear issues, and Bailey is just loud cause he is a boy and he’s two!
I just don’t know what to do. How do I find the balance with giving Ava what she needs, (like a sleep), but not send the message to her and everyone else that she is the centre of the family? You know they say that subsequent children can sleep through anything and be moved around easily without waking up? Not true. Well not in my family at least. It seems the more kids I have, the more social they become.
Now I should take this as a compliment. And I do. Quite often in the car, all the kids (and I) will be singing at the tops of our lungs, and Ava will be dancing and clapping, with this big grin on her face, like she has the most awesome family in the world. (And she does!) But that excitement doesn’t even dissipate for nap time; why sleep when everyone is having fun?
I really have no idea what to do at this point. She was almost asleep when I sat down to write this, and then the kids where playing out the front, and that was enough to encourage her to stay up. We are planning an outing after her sleep, but what happens when she doesn’t sleep?
And I really need to wash the sheets today.
Any ideas anyone? I really am at a complete loss. What do you do?