The Quiet TIme That Wasn't

The day I've long dreaded is nigh.

My children have outgrown their naps.

In an act of denial or defiance or perhaps just delusion, I've battled to keep the afternoon hours sacred by instituting "quiet time."

But alas, I fear I've toiled in vain. Quiet Time Creep has reached new lengths, stealing the parse remains of the peaceful hours minutes.

You think I'm exaggerating, don't you? But have you noticed how very little writing is going on around here? Just another casualty of the Great Quiet Time Offensive of 2011.

Let's consider Monday's events, when Caed had a day off from school. At 1:30, I sent the kids to their rooms for Quiet Time. Caed began the hour by "making art projects". Which was quiet only when he wasn't coming downstairs a dozen times to ask for spelling assistance or to borrow the stapler.  Not to mention, it was disastrously messy. After he tired of making projects (and being told to go back upstairs), he donned his old karate uniform and played "ninja spy". Which was cute until he snuck up on me. Fourteen times. The surprise diminished just a bit as the game wore on.

And after every time he "surprised" me he'd want to talk (very un-ninja-like, don't you think?) about how surprised I was or wasn't. Followed by an invitation to watch this! and did you see that! Which again, might be terribly endearing if I didn't have my own agenda for these precious quiet time hours. Like, say, to make soup and fold laundry while I listened to the rest of Kerouac's On the Road on my iPod.

Anyway, during the Quiet Time That Wasn't, Dani actually fell asleep playing in her princess tent. Which meant of course that it would be 9:30 before she would fall asleep in her bed that night.

For the last half hour of quiet time, I fielded questions from Caed about when quiet time would be over, when we could wake up Dani, whether I could start filming his "movie" (the one he's making for Dani to watch while he's playing the much anticipated After-School Sports, so she has something to do and doesn't feel too badly that she's not old enough to play Soccer and Basketball and Capture the Flag.) And so on.

Now I know I could dig in my heels and get terribly strict about staying in rooms and playing without Mommy's participation. But now that their verbal and reasoning skills are stronger, it's getting much harder to give them the "be quiet and go back to your room" line.

For example.

"Mom, you're gonna love this project. But it's a surprise until after Quiet Time. But can you tell me how to spell wonderful?"

"W.o.n.d.e.r.f.u.l. Okay, Bud, this is quiet time. You are not to come down from your room until I come get you."

"I know, but I just want my project to be perfect because it's for yoooouuuu, and when I'm working on it, I just miss you. Can I just sit at the table and do my project?"

"No, sitting at the table doesn't count as quiet time. You need to stay in your room."

"Okay. But I'm just so lonely up there, and I want to be with youuuuuuu. I promise I'll do my project reeeeaaly quietly."

See? After all that, what kind of heartless mother tells her kid to get lost and go finish quiet time?

Um, yeah, that would be me.

It may be a losing battle, but I will fight for peace (and quiet) until the last ninja yells.

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