Sleeping at the fair
Sleeping at the fair

I’m inspired. I just read a sweet post over on the Mothers in Medicine blog  that made me smile. It’s written by a pathologist, titled Stop and Smell The Roses Baby . She describes how she looked forward to her infant’s naptime as the only time she could get a little workout in, or reading, anything, an hour of “personal” time. But one day, he wakes early and cries to be held, and she finds herself feeling annoyed… then, as he falls asleep in her arms, she just stops and realizes what a perfect moment it is.

It reminded me of an outing with Babygirl a few weeks ago. We were visiting friends on an island off of Cape Cod, and they invited us to a fair. This was a small, quaint version of a state agricultural fair, with everything from an oxen pulling competition and a live bluegrass band to local gourmet food booths and cheesy carnival rides. There was a textile tent set up with friendly alpacas and fuzzy sheep, and a yarn spinning activity for kids; a real live blacksmith crafted metal sculptures nearby. Gorgeous heirloom chickens and angora rabbits and sleek horses had won blue or red ribbons. An entire barn was filled with entries for the best: quilts, pies, flower arrangements, all manner of produce, even best sunflower.

But before we even arrived, Babygirl had fallen asleep in my arms, conked out, a victim of late bedtimes and summer sun.

There’s so much to do and see! She’ll love this place! I thought. I tried jostling her, then tickling, even bouncing her around a little, but she was in a deep, deep sleep.

It was way too sunny and hot to stay in the car in the parking area, so I decided to just carry her around.

She’s little for an almost-five-year-old, about thirty-six pounds or so. Still, as I discovered, that’s alot of weight when it’s almost ninety degrees out. I tagged along with our friends for awhile, but soon, they found me a bench where I could park myself with sleeping beauty.

I was also sort of annoyed, at first. Here we were, on this cool island at this once-a-year affair, and she’s got to go and fall asleep. Geez.

But then. Of course, I looked down and saw this little face, completely peaceful, dreaming away…. despite a live auction, a brass band, a loud balloon clown, crowds of families and kids, and merry-go-round music, all around us.

Babygirl is actually a champion napper. Not that she has ever taken regular, predictable naps. It’s that when she does nap, she is absolutely unarousable. Nothing will wake her, until some sort of invisible spell is lifted and then she’ll sit up, all touseled-hair-and-blinking-eyes cuteness, reach up and say in her best baby voice: Mama, come sit with me.

So there we were, sitting on that hard bench, my left arm starting to cramp up, my back in spasm, and she was going into her second hour of slumber…

That’s when I took the photo. There’s my girl, my preschooler, sleeping in my lap, as she very rarely does anymore. She’s growing up. She wants to see the Taylor Swift documentary and she invents silly songs about forest animals that she shouts along to disorganized piano banging and painfully out-of-tune guitar twanging. (And she orders me to take video.) She likes to wear ALL of her jewelry at the same time and ride her pink bike and she’s never, ever, not even once eaten meat. She loves to cuddle the kittens at the shelter, even the ones that are sort of feral and clingy-clawy, and when she gets scratched she says It’s OK, they didn’t mean it. She throws spectacular temper tantrums and will declare that I am The Worst Mama In The World while screaming, stomping and crying, and then she’ll turn around and tearfully announce I need a hug! and collapse against me until I pick her up.

Yup, she’s my girl. Not a baby anymore. Naps in my lap will be few and far between from here on out…  It’s an important lesson, to enjoy these moments.