Around the time she turned two, Natalie discovered that she could often slightly delay naptimes by throwing big old hissy fits and whining until I wanted to give myself a lobotomy with a dull kitchen knife. And I don't even have a medical degree.
Lucky for me, I am more determined than she is, and Natalie always ended up in bed, whether she liked it or not. I needed that naptime to unwind just as much as she needed it to sleep.
After witnessing one of these stalling tactics during an early afternoon visit, my former boss suggested that I try using the kitchen timer as an alarm clock of sorts to signal naptime. I dubiously agreed to give it a try.
I tried it the next day.
"See?" I told Natalie as I wound the timer for 15 minutes or so. "When the timer dings, it will be naptime and we will have to go upstairs."
"The dimer?" She eyed it curiously and then ran off to play.
When the timer exploded with noise 15 minutes later, its shrill dings reminding me that a two hour break from mothering had arrived, Natalie had forgotten our little conversation and attempted to talk me out of taking her upstairs.
"I'm sorry." I said solemnly. "But the timer rang."
I said it meaningfully, shrugging my shoulders.
"Oh, okay." she replied, turning towards the stairs in resignation.
Clearly, the timer is to be obeyed.
Natalie is 3 1/2 now, and Michaela Byrd is 19 months old. We still use the timer every day. When it dings, they usually jump in shock and run off, but I always remind them that there won't be time for a story if they hide.
Along with this blog, that cheap little timer from Target has been my sanity saver!
If you have kids, you know how few and far between free time can be for a mom. After a morning of changing diapers, washing sippy cups, reading the Berenstain Bears to two little bookworms, and picking up an endless stream of Fisher Price Loving Family toys, I am ready for that timer to go off.
The timer is like one of those old-timey factory whistles that signals the end of my shift. I can sit in peace, eat my late lunch, check up on my favorite blogs, and wash the dishes without someone hanging on my leg crying "Up! Up!"
There are days that I want to count the seconds down with that timer. And there are days that I set it back another few minutes so we can enjoy some more play time.
I think that the kitchen timer rivals the wheel in greatest invention status.
I'd finish this post, but the timer just rang, and I have to go finish my book.
The timer tolls for me....