Napping. It’s probably second behind sleeping for baby issues that give parents fits. We call it little night-night and hope for the best.

The best rarely happens, though. Take yesterday: after forty-five minutes, she finally fell asleep for her morning nap. At last! Hurrah! I started to leave the room and opened the door (which doesn’t stay open by itself), and c..r..e..a..k… She stirred. She might be up. I held onto what little hope remained. Then – an exuberant MMRRROOWWWW!

I’ve learned not to make eye contact with our youngest cat when she’s in the bedroom and I’m trying to get the baby to sleep. Usually, then, she’ll leave – quietly – with me.

This time, no eye contact. It didn’t matter.

The baby was up.

I gave up. Baby and I went to the hardware store and bought some graphite, then we stopped at the grocery store. We came home and ate lunch, and I fixed the hinge before her afternoon nap (her one nap of the day yesterday), which lasted two hours and twenty minutes. Miraculous! Silence can be a wonderful, wonderful thing.

And I discovered that anew this morning. After two days of no morning nap, I thought I’d try one more time. She should be tired. She’s a baby. She’s eleven months old, exactly. We read stories (including one of her favorites, Always, by Ann Stott, illustrated by Matt Phelan), and she wiggled. She tried to gnaw the buttons on the pillows. She fidgeted. She stood up and grabbed the headboard and sidled sideways. She crawled towards the end of the bed. She lost interest in nursing and wanted to look at books. She wriggled.

It was, again, a trying time. I put her in her crib. She stood, I laid her down. Reread this last sentence about a half a dozen times, then go to the next sentence. Finally, I thought, I’ll just put her in her crib and leave and see what happens. I don’t go for the crying thing, so I’m not prepared to wait a long time. No crying. No crying. No crying.

I had to look. Was she sleeping? Had she somehow hurt herself and couldn’t cry? (How quick we parents can be to panic!) I peeked, and there she was, asleep, in her crib. I’ll just go in and cover her up, I thought; her feet were bare, and I didn’t want her to be cold. I entered, and the door was blessedly silent. The cat stayed out of the room. Then my ankles creaked, she stirred, I dropped to the ground – and like a parent catching a kid sneaking in late, she caught me as she stood in her crib and looked accusingly through the bars at her ridiculous mama hunkered down beside the bed. Whom was I kidding?

Why can’t I let well enough alone?

For the second miracle of the day, I laid her down again, I patted her, and left. She fretted for a bit and did her rolly-toss-herself-around-the-crib thing, and silence.

This time, I’m staying out.