Today's baby-inspired Country & Western number is entitled "You Can Pretty Much Forget About That Nap, Sweet Mama ('Cause I Just Fell Asleep in the Car)."

Before Lucy came along, I didn't have a lot of parenting absolutes. I read all the books, I listened to all the advice, I nodded in the right places, while secretly deciding that once the baby arrived I'd see how the two of us did together, and try not to set the bar too rigidly or too high.

The one exception was bedtime.

I didn't want to get into a situation where I had a baby staying up until ten, eleven o'clock, midnight or beyond. I wanted the baby to sleep at a reasonable hour, preferably in her own crib, and, within reason, stay there until the morning.

So far, we've done okay with nighttime sleeping. Lucy gets bathed, she gets fed, she rocked, she gets a few renditions of "Hippos Go Berserk" (which, upon reflection, might not be quite the thing to be reading right before bedtime), she gets her kisses and her passy, and then down she goes.

Sometimes she falls asleep instantly. Sometimes she fusses around and has to be picked up and soothed and sung to a little more before eventually drifting off.

Her recent trick is to look like she's sleeping, and flip herself over about ten minutes after I'm out of the room, and then lie there on her belly getting increasingly outraged and shrill until someone comes and turns her over.

Sometimes she sleep through until six a.m.. Sometimes she'll wake up at 1 a.m. or 3 (or both) because she needs her passy reinserted, or her blanket readjusted, or because she just wants to know that somebody's there at her beck and call.

But by and large, the night sleeping's going okay.

Naps, however, are a different story.

She'll usually go back to sleep after the 6/7 a.m. feeding. We'll usually walk in the mornings and she'll fall asleep in the stroller.

And at some point in the afternoon, she'll sleep anywhere from forty-five minutes to an hour and a half.

Trouble is, I have no idea of knowing when -- or where -- that nap will happen. So we're basically playing Nap Roulette. Will it be one o'clock? Will it be five? Will it be in the stroller on the way home from yoga, or will she conk out in her crib?

I never know. And lately I've been thinking it would be better for all of us -- me, the baby, Jamie, Queen of All Nannies -- if I actually had some sense of when in the afternoon she'd be sleeping. Plus, I just learned that babies her age are supposed to be getting about fifteen hours of sleep each day, which made me even more determined to get her napping on a more regular, lengthy basis.

So lately, I've been trying to do what I do at night -- pull the shades, turn out the lights, sing, rock, tell her she's going to have a little sleep and wake up rested and refreshed, then tuck her in to her crib and hope for the best.

It's been working....sort of. Sometimes. Today, it didn't work at all.

We drove out to the King of Prussia Mall where I got new clothes and Lu and I ogled the goods at Oililly. She started to get fussy on our way to the car...and, once in her carseat, she conked out.

It was only a thirty-minute ride home, so I figured girlfriend had a lot of nap in her when we arrived back at the ranch at 4:30 or so.

Well. Not so much.

Up in the crib, we had the whimpering. We had Riverdance (that's where Lucy pins her arms to her sides and kicks her feet like she's doing a jig with Michael Flatley). We had the Scream of I Am Inconsolable. We had the Wail of I Have Flipped Myself Over and Cannot Get Onto My Back and You Must Come Help Me Right Now.

And, most frustrating of all, we had the Hi Mom! beam of recognition every time I went in to soothe her. It was a gorgeous, perky, beautiful smile. It was a smile that said "I am TOO EXCITED to go to sleep!"

I eventually gave up and took her downstairs.

Maybe it was the mall -- lots of people, lots of noise. But I think that the thirty-minute catnap in the carseat was to blame. And I'm going to need to figure out what to do. I'm thinking I might just need to try to be home every day between three and four, and get her used to that being her naptime....or else just deal with her napping in her carseat or stroller, and the consequences of that, which means no afternoon nap (and no time for Mom to pay bills, empty the dishwasher, take a shower, etc).

Oh well.

Meanwhile, we had a social occasion on Sunday -- a baby shower! And La Lu's first toddler encounter.

The toddler in question was this gorgeous, inquisitive two-year-old, who decided that Lucy was just the neatest thing she'd ever seen.

Which was fine, until it came time for a feeding.

I was sitting in the living room with the baby in my arms when the toddler arrived, checked out the action, saw that both of my hands were full, and proceeded to pull every single item out of Lucy's diaper bag.

Out went the diapers. The wipes. The diaper cream. The wrist wrattle. The burp cloths. The board books.


"Well, you can read them while we're here, but Lucy will want to take them home with her."

Puzzled glance from toddler.


"Hey, I've got an idea! Why don't you show Lucy some of your toys?"

Puzzled look number two, followed by toddler's retreat into living room, bearing Lucy's books and shouting "MINES!"

And then Lucy had a total meltdown in the car on the way home. I think it was because she realized that none of the wonderful baby gifts the honoree had unwrapped made it into the car with us. I could just imagine what she was thinking...."Note to self: learn to say MINES!"