Quick! To the Nap Cave!

If only I could throw on the Bat-Signal every time I see a nap coming on.

This feeling of panic ebbs and flows. I was a total mess in the beginning, constantly confused over whether or not he is (or I swear he was 3 minutes ago!) tired enough for a nap. Eventually, I learned to bounce him for 20 minutes at a time, only to fumble the landing and begin again. Then there was this blissful period where I knew all his signals, and he napped in his crib! exactly on this mysterious schedule that I hear other Moms planning their day around. Last weekend we entered the separation anxiety phase and nap time now involves him screaming bloody murder when I start to lay him in his crib.

Sidenote: I always heard people say that babies change the moment you think you have them figured out. I just didn’t realize that these “changes” don’t simply make you tilt your head and say, “Huh.” These changes are totally and utterly baffling…as in, “Is this even my baby?!”

At any rate…

Once we officially moved Kip into his nursery, I was surprised at how bright the room was even in the middle of the night.

(Yes, I can hear all of you seasoned parents laughing at my optimistic decision to remove blackout shades from our original nursery design). 

In my defense, I wasn’t completely naive. I knew that there were relatively easy ways to darken his room later. This was my backup plan, after all.

I just didn’t expect the need to be so immediate. I was desperate to help him not wake up crying every freaking hour of the night *ahem* transition to his own room.

Let me explain what I meant by immediate. Maybe I should have said: with a step stool, in the dark, at midnight (or was it 2am?), using whatever binder clips I could find, and a twin sheet (we don’t have any twin beds – why do we even own a twin sheet?!).

That’s right. In the wee hours of the morning I created this truly impressive masterpiece:

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Clearly it is hideous. I didn’t care – it was a miracle working wonder in my world.

The sheet needed to be up and ready any time a nap might strike (see above: baffling baby blah blah blah). The shades stayed down and the sheet stayed up “just in case” he managed to momentarily close his eyes.

Yes, I can hear my crazy coming out – just stick with me.

But my masterpiece needed work. The sunshine was still too bright for Kip to nap, yet not letting in enough light to boost my mood. It was completely depressing to hang out in a chronically dim apartment, with a chronically tired baby (and Mommy).

I needed a real solution. I needed a curtain rod, and I needed darker curtains.

My original plan involved hanging a long rod with hardware like this from Home Depot:d88d033e-1f33-46f2-bf06-09fcf6c7de33_400.jpg

I ended up having a lot of trouble finding a long enough rod. Then I started imagining how to get this 9 foot rod home: in a taxi…with the windows down? on the subway? It sounds like an episode of I Love Lucy just waiting to happen.

To further complicate things, nap time is the only time I have my hands free to work on a project…in the nursery where naps are SUPPOSED to be taking place. Oh wait, he’s not napping because there are no curtains! Yikes.

I stumbled across this extra long tension rod from Bed Bath and Beyond, and the reviews made me hopeful that its strength was up to the task! (Bonus: it would ship to my door!).

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I decided that I could always install the extra hardware to make sure it didn’t slip and fall if the day to day tugging from opening and closing proved to be too much to keep it in place.

Now to acquire some curtains!

After having the dull twin sheet hanging in the nursery, I knew I wanted something that made me smile (or at the very least left me feeling hopeful) at the beginning of a nap attempt. You moms know what I’m talking about.

I really wanted a cute pattern – subtle, but cheery. Most importantly, I didn’t want to have to sew them or hem them if at all possible.

My windows are about 60 inches tall and over 109 inches wide. It seemed hopeless I might find ready-made curtains to fit my needs.

My first solution was to look for 2 shower curtains. Standard shower curtains are 72″x 72.” I wanted to be able to easily close the curtains without having to carefully stretch them across the window. This seemed like an ideal solution!

I had trouble finding a shower curtain that was a nice quality fabric, that wasn’t overly busy,  and that didn’t scream “I’m a shower curtain!”

I fell in love with this style at Bed Bath and Beyond. It was a lovely quilted material and simple but interesting, and heavy enough to block out the sunshine. Ultimately, I decided the material was just too heavy to hang two of these on my tension rod.

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I eventually stopped living under a rock realized that 63 inch curtains are widely available. Two standard 44 inch panels wouldn’t be wide enough to span the window and buying four could get pretty expensive, but three panels would give me a few inches to spare!

I had a few baby shower gift cards burning a hole in my pocket, and after a love affair or two with gorgeous patterned blackout curtains from Pottery Barn (see here and here), I decided to be a responsible adult and (for the price of a single Pottery Barn panel) purchased 3 mostly solid navy curtains from Land of Nod .

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Source: Land of Nod

The reviews were helpful and convincing. It sounded like the panels would darken the room, without removing the sunlight entirely. For some reason, I still wasn’t really ready to go full black out.

With the help of a few curtain clips, a step stool, a twist tie (around 2 curtain clips to join the panels on the right side) and an adorable captive audience…

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I managed to hang them in less than 10 minutes!

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I hid the tension rod behind the old valance, and added an Anthropologie hook to tie back the bulkier set of two curtains on the right side.

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They aren’t the “perfect vision” I had in my mind, but they were affordable and most importantly they keep the harshest rays of sunshine out at nap time!

The monogram hook makes me smile every time I open and close the curtains – which is a beautiful gift at the beginning and end of every nap…or attempted nap.

I’m still deciding whether these curtains will be our final sleepy solution. I have a feeling that I’ll cave and go blackout as the days get longer and that sun comes streaming in earlier and earlier.

There aren’t enough monograms or pretty hooks in the universe to make this Momma smile about a 5 am baby wake up call.