M. decided not to nap on Tuesday. We attempted to put her down six times over the course of the day. Only two were successful, and each of those turned out to be very brief naps. The process of getting her down for what should have been her morning nap but turned into a midday nap ended up being magic, though.

After two attempts, S. was spent and was trying to get a nap of her own on the living room couch. I got M. out of her crib and took her into our bedroom. We laid on the bed, and for the next 45 minutes had great fun. She never tried to get off the bed, she just rolled around until eventually we were lying with our heads at the foot of the bed. She decided she wanted to bite my hand. She would grab my thumb with one hand, my little finger with the other, and start pulling it towards her face. Her mouth stretched open showing her eight, fierce little teeth. I applied just enough resistance to make her strain. As she fought laughter, she bared her teeth further and stuck her tongue out in strain. I’d let her pull my hand all the way to her mouth, then pull it back. She’d double her efforts, which caused her legs to shoot up into the air as she tried to gain leverage. We continued this tug-of-war for at least five minutes before she gave up. Then, she tried to bite my nose, which was harder to avoid.

Next came grabbing daddy’s glasses, which is fun for her but not for daddy. By the time she grew tired of that game, my lenses were smearing and nasty. She had bananas for breakfast. Next, she spent ten minutes pinching, scratching, and flicking my nose, lips, cheeks, and ears. This is tolerable until she gets those sharp little nails against something tender.

I don’t know if it’s just my kid, but she gets more ticklish as she gets more tired. I was making bear sounds and pawing at her when she let loose her Tickle Me laugh. A dad can’t ignore a signal like that, so I went in for the kill, tickling her ribs while I tried to give her raspberries on her neck. Gasping laughter as she tried to get away from me. I’d let up for a second so she could catch her breath, but she would immediately do something to provoke me. No parent can resist the laughter of their child when it is being tickled. Soon we were both laughing like idiots.

Eventually she was laying on her back with two pillows surrounding her, me with my head on one of the pillows. She stared up at the ceiling fan, eyelids slowly drooping. Finally, they fell shut, her mouth slid open, and her breathing deepened. 15 minutes later, I woke up and carried her into her crib where she finally napped. That, my friends, is a great way to spend a morning with your daughter.

During one of the gaps between attempted naps in the afternoon, I stood in our entryway while she peered down at me from the bannisters outside our upstairs bedroom. She began dropping her smallest stuffed animals at me, which I immediately threw back to her. This back-and-forth went on for about ten minutes until she disappeared. I heard her making a strange noise; not noises of distress but as if she was trying to keep something secret. I crept up the stairs softly, carefully stretched over the gate at the top of the stairs, and tip-toed into her room. I couldn’t see her, but she was still make the same periodic noises, now with more urgency. Last week, she had been disappearing into the corner behind her crib where she would wait until we said, “Where’s M.?” before leaping out and laughing. I headed for this corner. But rather than peeking around the edge, or announcing my presence, I stretched my body across the crib and looked over the top into the space between it and the wall. She was pressed against the crib frame, leaning forward, peering around the corner, waiting for me to appear. I stifled my laughter and after hearing her anticipatory squeals getting the better of her, finally said the magic words: “Where’s M.?” She jumped, looked up, and shrieked with delight all at once. Another fantastic moment with the girl. Makes up for the very nasty diaper I had to change earlier in the day.