No Naps for You!

Sleep in the afternoon means bedtime is doomed.

We were on the way home from a Sunday afternoon of pumpkin picking when I realized how quiet the car had become. A glance in the rearview mirror confirmed my suspicions: Tom, 4, and Seth, 2, were passed out, dreaming peacefully of jack o’ lanterns and corn mazes. I smiled, thinking how perfect and sweet they looked in sleep, then mentally bitch-slapped myself. This was going to be bad.

I pulled up in front of the house minutes later, directing all the adults in the car to make as much noise as possible upon disembarking in order to wake up the kids. “We do not want them to stay asleep!” I barked, knowing naps now would wreck the evening’s bedtime ritual. The boys were toted in and plopped on the couch, sagging against each other like two drunks passed out in a Dublin doorway.

And still they slept.

It wasn’t that long ago that we looked forward to our Sunday afternoon naps. Until about six months ago, our mornings involved a peaceful trip to church, followed by a leisurely brunch. Then my husband and I would tuck the kids in tight for their naps, and we’d proceed to take one of our own. A little slice of Sunday heaven.

But now, the occasion of an afternoon nap is a sure sign that bedtime will be impossible. A scant hour of afternoon repose is enough to recharge the batteries of 2- and 4-year -old boys so that they can climb out of bed and slide down the stairs all night, giggling and falling all over each other. It makes tooth-brushing nearly impossible, as little feet wiggle and dance. Afterwards, the nap contributes to the puddles of water on the bathroom floor after three failed attempts at gargling.

We tucked them into bed, stories and all, just to hear the bedroom door open five minutes later and Tom plaintively call down the stairs for his father to bring some water and a snack. Then Seth chimed in, claiming he also needed refreshments. Yo-yo like, Tom bobbed up and down the stairs, checking on my progress in the card game I was playing with Gramma and Pops. When Tom lost interest, Seth popped out of his room, looking for snuggles.

We lounged on the couch a while, cuddled with his soft, velvety head against my cheek, until I began to think that maybe the nap wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Then Seth grabbed a flashlight and proceeded to examine my eyes until I saw spots. I sent him packing back to his crib.

Thanks to naptime, bedtime had stretched more than an hour past its normal conclusion. The kids were wired, and my husband and I were exhausted.

Next time we go pumpkin picking, I’m coming armed with Mountain Dew for the kids.

Article © 2009 by Stacey Duck