I wish once and awhile, someone would come over to my office and demand that I take a nap. I mean seriously, how sweet would that be, right? Well, in the toddler/pre-school kids world this is the ultimate insult…apparently.
I really don’t like trying to get my child to nap because he acts as if when I say “Nap time” I’m really saying: “I’m about to skewer your eyeball and it’s going to hurt like nothing you’ve ever felt before!”
I try to reason with him (can you “reason” with a 4 year old?) by saying nice and kind things like: “MJ, I’m doing this for your own good. Seriously I’m not trying to make your life miserable…I simply want you to be able to go to clubs tonight without being a tired, cranky ball of mess”.
This line of reasoning hits a wall and the wailing begins. So, I lay with him attempting to get him to shut his eyes. This is where I learn his sly tricks of keeping himself awake. First, he tries talking to himself. He describes what Batman looks like and then immediately jumps into a super-hero narrative of how Batman is going to crush the bad guys. He then acts out his narrative…all in an attempt to stay awake. I’ll admit, his resourcefulness is quite impressive and his ability to narrate a story takes on new heights when he’s motivated to remain awake.
After I ensure he is silent by giving the mean stare and angry whisper, he then resorts to trying to figure out the nuances of his sand-filled lizard. He begins to examine this lizard as if he is a surgeon learning how to deconstruct or reconstruct this animal. He squeezes the tail, the feet, the head and maneuvers the sand all around the body trying to figure out which displacement of sand most pleases him. It is a scientific experiment of gigantic proportions (for a 4-year old at least), that I have to squash because he actually needs to sleep. I’m still in bed with him attempting to wrangle him into his much needed slumber, so, being the great daddy that I am, I now give the evil stare and even louder and meaner whisper demanding his silence and his eyes remain shut.
His third course of action now that he is silent and his eyes are shut, is to determine how far he can open his eyes before I realize they are actually open. He attempts to “secretly” make binoculars out of his hands so he can “peek” at me all while hoping I don’t notice his tiny hands cupped like binoculars over his eyes. Inventive, I must say…altogether not very secret, but inventive. I glare at him and demand he shut his eyes again and he stiffens his body, places his hands to his sides and declares: “They’re closed!” He, now thinking he has a speaking opportunity, asks me when I will be leaving. I say: “I won’t be leaving until you fall asleep”. He then opens his eyes and declares: “I am asleep. Good bye daddy!”
Oh how little he must think of me! I remain and he continues to attempt any combination of the things mentioned above…hoping that I won’t recognize the hand binoculars or the squeezing of the sandy-lizard. I remain steadfast and marvel at this child’s ability to create and invent under the harsh conditions of a forced nap.
This, by the way is not an isolated incident…it is a continual event each time I try to get the little man to sleep. Thankfully, his little sister still loves sleep enough to even ask for one herself. I pray over her each day that God will continue to cultivate this love for sleep in her (so she can grow strong and healthy of course)!
Sadly, I know I was just like him. I didn’t want to miss a second of the day, even when I was butt tired; now, I dream of the day when I will be forced to nap again and that dream simply never flourishes into reality. Son, please son…learn to love naps! Stop being a grumpy Gus and give into the blessed awesomeness of dream land. The world knows I would join ya…anytime you’d offer! Forget Margaritaville and it’s “5 o-clock somewhere” I say lets get to “Dreamerville, because it’s bed-time somewhere!”