Friday, July 12, 2013

Shutting Out the Shut-Eye

All of us have moments in our days when we are not our smartest.  Okay, maybe even really stupid and irrational.  For me, this happens mostly between 2 and 3 in the afternoon.  As to why I continue on this lost battle despite the fact that this is also the time of day when I feel most brain-dead and crabby, I do not know.  

I'm talking about that time of day when it's nap time.  It's that time of day when, while trying to hold my son captive for at least an hour, I end up as the one held in captivity as I pretend to nap myself just so he would slow down, lie down with me and close his eyes.  98% of the time, it's seriously a battle.  I push and my six year old pushes back. I want him to rest.  He wants more play time.  I argue that his body (and his eyes, given that he's on the computer or tv a lot) need to rest.  He reasons that summer break will be over and soon he won't have time to enjoy play time.  I counter with 'No honey, you still have a number of weeks'.  He desperately responds with 'But I hate how I close my eyes and then when I wake up it's almost night time and I lose TOO MUCH playtime!'.    

Kids + Car rides = Guaranteed Zzzz's (Don't ask me why.)

I don't really want to employ fear tactics for fear that it might backfire.  (And it always does, doesn't it?).  But I always get so tempted to utter, "Oh, enjoy it while it lasts."  What these children don't realize is that taking naps is truly a luxury.  We start out in life having them as a necessity, and I'm sure most of us have memories of feeling forced by our parents to take naps.  But our parents knew we needed them.  And they needed a break from us too, I'm sure.  One of my fondest childhood memories is that of Saturday afternoons at home.  My Mom was a working mother so weekends with her were precious to me.  What's more, I loved seeing her make and bake sweet stuff for me and my siblings as that was just impossible for her to do during the work week.  She would bribe us with brownies as the reward if we promised to take our naps.  And I remember feeling so excited about the brownie at the end of my nap and smelling the sweet chocolate cooking in the oven while I pretended to be in dreamland.  The best part was 'waking up' and finding out that Mom had saved the bowl for me to lick some of the leftover brownie mix.  (And I wonder why I was never a skinny kid?)

So yes, I have good memories of napping.  And the older I got, the better my naps became.  The only problem is, by that time, it was no longer acceptable or encouraged to take naps, and long ones at that.  As adults we become busier, finding ourselves living lives that can hardly accommodate 15-minute naps. Besides, how many of us can really sleep within fifteen minutes?  Surely not me with my sleep issues.  Not only have I become busier as an adult, my insomniac tendencies have also heightened.  Sleep has gotten more elusive as the years go by and so I treat it now as a premium commodity.  

As I said, I'm always tempted to tell Noah of how my relationship with sleep has evolved.  But I don't want him to be scared or worried that he would turn out like me.  Who knows? Maybe he has more of his Dad's side of the family in terms of 'sleep genes', where some of them can sleep all day, or manage to sleep anywhere, anytime, regardless of position or location, effortlessly at that. (Oh, who am I kidding?...I'm his mother after all and given my love for structure and predictability, it's more likely he ends up like me.)

While I know he's at that age when kids naturally give up naps and possibly don't need them as much, I still wish he would realize sooner than later how wonderful naps are (or sleep in general); what good they do to our bodies; how tired adults would kill for them, and how in just a few more years, he would look back on these days and say, "Dang, I should have enjoyed them while I was still allowed to have them!"  Well, son, as they say, you never miss a good thing 'till it's gone.


  1. That's what I liked when I was pregnant: I was napping all the time. Pure bliss. You are right, he needs to enjoy it now...

    1. I was too stressed out when I was pregnant due to my issues (IVF, bleeding, etc). Too bad :-(((

  2. For kids a nap may mean they're missing out on something they want to do. I remember my little boy wailing "I don't want to go to sleep/nap." You're right, I guess kids in general don't appreciate how wonderful they are. Then at a certain age we start napping again. The problem is that a really good nap takes a chunk of time. Or impromptu naps come naturally all the time. I have to take caffeine pills so as not to doze off at the computer, or reading, or when someone in my critique group is reading her piece in such a lulling voice that I keep having to shake myself. Oh well, life cycles.

  3. Napping may be the one thing I miss the most about my pre-kids days. I still remember hating naps as much as my young ones do now, and there's nothing I can say to them that will make them change their minds. They rage, rage against the dying of the light ... to awkwardly paraphrase a famous poem.


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