Parenting doesn’t come with a manual.
When I’ve tried to describe parenting to people without kids, I often use the example of a scientist. Each kid, at each different stage of their life, is almost like coming up with a hypothesis and trying to either prove or disprove said theory. Everyday you suit up in your lab coat (yoga pants), you have your Bunsen burners (microwave) and your beakers (bottles of formula) and you keep meticulous notes (post-it’s piled on the refrigerator door) as to your findings.
Dropping my three year old’s nap this summer was a bad idea. It was a hypothesis that has been completely disproved by my toddlers personality late in the day. It is entirely my fault and I will take one for the team on this.
He was not ready.
He is not ready.
But the problem with kids, unlike scientific data, is that they are human beings. You can only manipulate kids so far, while scientific findings can be skewed to the left or the right. And this ain’t G.I. Jane. We can’t “un-ring” that bell. I will never be able to get nap time back now that he has seen the no-nap world.
When we started planning for the Summer, we decided to send both of our older kids to the same day camp. The 9-year-old loves this camp and it just seemed like the logical and proximate choice for his little brother as well.
Only problem, camp ends at 3:45, which is 45 minutes after my toddler would usually start his nap.
“No problem”, I said. “He can handle it”, I said.
Silly mommy, naps are for three year olds.
He’s now a month into camp, and although he loves being a big boy and all his new friends, he comes home from his day cranky and exhausted. Trying to get him to lay down and relax at four in the afternoon is pointless and futile. He won’t do it. A couple of times he’s passed out on the ride home, but I can count those instances on one hand. And when he has fallen asleep in the car he has only once stayed asleep when I brought him into the house.
In so many words…I’m fucked.
The afternoon nap was a win/win situation for everyone involved. The toddler got much-needed rest, and woke up ready to wreak havoc on the rest of us with a smile on his face. I had 2 much-needed hours of time without him. I was able to accomplish so much in the afternoon. I will look back on the time of nap as a peaceful time, before I marred the kingdom with my foolish dreams where I wasn’t a captive in my own home from 3 to 5PM.
All I can do now is pass on the wisdom of my idiocy to you. Please, please, please, for the love of all things holy, hear my cry (actually, at this point it’s more of a sob mixed with a wail followed by a gulp of wine).
If you are still blessed enough to have a napping child, hold onto this time with a fierce grip. Heed the words of Jack from the Titanic and “don’t let go”. Screw Frozen, and do not “let it go”. I’m telling you this because I don’t want anyone to go through the evenings of crying and whining and complete exhaustion I’m going through right now. I’m telling you this because no sane person should have to deal with a three year old attached to your leg, crying, “DADDY!!!! DAAAAADDDYYY!! I WANT DAAAAADDDDY!!!” over and over again for 45 minutes as you try to roast a chicken and your husband is running late.
I’m telling you this as a public service. Learn from my mistake: Long live the nap!