The child refuses to nap. At least it means an early bed time.

I was born in the 70s. For those of you too young to remember, just imagine Women’s Lib and Dr. Spock.

When I was growing up, my mother often said I wasn't getting enough sleep:
  1. You're grumpy! You haven’t been getting enough sleep.

  2. You're sick! Not enough sleep.

  3. You and your friend painted my bedroom dresser? With nail polish? Definitely not enough sleep.

Not getting enough sleep caused all of my problems.

When my brother and I were little, naps were mandatory. I was never tired. I didn’t want to stop playing with my Barbies. But my mother forced us to go to our rooms and have a lie down. She was so mean!

If we didn’t lie down quietly in our own beds, my mother made us lie down WITH HER in her bed. If this happened, I absolutely refused to go to sleep. I was very STUBBORN (or so I have been told). I lay in my parents’ bed until my mother finally got up, and then I got up too.

My brother was not so lucky. He tried very hard not to fall asleep, but he always failed. And the poor kid didn’t wake up for HOURS.

Now I am a parent, and I am determined to Do Things Differently. I don’t force the child, age 4, to lie down for Quiet Time. He is allowed to play quietly in his room.

But sometimes I feel a nap would be beneficial. And if I lie down with the child, sometimes he will go to sleep.

Most of the time, however, the child refuses to go to sleep. He is so mean! He wiggles and fidgets and wanders off to go get something, or go for a poop, or get a drink of water, until I finally give up, and QUIET TIME IS OVER.

Then I am cross, and I feel out of sorts for the rest of the afternoon.

So I finally get it. When I was little, those naps were not (necessarily) for me. And now that I can't stay up past 9:30, I understand why my parents put me to bed so early.

Parenting is such karmic payback. It’s a beyotch.


Aliceson said...

Oh I know. My youngest is growing out of naps too but I wish she would still take them. Some people just require more sleep than others and she is definitely one of them. If we take a ride in the car after 4 PM she's out like a light but refuses to go down for a nap.

I wonder how long this phase will last. And now that school has started we have moved up everyone's bedtime. Even my husband and I were in bed by 9 last night!

From AA to NZ said...

Hmmm...... sounds like you haven't been getting enough sleep!!!

Elizabeth VanBodegraven said...

The child will look back one day with regret...oh, the days of sanctioned napping, sleeping late and wearing pajamas all day.

PS- please tell your mother that I had nothing to do with nail polish on the dresser.

Unknown said...

I can't believe that as a child I refused to have afternoon naps. Now that I have a toddler, all I want to do of an afternoon is curl up on the bed and fall asleep in the sunshine. Damn kids. Who'd have em?

Megan Rose said...

Oops! Was signed in as my husband...

Organic Meatbag said...

Hey there, fellow 70's child! When I couldn't sleep back then, I just blamed it on Solid Gold or Welcome Back Kotter...

Sarah Lee said...

Wow you have a great memory. I was a '70's child too but have no recollection of naps. My youngest child stopped naps bang on her 2nd Birthday. My first would still have one till 3 and a half - only because she averaged 10 hours, not 12 hours, sleep at night.

I'll be returning to the land of naps next year when my third arrives! I did used to love a power nap with my first child.

I loved your post and the ending made me chuckle.

Will Ryan said...

I was just discussing this with Mother this past weekend. I asked her why she would let me sleep so long because, you know, in retrospect, it seems kind of cruel to have let me sleep until I was awakened by the smell of dinner cooking on the stove. She just shrugged. What I would give for a nap like that right now...