Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Warning Do Not Try This At Home

Have you ever been so tired that you felt if you let your head start to nod it would snap off your body, roll out the door, down the street and land in the gutter covered in leaves and dirt? Have you ever been so tired that you thought your head had already done that?

All you can think about in your headless state is sleep. Sleep is the only thing that will cure the headlessness. Nap, you need to nap.

Now what would you do if you, in your headless state, were confronted with a toddler who vehemently dislikes naps. If you shut her in her room while you nap, you know there will be no peace. You've done that before.

Would you decide that the only rational option is to have a slumber party in her room? Would your headless body belive that if you made a game out of sleeping she would sleep? If she saw you sleep that she would sleep and you would awake with your head back on your body?

It seems like such a simple idea. It has worked in the past at nighttime. Somehow laying on the floor with a blanket and pillow makes it easier for her to sleep, easier for you to sleep.

So you grab that blanket and pillow and make a big production out of arranging them on the floor. You both cuddle under the blanket and read some books. Then you lean over and kiss her before "falling asleep."

But as desperately as you want sleep, she desperately wants not to sleep. She runs around the room pulling every book off the shelf. "Read this book, momma." "Read that book, momma." Books are thrown around the room, some land on you.

But you continue to "sleep", hoping against hope that she will fall asleep too. You become a jungle gym. You are climbed on, climbed over, jumped on. It does not feel good.

There are attempts to wake you. "Momma, momma, momma" shouted in an outside voice. "Momma are you sleeping?" whispered as loudly as possible. "Momma, no sleep," whispered quietly from a mouth pressed directly into your ear.

You are covered in kisses to wake you up. You are covered in drool from the kisses.

Thwack, thwack, thwack. The sounds of the glider hitting the wall, over and over again. You make a mental note to move the glider further away from the wall to stop that from happening. But not now. You cannot show weakness now. If your eyes open or you change positions, she will have won. There will be no nap and your head will still be lying in the gutter at the end of the street.

This goes on and on. You don't know how long you've been lying there. But all of a sudden it seems quiet. Has she given up? Have she fallen asleep? Have you fallen asleep? You don't know and you don't want to check and see.

But then you hear it, "Momma, this book has a dinosaur in it." Well, duh. All your books seem to have dinos in them.

At that point, you give up. No one is sleeping today. You open your eyes and see a smiling face three inches from your own. You reach out for the book to read it, glancing at your watch. And then you notice its been an hour and a half. You could not have survived the onslaught for that long, you must have slept. She must have let you sleep.

You tentatively reach up to see if your head is attached to your body again. It is. It may be hanging by a few threads but it is there. You can go on with the day. However, you vow never to try that again.


Kate Coveny Hood said...

I went through that when I was trying to get Oliver used to his new big boy bed and had to stay in it with him until he fell asleep (for like TWO weeks! maybe three...I mayb have blocked some of that out).

I love the reference to being a human jungle gym - because I am ALWAYS being climbed on when my children are around - whether I'm trying to sleep or just trying to do the dishes. I made the mistake of teaching Eleanor the word "balance" and now I can't sit down with out her stepping up on to my legs to "balance."

MamaCarter said...

Sunday Monkey slept in the car for a sum total of 28 minutes (post-apple picking). Then we tried to put her down for a real nap once we got home. Yeah. 90 minutes later she was STILl singing and reading and playing loudly in her crib. Happily, thankfully, as we got to do some stuff around the apartment, so we could kind of ignore her. But when she started hollering "happy birthday dear mommy" and/or "daddy" at the top of her lungs while jumping up and down? Yeah, we threw in the towel and released the prisoner. It's not going to be pretty when she moves into a big girl's bed.

Maggie, Dammit said...


Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

So many, many times.

I feel you, girl.