My four soon-to-be five-year old is in that awkward phase where she doesn’t usually nap but sometimes, every once in a while, collapses into a heap of blankets on the floor.
When this happens, she is out, like really out, from around three or four o’clock until right around after dinner. Then she will wake up grouchy, be drowsy and cranky for another forty to fifty minutes, and then— get this— expect food and water.
The result of all this is that she will be wide awake, fresh as a spring morning in a place with a waterfall that gushes freshness, well past bedtime. I’m taking like after nine o’clock. Wide. Awake.
At this point, any parent in this situation, concerned for their child’s well-being, must make a choice.
Option 1: Put them to bed anyway so they get used to being bored in life.
Option 2: Take advantage of the other children being asleep for valuable one-on-one time (not recommended).
Option 3: Just watch Netflix like always and let the situation work itself out.
Recently I found myself in this parenting conundrum and chose Option 2. (Making decisions has never really been a strong point for me.) After some graham crackers and coloring (a lot of coloring, but that’s another post) I noticed my four-soon-to-be five-year old stretch her mouth in what might have been a yawn.
So we went up and laid in mommy’s bed, a special treat, and gazed up at the moon. And the following conversation took place.
“Daddy, has anyone ever been to the moon?”
“Yes, in fact, fifty years ago people went to the moon.”
“How did they get there?”
“Well, people worked very hard for a long time. They studied a lot of science and space and became what’s called an astronaut.”
“Yes. Asterknots. And other people studied a lot of science and math and became engineers. These engineers built rocket ships for the asterknots to travel in.”
She snuggled into my shoulder and we stared up at the moon. This is one of those moments, I thought. Those moments I will cherish forever.
“And did some people study really hard to become mermaids?”
And we’re back.
“Yes, some people studied hard to become mermaids. Aren’t you getting sleepy?”
So in conclusion, when your child is in that awkward phase where they don’t nap but sometimes really need one, just shove a screen in their face and give them sugar so that you don’t miss out on valuable “Me time” at the end of a day.