Imagine you are driving home after running some quick errands with your toddler – nothing out of the ordinary, just a stop to drop off some things at Goodwill and pick up some groceries. Sure, he may have had a few moments in the store but nothing you couldn’t manage. Nothing to indicate what is ahead.
For, even though it is before noon and the drive home no more than fifteen minutes, what do you see reflecting back at you in that tiny mirror strapped to the headrest? Two little tiny eyes that have somehow managed to grow too heavy and a little one who has drifted off to sleep.
The car seat power nap. Ruiner of days, nights, and moods of anyone in its path. It defies all logic. How does this piddly, inconsequential mini siesta somehow manage to make such waves that the consequences are felt into the following evening?
In case you didn’t already guess, I am in the throws of those consequences, tapping away on my laptop keyboard after I foolishly missed my son drifting off to sleep in the car, followed by foolishly not hitting him with a tranquilizer dart come his normal afternoon nap time, followed by foolishly thinking I could put him to bed an hour earlier after he had acted like a sleep-deprived lunatic. Safe to say I am a fool.
His afternoon naps benefit all involved. I am fortunate enough that he still (generally) goes down for a couple hours in the afternoon, allowing him to (generally) be a pleasant little tot until bedtime and allowing me to clean the house, shower, or watch something that doesn’t look like a fever dream while tripping on acid (I’m lookin’ at you Mother Goose Club). Sometimes if the stars align and I can get the baby to sleep, too, I’ll take a little nap myself.
But not today. Today he showed no signs of slowing down come 2 o’clock and he was still pleasantly alert and joyful at 3. So, I took my normal time I spend cleaning and spent it making blueberry muffins with my still-happy toddler. I planned for his bedtime being an hour earlier and was happy I could possibly, maybe squeeze in a shower and an episode of Community before the baby’s last bottle of the night.
But he wailed in his crib, even after an extremely moving rendition of “I Love You, Stinky Face” that could have brought Simon Cowell to tears. I went to kiss him goodnight on the top of his head and he proceeded to jump up in the middle of his fit, bucking my teeth into my lip which hurt like a mother. So I took a deep breath, closed the door, and was relieved when the screaming ceased after five minutes and he was fast asleep.
Cut to 10 o’clock within seconds of waking up the baby for her bottle, he is up hollering again. 11 o’clock? Right back where we started. Midnight, too. So I wait here hoping that this pattern of waking every hour, on the hour will not continue until daybreak. I might also possibly be searching for an air horn to stash in my glove box to whip out when the backseat gets a little too quiet.
Damn you, car seat power naps. You’re the freakin’ worst.