Over time, we parents become familiar with the different kinds of naps bestowed on us by our young. There’s the car nap (all too brief), the nap-in-arms (restrictive) and the cot nap (the holy grail of naps and widely revered through parenting circles).
Naps can take place too early or late in the day, by accident, or after meticulous planning. They can be too short, just right or even too long – though only ever if you have plans or an appointment. By far the worst though, is the nap that doesn’t happen – the one that gets away. This has been an all-too-frequent occurrence for me of late, to the point where I now must accept that my son’s naps have pretty much got up and gone and that the beautiful daytime sleep – having been such a big part of my life for over two years – is a thing of the past. But oh what times we have shared – or not – as the case may be…
The “Pram” No-Nap
You’ve planned this in fine detail: walking to your morning activity followed by a feed, nappy change and more milk before placing him lovingly in his pram and wrapping him in soft blankets and kisses. You walk the long way home to allow him ample time to drift off so by the time you reach the front door he will be snoozing soundly and you can relax and put your feet up (or more likely do the washing and clean the bathroom). Instead of sleeping, your infant uses the time to gurgle, chat, squeak or scream and you reach home with a wide-awake baby and aching feet. Are they doing it to annoy you? Are they?
The “Rocking” No-Nap
You are not giving in – you’ve already invested 30-goddam-minutes with this forsaken ritual – it will happen. If you are going to get repetitive strain syndrome, you’re going to make it worth your while. Do not make eye contact, do not engage and do not acknowledge any giggles, coos or raspberries. These rules must be adhered to at all times.
You give up after 50 minutes when you can no longer feel your arms. Your shoulders however, are agony.
The “Drive” No-Nap
Even worse than the pram no-nap, you have attempted this because it is the only kind of snooze you can guarantee… except when you can’t. You drive around in silence, cursing even the noise of your indicator and playing Russian Roulette with the petrol light. Stopping to refuel would undo all of the time spent lulling your little beast off to sleep, so if you have to risk a break down on the side of a dual carriageway then so be it.
They close their eyes and you think excitedly of the peace which lies ahead. You can reach your Wi-Fi from the driveway and are almost sure there are some leftover sweets in the glove box – it will be just like a spa day.
Their eyes spring open as you park the car and your dreams are immediately shattered. After alighting from your vehicle to retrieve them from the back seat, give a finger to the universe and swear liberally.
The “False Start” No-Nap
Among the worst of all no-naps. You get off to a great start and before long the soft music and closed curatins work their magic. Your child’s breathing slows and you see their eyes close – victory! You excitedly begin to plan all you will do with your free hour or two, you have nailed this. Inexplicably, their eyes then suddenly ping open and they appear to feel as rested as if they had slept all afternoon. They will not be persuaded and you cannot be comforted – your infant wins and makes you the loser – in many, many more ways than one.
The “Angry” No-Nap
You have fallen out with your nap-refusing child. Even though they are not aware nor give a tiny rat’s ass. You are determined they will sleep, if it is the last thing you do on this earth – if it takes your final breath – they will N.A.P.
You angrily push the pram around the block in the rain, misdirecting your rage at the motorbike you are convinced is the thing coming between your child’s sleep and your peace. Stupid fricking bike and its stupid fricking engine.
Your infant remains wakeful and you return home wet and grumpy. Your child appeared to enjoy the fresh air and little meander out.
The “Smug Come Un-smug” No-Nap
You are so sure they will take this nap – every box is checked: they’ve had an early start, a busy morning and they are showing ALL the signs. Depending on their age, they might even tell you they want a nap.
But then they won’t sleep. You read it right though – they are exhausted – and grumpy with it. So you’ve basically got a very long afternoon ahead of you with an unreasonable psychopath. Good luck.
The “Keep You on Your Toes” No-Nap
There is nothing like a crash course in emotional highs and lows than with this scenario. You are not even sure it is worth attempting but desperation makes you push on. Predictably, your infant is showing unwillingness to settle, but wait! They are suddenly yawning, and is it your imagination or do they look slightly glazed? Then they sneeze, a floorboard creaks or an irregularity in your breathing means all is lost… but you nearly had it… it is worth another shot. Continue in varying cycles of the same awfulness until you lose the will to care – or live.
The “You Nap but They Don’t” No-Nap
Fall asleep on their floor while they stand up in their cot warbling ‘Five Little Ducks,’ and pull you out of your dribbly snooze by telling you off for snoring. It was way too short and you have neck ache – but still – you can’t regret a second.