If there are any miracle workers out there who may be reading this, please feel free to stop by if you’re ever in Shelby, NC, particularly any weekend between the hours of 1 PM and 3 PM, when my toddler is kicking and screaming to resist the dark forces of slumber. On weekends, a divine intervention may be the only thing that can get my son to go down for a nap.
At first sight of his pillow and blanket, Thomas starts with a gentle heart-breaking plea, “No, no, no, Daddy, let’s play.” In the past, as a mere fallible man, I’ve fallen for this cleverly-crafted ruse and allowed my offspring to skip his nap and play. I do not recommend it. Continuous play from 7 AM to an inevitable late afternoon toddler meltdown is hazardous for all involved–I have the psychological scars to prove it, not to mention a striking impression of my toddlers’ incisors on my shoulder.
The problem is that parents are left with two unenviable military positions–either they face a prolonged battle of attrition to get their toddler to go down for a regularly scheduled nap (how the teachers do it at daycare is beyond me) or they risk the threat of utter annihilation once a toddler’s overworked energy reactor has finally imploded. No doubt about it, my toddler’s meltdown scream is an unconsolable weapon of mass destruction, namely of eardrums, and anyone within a thousand mile radius of it ought to seek underground shelter.
This world is a strange place. We at least send our new military recruits to ten weeks of basic training to prepare them to handle weapons of war. But new parents get a cigar, flowers, and a hardy, “Good luck!” to prepare them to handle bundles of life. Two years in, you’d think we’d know what we’re doing with Thomas, but on some days, particularly Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of 1PM and 3 PM, I feel as lost and exhausted as a new parent in a maternity ward.
And the crazy thing is we only have one kid. How parents with multiples do it is beyond my comprehension. You’d think the second one might be easier because you’ve got some experience under your belt, but you’d be wrong. The life-giver who reigns over this mortal coil has a mortally coiled up sense of humor. I know enough to know that nearly always the second child is the exact opposite of the first child, so you might as well wipe up all that hard-earned experience and toss it into the diaper bin.
Even now, with my basic understanding of the natural processes of human growth and development, I sometimes find it hard to believe that I was once a toddler, so small in size, but boundless in energy. But my mom has indeed verified that I was once such a creature. I guess, if I’m being honest, I do have some vague remembrances of her wanting to come home from work and take naps instead of wanting to wrestle, but it didn’t bother me too much back then because it was a lot easier to put my sleeping mom in a figure four leg-lock than it was my older brother.