parenting_adviceWe were pretty lucky in the sleep department when the stork dropped Evie on our doorstep.
However, nap time is just one of those things we tend to lock horns over.
Our very determined toddler can be quite vocal about sleep resistance.
So why don’t babies and toddlers like sleep? If I had my way, naps would be mandatory after lunch.
Imagine how much better life would be in this country if napping on the job was normal and encouraged.
Afternoon siestas (how much nicer is that word than a ‘Nanna Nap’) are quite common in many countries.
During the heat of the day, people just put their feet up, close the shop and unwind to get ready for the last half of the day.
No matter how much I try to convey my regret to Evie about lost napping opportunities past, she just shakes her head (yes…this is happening already).
With furrowed brows, she yells indignantly about the injustice of it all (in baby talk of course…though I’d be impressed if such words came out of her tiny rosebud lips).
So back to the original question: Why oh why do children refuse naps when their eyelids are purple and they rub their little fists into their eyes?
Theory 1. They think they are missing out on something cool. Well, I can safely say in our house, nothing really cool is going on.
And the fact that I have now used cool three times can be a pretty strong indication that I’m not really up to anything all that exciting.
In fact, nap time is my time for housey stuff. For folding that carefully constructed mountain of washing which threatens to one day take over the house.
For chopping vegetables, dehydrating food stuffs, occasional sneaky ebay purchases, or packing boxes as we prepare to move overseas.
Nothing riveting I can assure you.
So dear child, unless you want to help out around the house, I’d suggest a nap. Or at least even pretend you are sleeping.
This is what I would do if I had the choice between scrubbing the toilet or being reunited with my blanket.
Theory 2. They are all a part of the Sleep Resistance Movement.
Perhaps, right under our noses, babies and toddlers are in a resistance group, who fight against unwanted naps and nocturnal slumber.
Is it so far fetched to believe that when they babble to one another, they aren’t just being cute and talking baby talk; they are actually discussing their ongoing battle against the sandman in code?
Just this week, I’ve had at least two mothers I know of, describe their frustration at their child’s lack of interest in restorative sleep.
About 20 minutes before I sat down to write this article, I had spent close to two hours with Evie trying to settle her.
She is tired. She is rubbing her eyes and lying on the floor for goodness sakes.
But as soon as I took her into her room, the almighty war cry would ring out, and so it continued until she literally passed out in my arms, completely defeated (we win again the Resistance!).
Perhaps this underground movement detests sleep because they enjoy the weird, deranged feeling they get by being mentally exhausted.
The fact that they can feel wild emotions and let everyone know exactly what they think about things gives them a sense of power and satisfaction.
They are small humans who can reduce a fully grown, functioning adult to a state of such deprivation that they don’t care whether Finding Nemo is on loop for the 50 millionth time, or that they have listened to the same annoying noisy toy for the past ten years, just to get some sort of rest and quiet.
Theory 3. They like cars. Cars take them to fun places. Kids always fall asleep in cars when they are plumb tuckered out.
Of course, moving a child from the car to the cot is always fraught with barely concealed stress.
In our case, no matter if the sleep was all of two minutes, once we move her, she is awake.
Her brain lies to her shamelessly, telling her she had enough of a nap, whereas all I see is a child yelling at a cat that dares to come into our backyard, or getting cross and weeping at the drop of a hat (then laughing, then crying and so on and so forth until bathtime).
Cars can be your best friend or your worst enemy. But kids love cars.
Maybe they think it is a teleportation device, where they close their eyes, and all of a sudden, BAM! they are at Grandma’s house (or another country if you happen to be in a flying machine).
Maybe they think cars give them power to go places without time having passed.
I don’t really know, I’m not a baby, nor do I remember being one. But this could also be true.
In any case, whatever theory you or I may have, children will fight sleep until they are teenagers.
And you will most likely find me here in 13 years from now writing about how Evie refuses to get out of bed before midday on a weekend.
Probably catching up on all those naps she missed out on.

– Beck Hendropurnomo

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