Keep Calm and Nap On

I come home to a quiet house. Too quiet. The dog’s asleep on my bed. As always. The girls must be out somewhere. Maybe they went shopping after school.

I go about my usual after-school activities—get a snack, finish reading the morning paper, and do a few household chores.

Still no girls. They’ve been out of school for nearly two hours. I text them both. No response from either.

Hmm. I knock gently on Addy’s bedroom door, which is always closed when she’s not home. No response, so I open it and go in. It’s dark in there, the blinds pulled, but I can make out her familiar lump in the bed. She’s napping. Not unusual, she’s a napper, big on the sleep thing.

I check Amy’s room next. She’s probably been doing homework this whole time. And I didn’t even think she was here. Knock, no answer, enter, and, what? Another lump. A napping lump.

They’ve always been good at going to bed and getting to sleep. As babies and toddlers, they would nap anywhere. Some youngsters will only fall asleep in their own beds, their parents’ arms, or with the lull of a vehicle.sleeping

When Addy was two and Amy three months old, we were finally able to buy a house. On moving day, several friends helped us load everything into a U-Haul and drive the few miles to our new place. Amy fell asleep in the car on the way over, but I wasn’t sure how Addy was going to get a nap in that day. After the truck was backed up to the door, I asked if we could get the red bed (Addy’s toddler bed) out as quickly as possible. When it was set up in the girls’ new room, I gave Addy her favorite quilt and told her it was nap time. She lay down, fell asleep, and slept for a good hour, despite the strange place and the commotion going on around her. A short while later, she awoke amongst stacked boxes and wandered out into the main part of the house, not knowing where she was or what was going on. “Oops, it’s not time to wake up yet,” I said, at which she turned around, walked herself back to her red bed, and went back to sleep.

“Oh, God!” said the father of a child who had to be driven around the block several times to get to sleep, a father whose wife sat in the car in the driveway while their daughter napped. “I can’t believe that just happened.”

We went to Mexico when the girls were six and seven. One day we took a cab to Tulum, about an hour’s drive from our resort. I told the girls, “You might want to close your pretties. It’ll make the cab ride go faster. Plus, then you can stay up later tonight.” They leaned back, drifted off, and slept the entire way.

This weekend was Homecoming. Before going to the game on Friday night, my oldest inquired whether I could drive her friend home after the game.

“Well, yes, I can, but it’d be easier if she just spent the night. Then you or I could take her home in the morning.”

“I don’t really want her to. I know I’m going to be tired after the game. I’ll just want to go to bed.”

“Won’t she be tired? She can just go to sleep, too.” I knew, though, that that probably wouldn’t be the case. Most seniors in high school want to stay out late on a special night like Homecoming; most don’t plan ahead to come home right after the game and hit the sack.

My youngest went to the dance on Saturday night with her date and seven other couples. Afterwards, the girls gathered at one of the homes for movies and a sleepover. Amy called around 11:20, asking if I could pick her up. When I asked why she wanted to cKeep Calm and Nap Onome home so early, she explained, “I just don’t get how people stay awake, how they find more energy when what their body really wants to do is sleep,” she explained.

It was handy having easy little sleepers. But now, I admit, I do wonder if they sleep too well, too often, for too much of their life. I won’t worry about it too much though. When you have teenagers, you don’t complain if they’re home and safe and happy in their own bed.

I’ll just stay calm and let them nap on.

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