Don’t Feed Them After Midnight Or Let Them Take Evening Naps

Something horrible happened yesterday. My 3-year-old refused to take his afternoon nap, and then fell asleep at 5 p.m.

I know what you’re thinking, “That doesn’t sound that horrible, lady, get a grip.” But, let me assure you, it was the seventh circle of threenage hell. If you’ve ever experienced an event of this nature and lived to tell the tale, let me know where I can purchase a survivor’s badge, because I earned that shit.

It all started when I received the devastating news at daycare pick-up, “I’m sorry, he didn’t nap today.” His teacher said with a solemn expression.

My heart began to pound, and my palms grew sweaty. Every parent knows the first ingredient in the recipe for disaster is “no nap”. We had a twenty-minute drive home ahead of us, and if he fell asleep in that car seat, there would be no stopping the belligerent beast that would grow in his slumber.

Once in the car, I scoured the floorboard for forgotten fruit snacks, stale Cheez-it’s or anything I could pass-off as a “treat”. I came up with a few petrified french fries and a sucker with a little carpet on it. I debated momentarily, before deciding against giving him either option.

Without a snack to offer, my only other option was to engage in nonsensical conversation, in desperate hope of keeping him awake. “Holy smokes, is that zebra on that porch?!” I exclaimed with grandiose excitement. “It is! It’s a zebra! What on earth is a zebra doing out of the zoo?” I went on like a complete lunatic.

“That’s a flower pot, Mom.” My oldest child was less than impressed with my overly-exuberant theatrics.

“Oh, my mistake.”

I followed-up the zebra stuff with my usual line of questions about the day’s activities, but received half-hearted, one word answers as the sandman threatened to carry my little man away.

I knew I had to act quickly. Without a second thought, I turned the radio on—painfully loud—and began belting out Disney songs as though my life depended on it.

“LET IT GO! LET IT GOOOOO! CAN’T HOLD IT BACK ANYMOOOORRREEE!” It was awful; at one point I almost threw myself from the moving vehicle, but by the grace of Elsa, we made it home with everyone still awake.

Shortly after arriving home, things took an ugly turn. As I returned from the kitchen, sippy cup in-hand, I found my exhausted half-pint sound asleep on the sofa.

I’m never quite sure what to do at this point. I mean, once they’re asleep, you’re pretty much screwed. Do you wake them, and endure the category-5-asshole you know they will be? Or, do you let them sleep, and then stay up with them until 3 a.m., chatting about plot holes in the latest episode of Paw Patrol? It’s like choosing between head lice and three weeks of the stomach bug.

I opted to let him sleep for a bit, hoping this would be enough to carry him through until bedtime, but not enough to keep him up past midnight. As I suspected, this was a terrible idea. The kid woke up completely unhinged—crying and demanding fruit snacks.

I won’t lie, I spent the evening walking on eggshells so not to upset the tiny terrorist. Anyone who wants to judge or lecture me about letting my kid run the house can save their breath. I know exactly what I did, I kept the peace. Do I normally cater to the needs of an irrational psycho? No, but I’m a smart lady, and I pick my battles—I assure you, there were no winners here.

The night progressed at a snail’s pace, littered with tantrums and intermittent nakedness. Eventually, bedtime came, and I spent several hours trying to convince the honey badger to stay in bed. I’ve never been more relived to see a kid give-up and close his eyes.

I sent him back to daycare with Duct Tape and Benadryl, because I don’t want to survive that twice.

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