Every day around noon, it feels like I ate a plateful of hot, greasy Chinese food. My insides swish and twist as if they’re seizing. It sounds like the devil is trying to communicate via my stomach. It’s not food that’s causing my guts to dance; it’s Scarlett and a powerful three-letter word, n-a-p. Will she take one? Evil doesn’t lurk at midnight; witching hour starts at high noon. Scarlett throws herself around, boobs when I leave the room, and yanks down the front of my shirt, classic signs for night-night.
I’ve heard the horror stories of children who stop napping as early as a year old. The very thought gives me ulcers. Any day now, Scarlett could decide she would much rather cling to my side all day long. Shudder. I will no longer get my precious moments of solace. It shows you how masterful God’s plan is. He knows that, for me to enjoy this taxing job, baby must nap for Mommy’s sanity. After creating the animals and before he filled the lakes, He rested each afternoon. Don’t remember that part? Reread Genesis.
Scarlett’s drug of choice, milk, is a must for any napping attempts. She gets wrapped in a blankie and a “baba”. It’s truly the sweetest thing seeing her jump up and down when I hold out the blanket. Her body instantly relaxes when that blanket is around her. Wouldn’t we if there were a giant person to rock us to sleep? I wonder if my mom would still do it for me. Not to say she’s giant. As soon as Scarlett is tipped backward, I plug her hole with a rubber nipple.
Sometimes it’s easy to get Scarlee down; her eyes automatically snap shut like a baby doll. Other times, it’s a struggle. She kicks, she screams, tears and snot pour down her face, but once she realizes I’m got to be the victor and so goes the spoils, she’ll give up and close her eye to drift off to happy land. It’s like winning the lottery. How am I going to spend this time?
However the hell I want, that’s how, without leaving the premises. My imaginary electric dog-collar keeps me close to home. I always wonder about those moms who can just leave their kids alone at home. I cannot tell you how many news stories I’ve heard about little toddlers left alone while World’s Greatest Mom runs to the store or the nail parlor. I close Scarlett’s door and my brain starts to come up with the most bizarre scenarios. Visions of fire, kidnappers, Darwinian crib jumps, come flooding. You name it, I’ve thought it up.
Those three hours of freedom are wild: pizza, R-rated movies, pillow fights, Def Leppard and men. Really I just load the dishwasher, shovel poop from the litter box and fold load after load of laundry. NPR blasts from my headphones. In the good ol’ days when Scarlee woke up every two hours, I would nap when she did, guilt-free. Now, if my head even grazes the pillow I think of sad little Brian working his finger to the bone inside his cubicle, probably making sexist jokes and checking his Droid. It just wouldn’t be fair if I enjoyed my afternoon.
Every now and then, though, I do go hog wild Hilton style. Like today, I cooked up some pot stickers, poured a glass of milk (aka Diet Coke, removed my pants, cranked my heat blanket, and climbed into bed. The sheets are fresh out of the dryer, so it’s only fair I leave my body-grease stains before Brian. What really makes this special, Brian signed my up for Netflix; I can stream movies on my laptop in bed while I eat my stickers. Too bad all the choices are 1980 B-movies. Sure, I’ll watch “Thunderdome” or “Dune”… if I were drinking.
I know, for spite, Scarlett will soon renege on the naps, leaving Mommy without even a minute to herself. She’s awake by four, about when Ward strolls through the door to hang his hat and shout “Honey, I’m home.” From there, I’m picking up after two babies, wiping mouths, changing diapers, and cooking dinner.
The best part of naptime? That baby is so sweet when she wakes up. Just like Mommy. Both of us are rejuvenated and ready to play. You know what they say -- “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
DAMN IT, SHE’S AWAKE!!!!