Napping 101 a popular course at Baby University

The last word about dads on Father's Day

If you’re a new parent or grandparent or anybody walking within
a football field’s length of an infant, you’ll soon observe that
babies are capable of some pretty odd behaviors. And you might
wonder where in the world babies learn these interesting
activities.
If you’re a new parent or grandparent or anybody walking within a football field’s length of an infant, you’ll soon observe that babies are capable of some pretty odd behaviors. And you might wonder where in the world babies learn these interesting activities. The answer? Your precious new bundle is a graduate of … Baby University.

OK, this may sound like an absurd concept, but hear me out: while babies are spending nine months in Mommy’s womb, they are acing correspondence courses at Baby University. I mean, what else do they have to do in there?

Here babies receive a full curriculum of mandatory baby behavioral classes such as “Crying All Night 24A & B;” “Eruptus Grandparentus” or “Spitting-up on Grandma;” “Pooping 24/7;” “Baby Bootcamp: Recognition of Apparatus Requiring 40 Batteries or More;” and “New Parents’ End of Civilized Life as They Know It,” the Weekend Seminar. 

Now as popular as these classes undoubtedly are, the class in which future babies truly excel is: “Napping 101 – An Easy Guide to Nap Avoidance.”

You have without a doubt already matched wits with Baby about the legendary Nap Avoidance so popular among infants these days. And it’s pretty embarrassing to admit that you are pretty much powerless when it comes to bringing Baby around to your “way of thinking,” i.e. “You need a nap!” – considering that you are a highly functioning grown-up who outweighs baby by several thousand percentage points. Therefore, as a valuable public service I have pledged to study babies who go out of their way to practice Nap Avoidance.

Well, technically, this study of “babies” is of one baby whose name is Charlie. Charlie happens to be my grandson, is 10 months old, and I take care of him during the day while his mommy and daddy are working. And not only did Charlie graduate from Baby University, he wrote the course on Nap Avoidance. But being much older and wiser (well, one would hope) than Charlie, for the better part of six months I have been working diligently to unlock the secret to better napping.

Now heaven knows I personally have no problem napping. But Charlie is another story. In fact, I expect that it will come down to Charlie looking after ME one of these days while I sleep because there is no doubt as to which of us has more energy.

Things used to be less complicated. When Charlie was younger, if he got fussy, I could walk outside with him into the backyard as I bounced him on my shoulder. There he was entertained by breezes blowing through the palm trees and the sun sparkling on the water in the pool. This was so amusing that sometimes he simply dozed off.

This handy method was brought to a tragic halt the day Buddy fell into the pool. Buddy is the small family dog, and he is prone to following Charlie and I about wherever we are. One afternoon while outside bouncing Charlie on my shoulder, I heard a loud “ker-plunk” accompanied by a splash such as what would be made should an ostrich suddenly dive bomb into the swimming pool.

Yes; Buddy was taking an unauthorized dip. Loathe to abort the Charlie bouncing and rile him up again, I quickly deposited a startled infant Charlie on the rug just inside the door while I raced back to the pool, fully prepared (albeit reluctantly) to jump in headfirst to rescue Buddy – who by this time was nonchalantly paddling to the steps.

Climbing out of the pool, a dripping Buddy moseyed into the house. As I scurried off for towels, Buddy paused by the unsuspecting Charlie and shook himself mightily, raining pool water over my surprised grandson. (In hindsight, this was only fair seeing as how Charlie had recently spit up on Buddy and Buddy, technically, owed him one.)

These days, as Charlie grows, so does his Nap Avoidance. Where he used to fall asleep “on the bottle,” nowadays he drinks his bottle dry as he lies watching me, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Thinking I can ignore him to sleep by avoiding eye contact, Charlie engages in guy-like behavior such as twisting my nose as if it were a radiator cap.

Next I close my eyes thinking this will give Charlie a clue about what he is supposed to be doing. When I risk a peek to see if he’s taken the hint and dozed off, I find his big baby-blues boring holes into me.

Lately I’m utilizing a “white noise” machine to calm Charlie and muffle outside distractions. You know, something soothing such as a jet engine, which is approximately the resonance I’m getting now that I’ve pumped up the volume. Desperate times require desperate measures, after all: I’m dealing with the Valedictorian of Napping 101.

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