When “I’m Thirsty” Just Doesn’t Cut It

They say that you know you have officially reached adulthood when you not only look forward to bedtime, but you find ways to hasten its arrival. 
We all know children who fall short of that; my ten year old just recently explained to me that the reason he used to scream his tiny head purple for hours every night and resort to every anti-slumber trick known to children was that he was afraid.
"Afraid of what?" I asked. 
"Falling."
"How so?"
"Everyone always said that people fall asleep, and I didn't know where I would fall, but I didn't want to."
(And the first three or four years of your life, waking up sound of limb, didn't reassure you that this was a figure of speech? The kid fought bedtime like a demon until he was five years old.)
There are, of course, the stalling tactics every parent is aware of–the urgent need for food/potty/drink/even one more thorough toothbrushing–but there are more. Many more you would never know about unless you attempted to orchestrate naptime for a dozen or so preschool aged children all at once, and in one room:
1) Keep someone else awake: make faces, throw pillows–whatever it takes to perpetuate the cycle. Two or more children can feed off one another almost indefinitely with this. 
2) If the authorities that be position you so that you cannot see any other children, you can always cough, sneeze, burp, or, when the statute of believability runs out on audible bodily functions, you can always sing.
3) If singing is prohibited, hum.
4) If humming is prohibited, sing silently with the most dramatic facial expressions you can muster.
5) If your face gets tired, move something else: as long as your toes are tapping, your chin is nodding, your fingers are making patterns in the air, you can't fall asleep.
6) When #5 fails–ie: you cannot summon the energy to maintain movement–lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor, knees in the air. When you start to fall asleep, your knees will begin to fall outwards, thus jerking you back into the conscious world.
7) If local authorities mandate that all children lie on their sides to sleep, a similar effect can be achieved by placing the uppermost arm in a vertical position, pointing at the ceiling.
8) This one is tricky, but if you are very, very quiet, you might manage it: kneel up on your mat. Just kneel there. If nobody notices that you are kneeling (and they might not, if you are quiet) you can stay awake for a long time in the kneeling position. The tricky part is that to avoid detection, you must remain motionless–which is a soporific activity in itself. As a precaution, you might want to position yourself so that when and if you do lose consciousness there are no Lego bricks, sharp-cornered cabinets, or stone floors within your fall zone.

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7 responses to “When “I’m Thirsty” Just Doesn’t Cut It

  • Random Musings

    My almost 4 granddaughter has mastered most of these!

  • Margy

    Ha ho! I have no kids but I remember pulling these pranks myself. Bed? Bed? Noooooooooooooo!

  • Freedom Smith

    LOLOLOL!!!! I can tell that you have had much experience in this area. You must be a VERY patient woman! How on earth do you deal with this each day without losing your mind? At some point, I do believe I would boil over. Good for you. I love the way you charted it out. I am trying to imagine a child staying perfectly still in a kneeling position. LOLOL!!! Too funny. Reminds me of all of the little naughty bunnies in the Peter Rabbit stories.

  • Kimber

    Intriguing–here's my question: you don't have children–do you love bedtime now? Or is it just the parents that begin to adore bedtime? Is it the parenthood or the adulthood?

  • Kimber

    Oh, she was holding perfectly still. I finally went and helped her to her pillow because she was bobbing and swaying so much I was afraid she was going to smash her face into the tile without some guidance!

  • Freedom Smith

    I sure wish you could sneak a few videos for us. Sounds most amusing, the "trying to stay awake" thing. Funny how we change as we get older and we WANT a nap!

  • Emjay

    Really enjoyed reading this – and the little girl in the photo is adorable.

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