Saying Goodbye to Naptime: A Guide for Coping with Loss

08/31/2010 By Shawn Burns

After three and a half years of looking forward to the most special time in a parent’s daily routine, I am sadly saying goodbye to naptime. We spent the last two months fighting with Erin to get her to stay in her bed, to stay in her room, to stay out of Adrian’s room, to stay out of Adrian’s crib, to stay out of Adrian’s face, and eventually we smartened up enough to realize that Erin was done with naps.

We were lucky enough, for a while, to have two kids on identical naps schedules. On weekdays this meant free time for me to work (watch “Mad Men”) or clean the house (watch “True Blood”) or do various home improvement chores (watch “Entourage”); on weekends this meant time alone with Emily so we could reconnect (watch “Royal Pains”). Now that Erin has stopped participating in the special Help Mommy And Daddy Relax Project 2010 I have had to figure out new and imaginative ways to keep Erin from getting into the medicine cabinet and drinking two ounces of children’s ibuprofen from a poorly-closed bottle and making me call poison control only to have them laugh at me. (True story, except for the laughing. Apparently there’s nothing to worry about before six ounces. So yay me.)

So here’s a little list of things you too can do once your child has decided to give up the nap and involve you in two more hours or parenting per day:

1) Buy some headphones, lock your bedroom door, and stream “Veronica Mars” on Netflix while the kid babysits herself in the kitchen, hopefully next to that cabinet where all the cleaning supplies are stored that you never did get around to child-proofing.

2) Buy some smaller headphones, lock your bedroom door, and play “Cars” for the kid in her own room on that portable DVD player you finally caved and bought right before the last road trip you went on.

3) Buy some crayons, and a Magic Eraser, lock your bedroom door and see if there’s a “Top Chef” rerun you can watch for an hour before you have to go see what art now decorates your walls.

4) Make sure your kid’s room is clean, lock your bedroom door and make bets with your partner about how many toys will be on the floor when you open the door again at a randomly selected interval.

5) Buy a webcam, Skype grandma, lock your bedroom door and let grandma babysit for an hour from the laptop in the living room. In fact, just have grandma come over while you and your partner flee to Vegas in order to cure a Man Cold.

I guess what I’m saying is…make sure the lock on your bedroom door works.