I sometimes joke that I am one missed nap away from a mental breakdown. Usually the person I’m talking to replies, “Oh, kids not sleeping well?” And then I say, “I’m talking about meneed a nap.” When I say this to someone, they always look at me funny and go, “Then…take a nap?” Oh because it’s that easy.

James still takes a long afternoon nap, and I pretty much gear my entire day towards that glorious two-hour stretch of time when I can relax my eyes. And by relax my eyes, I mean not have my eyes on James constantly. He basically spends every waking moment trying to hurt himself. I think he needs therapy.

Anyway, when James starts getting sleepy, I get all crazy and basically shoot dagger eyes at anything that makes noise, like Rigby or Annabel or the refrigerator. James can sleep through anything, but he can’t fall asleep through anything. So I start bribing the noisemakers. I offer my pillow to Rigby – she loves putting her butt anywhere my face has been. I give Annabel a baggie of snacks, a thermos full of liquid, and a grip of paper and crayons and tell her this is her super-special private time to be in the playroom all alone. Because she’s a big girl. Then I close the doors, get James down, and think, “Now’s my chance for that nap.”

Except then I realize Annie is drawing, James is sleeping, Rigby is rubbing her butt on my pillow…no one is in the kitchen! I can eat something without sharing it! So I do, and it is glorious. Then I get the mail, and open a catalogue I never signed up for and will never buy anything from but still must! read!  from cover to cover. Then I think, “Well, if I’m not going to nap, I should get some work done.” I sit down in front of my computer and suddenly I can’t keep my eyes open.

I say to myself, “Heath [I call myself Heath], you need to nap because you can’t turn in a writing assignment where every fourth word is ‘oq2u389r’ because your head hit the keyboard. You deserve this nap. You’re worth it.” I’ll then peek in on James (still sleeping) and Annie (still eating/drinking/coloring), then move Rigby off of my pillow and close my eyes.

Two seconds later I hear, “Mom? Mom? MOM. Are you sleeping? Your eyes are closed, are you sleeping? I had a question about cereal.”

I swear, she can HEAR me close my eyes.

It never, ever fails that the child who can play for hours by herself suddenly needs to talk to me the second I can finally nap. But I need that nap more than she needs to know where cereal comes from, so I up my bribe game. Marshmallows. Pretzels. A movie. The iPad. My credit card and online shopping. ANYTHING for that nap, you know?  None of those things are as enticing as poking mom when her eyes close.

And then James wakes up.

So I can’t take a nap…but the good news is I haven’t had that mental breakdown. Yet. I think.

At least someone is napping.