I have very strong memories of napping with my mother. I must have been three, because it was before I started school at age four. Mom would climb into the bed next to me, lie on her side, throw her top leg over both of mine in some kind of wrestling hold, and brandish a wooden spoon. I knew she meant business; and I knew I was supposed to sleep whether or not I was tired.
Those memories came rushing back the other day as I dragged myself upstairs at that most groggy of times, about a half hour after lunch, to find two of my nappers giggling in their sister's top bunk. I set the four-year old back into her bed and dragged the three-year old into my bed. "You will nap with me," I said. "Lie still and be quiet. I am tired."
This is the three-year old. Perhaps I was expecting too much?
(This is a picture taken by a sibling. It always surprises me how the face angles and shapes look so different when the photographer is under 10. Is this really what they look like to each other?)
Anyway. Suffice it to say that that was the most aggravating, irritating, unproductive forty-five minute "nap" in recent memory. That child flub-bubbed my lips, fluttered my eyelashes, back-combed my eyebrows, poked my cheeks, and then ended it all by wetting two fingers and placing them at the end of my nostrils. There is nothing like the smell of slobber suffocating you to wake you from a shallow attempt at slumber.
And then it hit me: my mother's wrestling hold? The wooden spoon? Those were not to get me to sleep; those were weapons of defense! Those were not to aid my napping; they were to aid hers!
But that little three-year old will not be joining me for a nap anytime soon. Or if he does, there will be several precautionary measures taken. (But first I must procure a hockey mask.)