If you’re reading this you know I am a writer. If you’ve read my past blogs you know that I’m a teacher. If you looked a little deeper, and you might be surprised by this one, I am also a stay-at-home dad. I mean, I don’t just stay at home, in fact I make sure to the leave the house at least once a day. My son Jack, who is not yet sixteen months old, likes breathing fresh air, and doing domestic chores with me. We also go to gymnastics together, the science museum, parks when the weather permits, and of course the library. Activities; we call them adventures, make for a longer nap,
It’s an interesting life, well, year actually. I’m doing it for one year, and then my wife and I make the switch again. I’m very thankful for this tough job, this year with my beautiful boy.
Today’s topic deals with a specific category of nap time that I call cocooning Everyone would be better off with nap-time, but toddlers need it. If he doesn’t nap he risks becoming overtired, this leads to more sleeplessness at night; truly a vicious cycle. These past fifteen months have been consumed by bowel movements, skin rashes, diagnosing coughs, learning to crawl, stand, walk, and yes - talk. “Mama” and “Dada” are magical titles, and the discovery of a well formed bowel movement, after dealing with consecutive days and nights of diarrhea, can border on a mystical experience. Sleep, in a sense, affects, and is affected by, all of the wonderful moments.
Lately, because it’s been so brutally cold, I put Jack in a very thick down jacket. It is his cousin’s old jacket and it is awesome. The garment is a sleeping bag with arms.
When we hit the cold of the garage some primal reaction takes place where he appears to become numb. In the car he comes alive a little and removes his hat, probably not out of defiance, but more out of a desire to exercise yet another new skill. I turn up the heat and turn on talk radio. Jack’s face is small and soft, wrapped in the thick red hood that stayed on despite the hat’s removal. We begin to drive and within minutes his eyelids grow heavy.
“Ahhhh… sweet sleep,” I say to myself. I don’t mind too much if he falls asleep for a little while, but we have to save the real fatigue for home. A brief nap proves to me that he is capable of more down-time in his crib. Looking in the rearview, and seeing his peaceful state, I suddenly long for the same experience.
My mummy bag is red like Jack’s jacket. It was once as puffy. I lived out of a truck and backpack years ago, and spent almost every night one year in Utah with my face to the stars, wrapped in my fluffy casing, regenerating cells, and exploring my sub-conscious. I would wake with a face like Jack’s; wide eyed, hungry, and ready to take on the world. When Jack is older I plan on sharing astronomy with him, shoulder to shoulder, bundled up like babies at rest on the Earth with eyes to the heavens. For now I experience the cozy cocoon feeling vicariously, as I look in the rearview mirror, and see my son’s precious little face drifting off into the world of sweet dreams.
Virtual avatars are the coolest until Han is introduced to the reality of MMA, hybrid assassins, Monkey Kung-Fu, and his own father.