This article originally appeared on Perfection Pending.
My kids love their sleep – usually. Sometimes, they come up with a myriad of excuses why they aren’t tired, they don’t need to go to bed, and they can just hang out with me instead. When I ask them to please rest anyway, they find a wealth of other activities that are more fun. Or at least less sleep-inducing. Here’s a list of the inexhaustible opportunities my kids take advantage of when I think they’re sleeping…
1. Pooping. This is the most-used excuse for not napping I’ve ever heard of, in my house or other parents’. “Go to sleep!” “Nope, gotta poop.” I’d say that there’s a safe three times a week or more that I think all is quiet, and then I find someone on the toilet.
2. Playing dress up. Costumes are more imaginative than pajamas. Especially when your pajamas are Batman themed, and you have a mask and a cape that you just have to put with them!
3. Doing puzzles. Apparently it calms their minds. Or puts off the nap. Or something.
4. Meeting up with siblings. In the bathroom. Like 12-year-old girls skipping math class, they have somehow planned to meet up in 20 minutes without a clock to tell them it’s time.
5. Reading. I’m not usually upset at this one, but still. Reading isn’t sleeping. Put down Brown Bear, Brown Bear and get to sleep.
6. Blowing their noses. Or using annoying amounts of tissues for whatever other purpose they see fit (read: a pile on the floor). They must go through a box a week!
7. Shining flashlights. Or any other toy that has flashing lights. Or a random fiber optic wand that was a wedding favor.
8. Staging a coup. My son has a knack for pretending his “snuggle buddies” are saving the world. He has to act out a play where he is the superhero, and his “buddies” are either sidekicks, villains, or doggies in distress.
9. Singing. Loudly. Confidently.And I don’t mean lullabies. They’re typically blasting out the latest Disney ballad at the top of their lungs, complete with dance moves. I have dreams of Broadway.
10. Thinking deeply. I can always count on a profound statement or existential concern when I ask the kids what they’re thinking about when they aren’t sleeping. “Did you know that babies don’t have teeth when they’re born, Mama?”
11. Changing clothes. Their pajama pants were itchy or the tag in their shirt was scratchy. Or else they needed fresh underpants, and won’t tell me why.
12. Eating. They’ve either hoarded some fruit snacks, or pilfered some candy from the last holiday. I’ve found Starburst wrappers under their beds and pretzel crumbs crushed in their sheets.
13. Making messes. To be fair, the kids make messes all day, every day. But it’s that particular time frame where they’re in their rooms and I’m nowhere in sight that they perform the epic toy box explosions.
So if your kids are doing any (or all) these things instead of getting their recommended 14 hours during a 24-hour period, know you’re not alone. You’re in a good, sleepless company.