I am throwing it back to the days when I would do anything to prevent a car nap from happening on our short drive back to home. But before I dive into what I did to blockade car sleep let's look at why I did the insane things I did.
When my son was around 4 months old, and we were really perfecting those nap schedules, I really valued putting him to sleep in his crib or pack n play. Why?
Because his long naps allowed me to have some “me time.” Moms, we know how important “me time” is. It’s like gold, and I wasn’t going to let a car nap take away my coveted time to myself.
So what happens when your baby falls asleep in the car on your fifteen minute drive home?
That catnap, even if it is only 5 minutes long, kills the sleep drive. That car nap sends signals to the brain: Hey, I am not sleepy anymore. That nap satisfied me. Let’s play!
Try to put your child to bed after a catnap, and he won’t have it. He’s ready to go! Then, you’re left trying to chase naps all day. It’s exhausting.
Unless you want to drive around for an hour and half, so your baby can get his full nap, follow these ways to prevent the dreaded car naps.
1. Tag Team It
If possible, enlist the help of a spouse, friend, or family member to come with you if you must go somewhere that might overlap with a nap. On your way back when it’s getting close to nap time, one person will ride Uber style in the back and the other person will be the chauffeur.
The person in the back has the job of keeping the baby awake by tickling baby, making loud sounds, or even lightly squirting water on the child.
The person driving has the responsibility to drive safely but not like a slow poke. Once home, one person takes the baby straight away to the nursery to start the nap routine while the other one is left unloading the car. Then, enjoy your alone time. You deserve it!
2. Rattle Car Keys
My last car had a keyless start, so I would rattle my keys incessantly anytime I saw my son start to drift off. One hand was safely on the wheel and the other shook those keys like my life depended on it. Henry’s head would snap right back up every time.
Did I feel cruel? A little. But not enough to warrant me to stop. After all, I was doing this for him, so he could have a nice long nap that left him well-rested and happy.
My rapacious rattling had nothing to do with my desire to lie down and read a book. When I got a new car and had to put my keys in the ignition, I banged my keychain against the dashboard as best I could.
Not as effective, but it still worked. I highly suggest purchasing one of those jingle bells and keeping it on hand in the car.
Want to take it up a notch? Belt Jingle Bells at the top of your lungs until you get home, and then you can sing Silent Night as you creep out of the nursery to enjoy some peace and quiet for a couple hours.
3. Talk in Whale
Yes, I am talking about Whale as in the whale speech in Finding Nemo. Before discovering Whale, I would narrate everything that was happening out loud to keep Henry awake.
Yet, adding in the dialect of an orca spices things up and piques Henry’s curiosity, so he’s more apt to hang on to witness Mommy’s newfound craziness.
To really get into the role, move your body back and forth like you actually believe you are a whale.
Mommy is making a right turn [bob body the right]. The car stops at the red light. Now it turns green and here we go. Vroom Vroom [Contort your body as if you are emerging out of the water to blow water out of your blowhole]. Now we are home, home, home. Time to sleep.
4. Activate Scream Mode
This one is very similar to talking in whale, but instead of narrating everything in Fish, you will recount all details of what you’re doing by screaming.
To extend this practice, you can see how loud you can scream your child’s name. For example, my son’s head would slowly drop.
He would snap back up. A short time later, his eyes would grow heavy and start to close.
Even louder that time. This headache inducing practice continues until you arrive home, and your child goes down for a nice, long nap, and Mama can kiss that headache goodbye as she kicks her feet up on the couch.
5. Roll Down the Windows
I have a saying, “When Henry’s eyes are no longer brown. It’s time to roll the windows down.” Super cheesy but effective.
As soon as those eyelids become heavy, I roll that window all the way down and let the air and noises flood into the car. Henry’s aroused from his short-lived slumber.
This strategy works even better when it’s raining, and those droplets can pelt Henry on the face. Then we arrive home and it’s to the windoooowwws to the beds. The sweat stops running down my head. All the mamas can now call their friends.
I hope these tips help!
Like the rest of the world I watch the news and bounce between crippling concern and glimmers of hope.
My heart aches for all the losses. The elderly man confined to his room. The ill patients fighting for a hospital bed.
The bone-weary doctors and nurses working around the clock hours. The workers in the service industry losing their tips and income. The small business owners grappling to make ends meet in creative new ways.
The parents stuck at home with children who are bored and confused. The seniors in high school and college who lost their last semester of childhood. The athletes whose last seasons have been ripped away from them. The administration and officials forced to make unprecedented decisions.
The terminally ill whose last few months are spent isolated from the beauties of the world. The pregnant women who face uncertainty and fear.
The couples who have diligently planned weddings during this time. The people who have worked hard and saved to take a much needed vacation only to have it taken away from them.
Yet, we will emerge from this. Some of us will be okay. Some of us will not. But despite all the negative, we can take away positives. We can learn from this. We can make gains. We can become better people. We can heal the world.
1. Reconnect with family and friends.
In the past few days we all have had to drastically slow down. For most of us work is no longer a priority. Our social calendar is nonexistent. We have no excuses. Call your mother. Call your grandparents. FaceTime. Create Google Hangouts. Work out together virtually. Create a Facebook group. Post your videos. Share your stories. Have a game night. Read aloud to your kids. Cuddle up to watch movies. Eat dinner together. Call rather than text your friends. Rediscover your spouse.
Life can get so hectic that our conversations with family and friends can be so superficial with nothing beyond the surface of just a quick, “Hi, how are you?” Now, we can have much needed dialogue. We can laugh, solve problems, divulge feelings, reminiscence, and listen to our elders’ stories from the past. This is what we have needed. Take advantage of it. Out of this can come healed relationships and deepened love for our friends and family.
2. Reach a goal or hone a skill
On a lighter note, we should all arise out of isolation as an expert in something. It could be that you learn magic or write a whole novel. If you have the time, try that new recipe, read those books on our shelf, or explore a computer program. The world is our oyster. Well, more like the things around our house are our oyster. Get motivated. Get disciplined. And get going. Who knows what the world has to gain from what you may learn?
3. Organize and clean.
Marie Kondo might have been so early 2019, but we need to channel our inner Ms. Kondo right now because we all desperately need some of 2019 in our life right now. Give your house that deep clean that it has always needed, but now you are doing it to get rid of the Corona. Throw away all the junk that is cluttering your life. Donate the excess. Sell what you don’t really need to make some extra money. The fresh makeover to your house will be translated to your actual life as you throw away all that waste and negative energy. When this is all over, you will be blossoming like a flower in the spring, and the world will gain from your beauty.
4. Take care of yourself
When is the last time you have prioritized yourself? When have you stopped to breath? For many of us the dots on our calendar have vanished in a blink of an eye. The stress of performing at work and overcommitting ourselves have seeped away in plain sight. Focus on you. Meditate. Sleep. I’m not just talking about your average 8 hours of sleep. I mean the good sleep. The sleep where you lie in bed until at least 9:00 AM and then nap again two hours later. Paint your nails. Wear a face mask. Take a bubble bath. Slow down and breath. And then use this latest calmness when you reenter the world. I am hoping we will all surface with a little more Zen in our lives. Namaste, Isolators.
5. Teach your children
Parents everywhere have suddenly become their children’s primary teachers. Something they may not have realized they always were. These moms and dads might not excel in math or science or English, but they can use this time to teach their children core values that will make them better humans when they leave their cocoons and return to their lives.
Responsibility in being good world citizens and doing their part in curbing this pandemic. Teach them that being responsible is not always fun, but it is the right thing to do.
Gratitude for all that they have and for all that they can gain during this time of great fear and uncertainty.
Generosity to those in need. No matter how bad they feel they’ve got it, someone is hurting worse than them. Teach your children to be generous with their time, talent, and wealth.
Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope to be not afraid. Hope that good will prevail. Hope for the world.
And finally, teach them to pray. To give up all their sorrow, fears, worries, and grievances and place them in God’s hands. To pray for all the leaders, the sick and dying, the poor of heart. And when they are done praying, teach them to be silent and listen, for the world is calling us to do something right now.