Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Nap Flap

Nap Flap
Lucinda Ferrara

For most stay-at-home moms, naptime is the most anticipated time of the day.

During this hopefully-fingers-crossed-pray-to-God-at-least-two-hour time period, a mother is free to do whatever she wants, so long as she's quiet. She can read In Touch magazine, for example, or indulge in some long division. She can knit or blog or revise her treatise on achieving world peace. It is the only time of day in which said mom removes the shackles of motherhood and has a few quiet minutes to herself.

So when the sanctity of naptime is violated and precious baby is woken by Infernal Noise after only a few minutes of sleep, the resulting frustration is enough to make even the sanest mom run screaming into the cul-de-sacs of her subdivision without looking first for oncoming minivans.

I rarely question my own sanity (not counting my impulsive purchase of a Von Dutch trucker's hat two years ago, which I wore, redfaced, all of one time), but when I put Baby down for a nap, I swear I become a raving lunatic.

For one thing, I creep around the house like an unemployed mime, flinching at every noise I hear. My husband and stepdaughters have grown all too familiar with my mincing steps, pained expression, and elaborate, "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh... The baby's sleeping!"

I'm actually shocked that they're so good natured about the fact that I've become a Naptime Nag. Because Naptime Nags can be very unpleasant to have around.

Just ask the workmen next door who were doing a little termite repair carpentry in my neighbor's driveway a few days ago. As they laughed and hammered alongside Baby's window, I lifted the window in the next room an inch and put my lips up to the screen.

"Hey wiseguys, could you shut up!" I stage whispered.

"Wha???" one of them said, looking around.

"Over here," I said quietly, waiting until they located my mouth through the crack in the window sill.

"I've got a baby in here trying to sleep and you're not helping things."

"Hey look, lady, we gotta work," one of them said. I quickly realized I was going to have to up the ante.

"A... a sick baby," I clarified, feeling a little guilty about my whopper. No, wait, I, I mean Baby, needed complete quiet, dammit!

"Yeah, she's sick with a really bad cold. And she hasn't slept in three days."

"Three days?" the other guy said uncertainly.

"Four days!" I whispered frantically. "Maybe a week! It's hard to say. I just need quiet!"

The men exchanged worried glances.

"Maybe we'll just come back in a few hours, huh?" One of them finally said.

"Good. Great. Bye," I smirked, shutting the window.

Mission accomplished.

But I'm not always this successful. And that's when the, um, crap hits the fan.

For example, our neighborhood trash men always choose naptime to visit my street.
What's worse, the driver generally parks his garbage truck right in front of Baby's room before hitting the compactor button and prompting a five-minute grinding that could only be compared with the sound Godzilla made as he lay dying after a particularly gruesome battle with King Kong.

Within 30 seconds of this aural monstrosity, Baby is awake and crying.

One day, I'd finally had enough. Grabbing Baby, I angrily stormed out the front door and into my front yard.

"Look what you've done!" I fumed as Baby wailed in my arms.

Glancing over at me, the driver turned off his compactor.

"Whadja say?" he shouted.

"You nincompoops!" I shouted. "You've woken up my baby for the 3rd time in a month!! What is wrong with you?!"

The driver turned and fumbled in his passenger seat before leaning out the window and handing me a business card.

"You Naptime Nags are all alike," he said, shaking his head before putting his truck in gear and driving away.

Scowling, I read the card.

"PDC Waste Removal cannot be held responsible for waking babies during naptime. We thank you for your patronage," it read.

Clearly, I wasn't the first case of mommy rage these guys had encountered.

All right, all right. I can feel your disbelief radiating off the page right now. I admit, I made the whole thing up. At least the parts involving strangers.

But you have to understand that this is what makes me a true naptime lunatic. Because even though I don't actually have these stand-offs, I fantasize about them all the time.

In my head, I've marched outside and sledgehammered lawnmowers. I've given Noisy Man across the street a piece of my mind ("Are you under house arrest or something?! Why can't you leave your freakin’ yard when you want to talk to someone?!") I've muzzled dogs. I've established a no-fly zone over my house. All in the name of a little peace and quiet. I'm sick. I know. But I'm not alone... am I?

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