Once upon a time, a child turned and said, “Dad, why is that every time Mommy gets tired I have to take a nap?”
That story generally brings a smile to our faces because it helps us see an interesting facet of life: parental logic. A child may never understand, but the need to take a nap will depend occasionally more on the energy reserve of the parent than that of the child. Why? Because when the parent hits the metaphorical brick wall and has to get sleep for sanity or other health-related reasons, that sleep can only be restorative when there is secure knowledge that the child is safe. That is parental logic at work, and it isn’t as crazy as we might think at first.
Sometimes, though, the logic doesn’t really seem to work. I’ve been pondering one of those cases for much of the last month. When Elisa goes down for a nap, sometimes she gets mad, throws a fit, and cries. Sometimes, she sees the swaddling cloth, gets antsy, and cries. Sometimes she seems to know exactly what is going on and just drops off to sleep. In all of these cases, I conclude, with parents’ logic, that she was ready for a nap.
In the first case, I simply state, “Since she gets mad at a little thing like being put down for a nap, that is evidence that she is way too tired. She needs this nap.” In the second case, I reason that since she is unsure of what to do or how to react to something she has done hundreds of times, she must be too tired to cope with the world. The time has for a nap. In the last case, I simply figure that since she isn’t fighting it, she must know that she is tired and needs a nap to feel better. In other words, all circumstances lead to the same conclusion: she needs a nap.
Once we, as parents, have determined the time has come for her to nap, down she goes. We use the circumstances surrounding her going down for the nap—whatever they are—as part of the reason for putting her down to sleep. That is parental logic at its best. I’ve summarized it to myself as, “Napped if you and Napped if you don’t.” Isn’t parental logic great?