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Challenge: Sleep Solutions

Don't. Skip. Naptime. Just Don't. Ever.

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I'm closely watching the little guy this afternoon, as we wait in the waiting room for his sister to be seen by the doctor. He missed his nap today and shit could go down. His ramming of the cars into the walls has me nervous. His destructive behaviors are enough to handle on a good day, today could be the day his skin turns green and he explodes out of his baby gap tee because I tell him not to do something.

As I feared, full on meltdown when I asked him to please not bang the cars into the walls. There goes a car across the room, missing someone's grandmother by six inches. Now cue flopping fish-out-of-water syndrome. I should have listened to my Momma survival instincts, grabbed the volatile little hulk and his sister and gotten the hell out of there. But no.

The nurse calls us in, which distracts the tired mini psychopath toddler and all is cool for the next thirty seconds. As the nurse is trying to get my daughter's weight, little man is jumping on and off the scale, reveling in the aggravation he is causing. I swoop him up and pretend like I can control this little human being. I put him in my lap to which he starts screaming "Dooooown!", while the nurse is on her third attempt to get his sister's blood pressure.

Now we are in our assigned room. My daughter starts to undress and put on the gown set out for her. Naturally, the little man kicks off his shoes, the pants go down and I tackle him with a sad, desperate bear hug, in an attempt to keep the rest of his clothes on. The doctor walks in and is obviously startled by the WWF throw down going on. I laugh because I want to cry and explain, "He's fine, I swear. He just missed his nap today."

My daughter jumps up on the exam table as requested. Satan's little helper becomes obsessed with climbing on and jumping off of said table. I'm sweating from trying to keep the crazy one from leaping into a face full of concrete. All the while, the doctor is asking me about my five year-old daughter's diet and I'm telling her for the fourth year in a row, "She doesn't do well with vegetables."

I again pull my son off the table when he begins practicing his favorite new trick - spitting. The doctor is obviously disgusted and my immediate reaction is a quick smack to his butt. So now, not only am I paying half-ass attention to what the doctor is asking me, I just spanked my child in front of her. She couldn't be clearer in her "don't spank" stance. Awkward.

The doctor attempts to continue her exam by looking in big sister's ears. Little bother is sitting quietly behind her on the exam table, for once. And then, he pushes her. The doctor damn near shoves the ear light/ thingy into her skull. I get the dirtiest "can you please control your damn kid" look I've ever gotten. I want to die and just start randomly shouting that parental control over tired toddlers is a farce.

I apologize profusely and firmly plant the boy in a chair. I shove my cell phone into his tiny (almost) two-year-old hands, just as the doctor is informing me that at five years-old, I should still be limiting my daughter's screen time.

The doctor leaves and my daughter announces that she has to go to the bathroom. At this point, I would rather lick a germ infested shape sorter than take the ticking-time-bomb-boy out of this confined space. I tell her the bathroom is just down the hall and to go ahead without me, I'll be right in our doorway and she'll see me as soon as she comes out.

Well, raging bull saw an open door and charged. I fly after him but it's too late. He opens the door to the next exam room, where another doctor is seeing a patient. The doctor gasps, the boy laughs, I cringe and apologize. I run with him back to our room and shut the door. The doctor from next door enters our room and “politely” asks me to keep my child in our assigned room. Thanks, doc...I'll work on that. Oh and did I mention, he didn't nap today.

As I rest my head on the arm pressed against the door to keep him from escaping again, I remember my daughter! I grabbed the boy and open the door. I walk out with a "where's my freakin' kid" look on my face and the little man flailing and screaming on my hip because I won't let him run. A staff member sees me and asks, "Are you the mother that lost her kid?" I fight the urge to spew sarcasm all over the judgmental stranger "rescuing" my daughter. Apparently, while I was wrangling the boy from another patient's room, his sister got lost in a hallway. My bad.

The nurse finally shows up. I jokingly tell her to hurry up and shoot up my daughter, as I'm handing my son (the little person practically dry humping my leg in an attempt to be held) my phone. My parenting choice and humor was lost on Nurse Ratchet.

Inoculation accomplished, I grab the monsters and head to check out. As I'm scheduling my daughter's next visit, I'm reminding the kids they are only allowed one sticker. The turd and his sort-of behaving sister start fighting over who has more stickers. I decline a reminder card and inform my children with my eyes that we are leaving NOW!

I grab little man by one hand and part walk, part drag him out of the office. His sister is whining because his other hand is full of stickers, meanwhile she only has six. With a total Momma on the edge voice, I tell her life isn't fair. She doesn't push it.

We survived the doctor's visit, barely. I load the kids up and vow to never, ever let nap time slide again. I throw the truck in reverse and look behind me, just in time to see my baby boy closing his eyes. Sleep you sweet little monster, just sleep.

**This essay was included in the Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness: Mom Stories from the Trenches: A Second Edition Monkey Star Press Anthology

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