The One Simple Thing That Makes Three-Year-Olds Unhuman

"And all other duties as assigned"

“And all other duties as assigned”

I have had a long weekend. I mean, yeah, it’s Labor Day and all, so obviously I’ve had a long weekend. What I mean is that I would give my left arm for a nap right now. Since Friday, my work has been holding its biggest fundraiser of the year, a three-day music festival all over Memphis. While my duties at the festival aren’t nearly as substantial as some others – I spent the better part of Sunday afternoon blowing up 50 promotional beach balls – I’m still tired.

This morning, I posted a Labor Day message to my work’s Facebook page wishing all of our fans a Happy Memorial Day.


As per the usual, I am blaming my pretty much constant exhaustion and apparent inability to decipher the bookends of summer from one another on my child and her inability to appreciate the glories of sleep. On Saturday and Sunday morning, she came into my bedroom at 6:30 in the morning to notify me (at full, angry volume) that she was

a. awake;

b. mad that I was not awake;

c. in need of food. NOW.

After being yelled at for what felt like 35 minutes, B and I got up and nourished the young and drank approximately five gallons of coffee apiece.

When you are a parent, it is the small things that matter. Your child giving you an unexpected hug. The teacher telling you that she participated well during circle time. Getting through a bath without having a bucket of water intentionally dumped on your lap.

So it is with naps. Naps are, arguably, the most important hour of your day. In the remarkably short window of one to two hours, you insure that your child will behave like a human for the remainder of the day. When she nails her naps, she feels better and has even told you so when she was in a (rare) good mood. In our home, we refer to those moods as “seeing a unicorn;” ie, “Seen any unicorns today?” “Alas, no, nary a one.”


Miracles do happen.

Yet, for reasons that I cannot even begin to comprehend, three-year-old children are acutely allergic to sleeping. This afternoon for Memorial Labor Day, we are going to Memphis’ new Bass Pro Shop with my brother for his birthday*. Cee is really excited about this, but I told her we couldn’t go until she took a nap.

*No, it really is his birthday. I’m not confused about that one.

Her response?

“I guess I don’t want to have a birfday party for Unca Twevor then.”

We finally got her to take a nap after reading 23 books, answering 17 questions about sharks, singing 4 songs, and agreeing to lie down next to her bed so she wouldn’t feel so lonely. The level of orchestration surrounding this everyday occurrence boggles my mind, but what is more baffling is that the child wasn’t begging to go to sleep on her own.

It’s for this reason that I’m pretty sure three-year-olds aren’t actually humans. Or at least that they all need to go out and get jobs.


  1. justanothercrazygirl · · Reply

    I love it. As much as this all sounds all too familiar – I miss it. My lil girl is 9 going on – too old for my liking, too independent and too smart. x

  2. Haha! My little sister used to be just like this, they really do have superhuman qualities!

  3. mother of jack · · Reply

    This is great. My son is four and he just never stops. He stopped napping last year, but I actually don’t mind. Naps were actually really hard for me because I’d usually fall asleep with him and then it was SUPER hard for me to get up and back into the groove when he was finished. I just wanted to nap all the way until the next morning…

    It also totally meant we could never do anything because the nap always cut right into the middle of our day.

    Yeah, I don’t miss the naps at all.

  4. Been there, done that. They do eventually sleep. Late, even. Until then, I will make you coffee on those early mornings.

  5. You only want what you can’t have. So adults, who are much too busy, crave the idea of a nap while children, who are made to lie down for them, detest them!

  6. Ha! I’m sure given the opportunity blowing up 50 beach balls would put her to sleep. So cute!

  7. And then they don’t nap at all. That’s why they have to go to school!

  8. Now that he’s one, it’s high time my boy start drafting his CV.

  9. Ha ha! “seeing a unicorn” Hope you spot one today :)

  10. My mom always told us we had to “rest” for half an hour after lunch. Just “Rest”, not “Nap”. Worked every time. It also helps if you tell her she can’t nap until she finishes…well, whatever comes to mind at the moment.

  11. Such a challenge. It’s like kids think they are done with nap, but us parents know better. My son is phasing out of naps. The good thing is that he goes to bed early and easily. Occasionally my daughter will fight her nap, but she definitely still needs one. So do I ;)

  12. Hi! I am new here, and I have no experience when it comes to motherhood. But my nephew is 3, and I completely agree with you. I don’t even know where they get all that energy from! I think 3 year olds are partial obnoxious cats who don’t give a dime about their human. :D

  13. I always confuse Labor Day and Labor day. And I agree, they definitely need to get jobs!

  14. officialvirtualgigs · · Reply

    Seeing your kids happy is the best gift ever.

  15. Still so cute, what a ball of energy!
    Enjoy the time now…
    Mine are a bit older, 9&12, after school, sports, homework and dinner they are exhausted. :)

  16. It’s easy to forget, now that I’m over the age of 50 and no one has given me a grandchild (bitter much?), how unhuman 3-year olds are. Thanks for reminding me.
    PS – No, I don’t nag my kids about having grandchildren. On the contrary I’m proud they’re responsible enough to wait until they’re ready. But I do bitch about it behind their back!

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