Parenting through naps and magic

a napping napper napsReading Leo a flier for Invention camp describing campers activities on Planet Zaq rebuilding their crashed spaceship he asks if camp is really on another planet. I can imagine the Mercedes symbol of the pie chart of his mind…equal parts hopeful excitement, fearful anticipation, and sinking realism. He is between these worlds still, magic and science and schedules and infinity.

Oliver rarely naps. Both boys, all three of my family members nap less than me in fact, but something was tiring this weekend, and while I went to the airport to pickup Granny Oliver fell asleep in my bed, ninja mask on.

He woke up enough to stagger to the couch, moan a bit and bury his head next to my legs. He wove between sleep and wakefulness for a bit. Then he was up. Displaying ninja moves, contrasting the merits of board games, and putting the finishing touches on his birthday wish list. That list at least remains fixed for now. Lego star wars, lego ninjago, and bey blades.

Today at indoor soccer I sat chatting with another mom on the bench. Oliver bumped his blue fleece clad self into my legs and I stretched my arms to scoop him up. At first I couldnt understand why his head was out of the reach of my lips. Then I realized. The cluster of friends waiting for soccer to begin. None attending to him in reality but always observers in his mind. My first spurned kiss. I felt…fine. I knew things would be different at home, at least for now.

I am trying to wake up. Like Oliver from his nap I am trying to wake up to live my life. The nap isnt unpleasant. In fact it feels easier than being awake. It hurts sometimes to wake up, all you want is the comfort of your dream state. And still I am trying to wrest myself out of bed.

Not all of my senses work in my dream state. It is like living as a passenger on a train, the characters, setting, events of my life seen through the window as we speed by. I can get off at stops, but it keeps moving. Always forward. Always with a destination in mind. As I type I realize tht I am right on top of the “life is the journey” (idiom? metaphor? saying?) Overused I guess. I hope the train has a really good dining car.

At its best it is liberating not to have a destination. From adolescence on I’ve been waiting to see where I would end up. As if it would happen to me. As if everything along the way was scenery.  We are all going to end up in the same place. We are born with no rupees and we die with no rupees.

In a mostly lovely 28 hour visit my mother broke a glass, a plate and a coffee press. How? First by being helpful. She did two or more rounds of dishes in little more than a day. Also by rushing. We are rushers she and I. Although part of being awake is realizing that we are not any one thing. Historically we look ahead. Arrive early for flights. Take off our seatbelts blocks before arriving home. Oliver too is a looker aheader. He wears his clothes for the next day to bed. (and yes, predominantly this is because he doesnt really ever change back when he did change daily he would change at night.) Once we wake up in the morning we are UP. These three generations of us, heads busy, up with the first light. We know what is coming next. We know what SHOULD be coming next. We have the train schedule after all.

So this idea of moving back and forth between two worlds, Oliver in his literal nap, me in my figurative one, Leo in his changing consciousness feels like a more full description than the train metaphor. It feels more engaged.  The duality of two worlds may be twice as big as the train metaphor but it is still linear. Life is not linear.

Like the infinity in a finite space of my fathers scholars rocks life is never fixed. Our physical and emotional selves. Evolving. (crap I hate that word.) Our relationships, work identities, spirtual affiliations. Our realities change in slight and extreme ways all the time. But we miss it. We create one main storyline for ourselves, or maybe allow ourselves a range. This is still too limiting.

See you on planet Zaq.


ps. If you are wondering where all of this is coming from there are many answers. Here are two. I am giving a talk  (Wednesday March 13 7pm Pasadena) about my father’s collecting, which always makes me think about him and his eschewing of virtually all social norms. And I am reading.

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Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble,, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at

3 thoughts on “Parenting through naps and magic”

  1. I’m not exactly sure why this post makes me think of this, but what it evokes is my idea of the afterlife. Which is this: an endless, leisurely dinner party where we all sit around and talk about what we did and said and saw and what we really meant. But here on earth, there on Zaq, it’s just forward, at whatever speed we’re moving, however awake we are, in whatever manner we are, at any given time. You’re kissing your kids, you’re there and watching and asking. It’s all right.

  2. Reading this made me thing about movement. And, fast movement. I seem to have been doing A LOT of that lately. Not necessarily planned, or even well thought out – heck, I may have the train schedule – but I’m not consulting it. Thoughtful approaches are needed, here anyhow.

    Good read, Anna… and thought provoking in an un-linear way!

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