Putting a two-year-old down for a nap (or, World War III every afternoon)

“Bubby, time to go down for a nap.”

“No, I wanna play.”

“You can play after your nap. Now, set your sucker down, you can finish it after your nap.”

[He sets the sticky sucker on the chest at the foot of the bed, and climbs in.]

“Okay, you stay here with mama and go to sleep.”

The phone rings. Everyone converges in the kitchen to answer it. Kate takes it, and I head back to my office. Saylor follows me.

“Dad, tomorrow, Nana’s coming to see me… and Pops is coming later.”

“I know bud. Hey, you wanna jump on the bed?” [BIG mistake]

“Yeah! But you move your stuff off it first.”


He commences jumping. Moments later—it’s as if she can see through walls—Kate texts me, “Saylor is supposed to be in bed.”


“Okay, bud, let’s go to bed.”

“I don’t want to take a nap.”

“I know, but can I explain to you why you need to take a nap?”


I explain it to him. He doesn’t care.

“Now, do you want Mommy to get in bed with you, or do you want to get in bed by yourself?”

“By Momself.”

“By yourself?”

“No, Mommy.”

“You want Mommy to get in bed with you?”

“No, I want Mommy to get in bed.”

“Without Daddy?”

“Mommy get in bed, but not Daddy, and not Bubby.”

“No, buddy, you have to get in bed. Do you want Mommy to come with you?”


I tuck him in bed.

“Now, if you need anything, call for Mommy, and she can help you. But don’t get up, or you’ll get a spanking.”

Minutes later…


I respond.

“What do you need, bud?”

“I need… potatoes.”

“No, you’re not getting potatoes. You can eat when you wake up from your nap. And you can have your sucker when you wake up too.”

“I want some juice.”

“Nope, no juice. Go to sleep.”

“I need some water.”

“Ok, I’ll bring you some water.”

I bring a cup of water, and lift his head to help him drink it.


“Sorry buddy, I’m trying to help you lift your head so you don’t spill it.”

He spills it. On his shirt, and on the bed.

“Ohhhh! It spilled! It’s on my shirt!”

“Ok, ok, here, let’s take your shirt off. I’ll dry you off.”

“It’s on the bed.”

“I know it is, it’s okay. I’ll hang your shirt to dry while you sleep. It’s okay.”

I move the pillows to cover the wet part of the sheet.

“Buddy, do you want another shirt?”

“No… I want another shirt.”

I get the shirt and help him put it on.

“I wanna sleep in my bed.”


“I wanna sleep in my bed.”

“No you don’t. Okay, fine, but if I put you in there, you’re not getting out.”

He ponders.

“I wanna sleep here.”

I tuck his stuffed animals around him, and 20 minutes later I check on him. He’s snoring softly.

Easy peasy.


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3 Responses to Putting a two-year-old down for a nap (or, World War III every afternoon)

  1. Daniel Way says:

    Ah yes, I remember clearly my dad putting me in bed for a nap on a Saturday or Sunday, telling me I was one of the “lucky ones” who got to take a nap. I thought, he is so wrong. Turns out, he was so right! Enjoy these times.

  2. Trying to be logical with an illogical being will forever be a struggle. haha

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