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Catch those naps while you can

 Posted: 8:05 AM June 10, 2013

This is the first week of summer vacation for my son, Silas, who is now "officially" a fourth-grader. Silas enjoyed third grade as much as was humanly possible for him, but he certainly enjoys summer vacation more. He counted down the remaining days of school with the kind of strict attention usually only given to an Advent Calendar while waiting for Christmas.

Somehow Silas managed to get home early on the very last day of school, which was already only a half-day devoted to playing games on the field and trying to clear out the boxes of lost and found items. I was supposed to meet Silas at the school to walk home with him for his last day, but he was already almost home before the final bell had even rung. Silas promises me that he looked through the lost and found diligently and did not find any of his various sweatshirts and lunch boxes there. I think Silas' idea of diligent perusing of items is equivalent to walking past them while on his way to the bathroom, possibly with his head turned in the general direction.

Honestly, I'm sure the lunch boxes have been missing for so long at this point that I would never have the courage to face whatever leftovers are hanging out in the bottom of them, and Silas has been outgrowing his clothing at such a rapid pace that any sweatshirt discovered and brought home would probably have gone straight into the donation pile anyway. The only thing that I will truly miss is something Silas would never have come across in his school's lost and found; my daily (and sometimes twice daily) naps.

It was a sad day for me when my baby grew up and got too old to take a nap during the day. I think some parenting books suggest that while children nap is a good time to try to get various household chores accomplished. If you are a new parent and reading this column I'm going to give you some valuable advice: Those books are lying to you. There will come a time in your child's nap-life that even the slightest sound will wake them up and they will wander out of their bed, much more curious about what you're doing than in trying to go back to sleep. There is no way to put away laundry, dishes or vacuum while being totally silent.

In fact, I can only think of one good activity that's completely silent — napping. When your baby, toddler or over-tired small child finally falls asleep, I would like to suggest that you just go ahead and catch some z's yourself (though my friends would claim that my naps are far from silent. Apparently I have a small problem with talking in my sleep).

There is a small, sad gap between when your child ages out of naps and before they start school. This is my excuse for occasionally taking both a morning and afternoon nap while Silas is at school. I'm making up for several years of lost personal nap time. Between my naps I am incredibly productive. I usually am able to watch not one, but two episodes of "Dr. Phil" before falling back asleep.

Now summer vacation is upon us. I look forward to taking Silas on some little vacations, going swimming at Emigrant Lake, and playing at the swimming reservoir at Lithia Park. I'm excited about hot days with dripping ice cream cones and taking Silas to see a play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Between my list and Silas's we have a whole lot to do between now and the first day of fourth grade. Unfortunately, I just don't think napping is going to be one of them.

Zoe Abel is preparing for summer by packing up the pillows and blankets from her couch and loading the car with sand toys and towels. You can contact her at

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