To Sleep, Perchance to Dream


Driving home from preschool recently, I realized it was quiet — too quiet — in the backseat. (Cue ominous music — dun dun dun!) I peeked in the rearview mirror and saw the kid equivalent of a double eclipse: Both kids, including my preschooler who hadn’t napped in months, had fallen asleep in the car.

I was so surprised I nearly drove off the side of the road.


Once I recovered from the shock — safety first! — my mind spun as fast as the wheels on my soccer-mom crossover Subaru. My girls, ages 9 months and almost 3, had never taken a tandem nap in the car, so I had no clue how to keep this miracle from fizzling.

But you, fellow parents, are in luck: I took notes, and have penned a handy guide of what you should do in the (unlikely) event your kids fall asleep in the car at the same time.

1. Keep driving
Because if you don’t ever let your foot off the gas, the kids may stay asleep, and that’s worth the inconvenience of driving most of the way to Montana.

2. Caffeinate
An acceptable exception to Rule 1 is stopping at the Starbucks drive-through. Just ask for an empty cup along with your venti. After all, you’ll need something to pee into.

3. Keep the car running.
Okay, so you drove home and parked. That’s okay. We’ll get through this. Leave the car, AC and music on, even if that means you are listening to Raffi by yourself. The kids’ nap is worth hearing Tingalayo again.


4. Turn your phone on silent.
Do not let the “ding!” from an ill-timed text ruin this.

5. Document
Take a photo of your kids sleeping. They look so cute passed out in their car seats! Also, this will probably never happen again, so you need proof.

6. Humble brag
This moment is definitely worth posting to Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat — whatever! This is also a good time to request a Starbucks delivery if you effed up and skipped Step 2.

7. Fantasize
This is the first time you’ve had uninterrupted “me time” during the day in, oh, who knows how long. Let your mind run wild with all the things you could do! (Text the friends you haven’t seen since Kid #2 was born! Write in that journal app you downloaded and never used! Delete the 197 photos of the carpet your kid took!)

8. Figure out if Wi-Fi extends to the garage.
Yes? Great. See if you can stream all those episodes of Orange is the New Black you never got to binge watch — but only if you have earbuds handy, obvi.

9. Update your status
It’s been approximately two minutes since you parked, and now both your kids are awake. One is crying, and the other is wiping bunny cracker-flecked drool from the side of her face. Before you head inside, update your post that your kids’ car nap was short-lived. But make sure to note that Starbucks deliveries are still welcome.

Catherine Ryan Gregory
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