The current group of preschoolers taking afternoon naps includes some very light sleepers, a small Whirlwind, and one Belle Lugosi:
Miss Lugosi [not her real name], is three. She falls asleep with her arms crossed on her chest like the Boy King Tut.
The Whirlwind requires my assistance to fall asleep. I place dividers around his nap mat. I hold my hand on his back. It's like gradually moving the barbed wire fences closer and closer on all four sides of a Kansas tumbleweed.
Two three year-olds fall asleep with great difficulty, and only when I pretend to fall asleep in my beanbag chair between their nap mats. Their breathing and wiggles slow. Unfortunately, pretending to be asleep can lead to a very drowsy state of affairs.
Suddenly Miss Lugosi sits bolt upright with her arms extended rigid in front of her. Has Vincent Price called her to his Transylvanian castle? Eyes wide open, she murmurs something incoherent but loud enough to set off a wave of restlessness around the room. Then her body slumps, and it's obvious she's not really awake. She turns over and is sound asleep again.
This ripple sets off a wave of nappers sighing, changing position, tugging at blankies. The little Whirlwind is still out for the count, but others are closer to wakefulness.
As the children roll over and resettle, I'm reminded of waves. Sines. Cosines. That 1973 calculus class in the tiny, overheated subterranean classroom. Shifting bodies under blue fuzzy bunny blankets, each roll over in turn. I vaguely wonder how we used our slide-rules and logarithm tables, before returning to a near-nap state.
Why haven't I taken my camera to the SMU campus to photograph Santiago Calatrava's moving sculpture, "The Wave"? I'm often nearby, and will put it on my artist destination list, with an ETA before naptime.
© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder