One of my boys is a master sleeper. He’s been developing this skill since infancy, so he’s pretty good at it now that he’s an adult. I used to worry he had narcolepsy, but it turns out he just likes to use every last bit of energy until it’s gone…suddenly gone. Yes, it has caused some misfortune, but also, yes, it has caused some good laughs.
When he was a toddler, he would fight against every naptime. After a while, it was obvious he just wouldn’t sleep. Of course, his alter-ego, Mr. Sleepy Time, would show up every evening, sometimes very early in the evening. An example was his very first Halloween.
We had just come back to the States after a tour of Germany and in my case, a tour of the Mideast. We moved to Milwaukee and were able to go trick-or-treating again. For Mr. Sleepy Time, it was a revelation of sorts. He was a smart kid, one of those kids where you could almost see the gears turning in his mind as he discovered something.
My dad and I decided to take the kids out and we went to the first house next door. Mr. Sleepy Time held back as he watched his older siblings run-up to the door in their costumes and yell “Trick or Treat!” at the top of their lungs. He couldn’t have run if he wanted because I chose to unstuff a giant teddy bear and make it his costume…it was a bit cumbersome, but man oh man, was it cute! He was like a cross between Winnie the Pooh and that toilet paper teddy bear in the commercials. He watched carefully as his siblings ran back and showed the candy in their buckets. I quickly turned to look at his face so I could watch the gears turn. I was not disappointed. You could almost hear his thoughts and if he wasn’t a vocally challenged toddler, they would’ve went like this:
MR. SLEEPY TIME: I don’t know those people. I don’t want to run to their door. Boy, this bear suit is hot. Wait, what are they yelling? Why is that lady putting something in their buckets? Boy, this bear suit is really, really hot. What did she put in the buckets? Hey, look at that squirrel over there! Here come the buckets. Candy? Wait, candy? I wonder if that squirrel is as hot as I am? If I yell I get candy? CANDY!
After that, he plodded up to every door with his siblings. While they yelled “Trick or Treat,” he yelled, well, he just yelled. In fact, he plodded up to more doors yelling after his siblings took their over-flowing buckets home. They, no doubt, had some major headaches after all the yelling and wanted someplace quiet to assess their spoils. My dad and I kept asking the little bear if he was tired and he would just shake his head no. He was in this for the long haul and he had energy, or so he thought…it was about the 5th house after his siblings went home that my dad and I watched the event. Mr. Sleepy Time turned into the sidewalk leading to the front door of a house when he wobbled. It became a Dr. Seuss story.
The bear wobbled left,
And then wobbled right,
he wobbled back,
and gave such a fright!
He wanted gobstoppers,
and lip smackers too,
and the Whos of Whoville
knew not what to do!
The bucket it swayed,
and wobbled around,
and with Mr. Sleepy Time,
it fell to the ground!
He moved not an inch,
that lump of bear fur,
and soundly slept,
with a wheeze and a grrrrr!
This wasn’t the first time he fell asleep walking, but it was definitely one of the funniest! He had other adventures falling asleep, but one time was nearly fatal.
He was burning the candle at both ends when he was a teenager. He was a solid student with incredible grades, played football, ran track, and worked at a job. We had concerns he was doing too much, but he felt he needed to do this and really, what parent wants to stop a productive teenager?
It was after a long day of school, sports, and work that it happened. He had borrowed my truck to get around and was driving home from work. You guessed it…Mr. Sleepy Time showed up at a four-way stop intersection. He went through the stop sign and the crash woke him up. Luckily, nobody was hurt, and it was after then that he took his sleepy time issues more seriously.
Nowadays, if he gets tired driving, he pulls over. If he gets tired at night, he goes to sleep. If he visits us and we watch a movie, he goes to sleep. Seriously! We get 5 minutes into almost any movie and he’s down for the count. This is why I call him a master sleeper. He’s managed to coordinate his lack of ability to stay awake into something safe and manageable.
Possible moral of this story? Never walk a sleepy bear…but if you do, it’s funnier when you give them a full bucket of candy!