Daddy Needs A Nap

A Poem For A Children's Book For Dads

Daddy lights the city lights.
Every night he works
To make sure each bulb is snug in its hub.
He says, “It could be worse.

I could, after all, have no job at all,
Or work in a place, perhaps,
That doesn’t afford what daddy adores:
That’s plenty of break time for naps!”

He means it, because when daddy was
A toddling little kid
When afternoon fell, he’d sleep for a spell,
No matter what else he did.

And so through the years he perplexed his peers,
In school, in college, and so on,
By napping each day. “It’s important!” he’d say,
Half-asleep on the couch with his clothes on.

When Daddy was wed to Mommy, it’s said
She took all his napping in stride,
But when they met Baby, it seemed that between son and sleep,
Dad’d have to decide.

Oh sure, at first, the kid could be coerced
To sleep right on Daddy’s own tum,
But Baby grew bigger, and louder and quicker,
And naps became few, if they’d come.

“Let’s lay down and sleep,” the Daddy would weep,
“You’re running us ragged, my boy.”
But Baby just ran, and foiled Dad’s plans,
And gleefully burbled with joy.

The parents were puzzled to see their kid hustle
Instead of just getting some sleep.
Though Baby couldn’t talk, deep in his thoughts
Was one belief planted so deep:

“A Baby am I, and daily am I
Surprised by the world so brand new,
With so much to learn, and hours to burn,
And so many fun things to do!

Why on Earth would I nap when instead I could clap
My brand new incredible hands
And sing you my song all afternoon long,
And use these new legs in a dance?”

The Daddy, without his beloved timeouts,
Began to show signs of his stress:
The city at night started looking a fright,
The lightbulbs a disjointed mess.

“I’ll just sneak away,” the Daddy would say,
“To some place the Baby won’t look.”
But Baby would find him and always remind him,
“I know every hideaway nook!”

So Daddy trudged on, his energy gone,
Between work and Baby at home.
“I won’t nap again. It’s over. The end.
Forever awake shall I roam.”

One day in the Summer, the grandparents said,
“Come on ovah and swim in the pool.”
Asleep or a-not, the Dad and Mom thought,
“That sounds like a fun thing to do.”

So into the wagon they loaded up bags and
Floaties and Baby and hats,
And over the river and through the woods,
They made it in one hour flat.

The morning grew long and Baby kicked on
And splashed and got passed back and forth.
A quick lunch and then they went swimming again,
Kicking this way and that, south and north.

They would have swum more but the clouds made a roar.
“That’s thundah, get outta the wattah!”
It rained and it poured, and pent up indoors,
The Baby didn’t feel like it ought tah.

Pop-Pop offered the boy his favorite toy.
The Baby swatted and cranked.
Mommy thought it’d be good to give him some food.
He threw the fork down with a clank.

“The Baby’s not happy, the Baby’s not right!
It seems there’s no pleasing the kid.”
A lightbulb lit then in Daddy’s tired brain —
“The problem’s his energy grid!

I’ve been there before, let’s worry no more.
I know how to settle him down.”
And Daddy took Baby to wherever the rain’d be
Making its spattering sound.

On a couch in the family room Daddy sat down,
With Baby perched on his lap.
Twas quiet in there, and then as a pair,
They both fell asleep for a nap.

When Baby awoke, the spell had been broke,
“I see it now, naps are the best!”
The day went much nicer (though it could’ve been dryer),
With Baby and Dad decompressed.

Now at least once a day, Daddy’s happy to say,
He and Baby nap with each other.
And so on it’ll go, though Dad doesn’t yet know
Pretty soon Baby’s getting a brother.


At some point we started demanding children's books that would be funny for parents to read, about how their kids do rotten stuff and they have to live with them. The idea originally was you'd never corral your kid up into your lap and read her a book called Go The Fuck To Sleep and we all laughed and gave that guy a lot of money and so of course the market did its thing. So now a lot of books in that genre aren't so bad that now you actually could read these things to your kids. They're written in tone and language like real children's books but they're still about adult problems. So the kids don't care because it's not about them. And the parents are reading about themselves but in infantilized prose or (God help us) verse.

Reading to my kids at bedtime feels like work sometimes but I gotta think if I'm putting in those hours to comfort the kid then the content should maybe probably be about her?

Anyway this poem is a children's books written about a grown mans's problems from which I guess a kid would glean that the reason daddy is unhappy is because of them.

(This is not autobiographical. I am not expecting another kid right now, Mom.)

Glad I could help. Thanks for reading.

This is Phil.