I may lose friends for posting this as toddlers like to keep the truth about our societal norms within our age demographic, but I feel as if parents need to understand car sleep to better serve us.
Today I tweeted this:
This resonated with many of you because you've experienced the phenomenon. @ShakenNotBlurred asked the million dollar question: "Why is that?"
If you wish to gain an understanding of why a very short catnap will always cancel out a longer afternoon snooze session I must start with a very basic physics lesson. Please try to keep up. It is widely accepted that space is comprised of three dimensions; left to right, up and down, and forward and back. Combine these dimensions with time and we have what is known as the space-time continuum. or simply,spacetime.
Einstein's special theory of relativity makes two assertions: 1) that whether or not someone is moving, the speed of light (about 186000 miles a second ) is identical to all regardless of their motion relative to the light source and 2) the laws of physics don’t change, even for objects moving at a constant speed.
Einstein concluded that time and space are, indeed, relative. Science has thus proven that an object in motion experiences time slower than one that is at rest. Don't argue. This is science. By scientists.
This has been tested by the launching of atomic clocks into space with shuttles. When they returned to Earth, they were slightly behind our clocks. Google it. And no aliens didn't tamper with the clocks just to mess with our minds (although I did suspect as much as one point).
This phenomenon is known as gravitational time dilation or the effect of time passing at different rates and brings us to the crux of why many parents would throw cold apple juice in their child's face rather than let them fall asleep in the car close to nap time.
[caption id="attachment_162" align="aligncenter" width="133"] Formula for gravitational time dilation[/caption]
If you've ever thought to yourself that your child is from a "different planet," you're not far from the truth! Alas, we toddlers are not aliens- har har, but we do exist in a dimension all our own; one that allows us access to high levels of energy (you may have noticed). The dimension we live in is closer in proximity to the light. I can't go any deeper into that without violating confidentiality clauses and at least 14 treaties. We can see things you can't see blah blah blah. OK.
Unless you drive a purely *electric vehicle, your car contains an internal combustion engine. In simple terms, high energy fuel (gasoline) is ignited in an enclosed space. The result is a high amount of energy released.
If you've spent a significant amount of time with a toddler in a small, enclosed area, you have witnessed this phenomenon in a biological being. You subconsciously avoid the energy bouncing off of the walls by taking us outdoors to make life more enjoyable for everyone.
[caption id="attachment_163" align="aligncenter" width="280"] They're amazed at the number of people using pinterest.[/caption]
This is the moment where I piece it all together.
When the elementary particles in the combustion engine and the outer dimensional field toddlers exist in that mimics the speed of light collide, something spectacular happens. Upon colliding, the particles vaporize into pure energy. This immediately overwhelms us as it feels like Mentos and Coke have erupted in our psyches. Some of us scream. Others cry and resist the carseat like it is a portal to Hades. If it is close to naptime, most of us will be sent into sleep mode as a natural guard against dangerous overwhelm.
The pure energy released creates a outer space like dark matter-rich force-field that creates the perfect conditions for gravitational time dilation (see above, we discussed this). When you look in your rearview mirror, you see a cherub sleeping and only a few minutes passing. But in our dimension, 1 minute equals an hour. Three minutes for you, three hours for us.
This usually doesn't apply to infants because they exist in a dimension even closer to light than ours resulting in reaction that sometimes has a soothing effect.
The problem is that while some toddlers will come out of the warp sleep happy and rested, most of us experience a post radiation "hangover," if you will. Headaches. Confusion. Slight nausea. You drink, right? You know what this feels like. Combine this with an impatient parent upset that they missed out on three hours of child-less bliss (whatever) and an emotional fallout is likely.
What I suggest to parents is that they focus on restabilizing the now slightly off caliber energy field of their toddler through proper hydration, hugs, and cupcakes. Some toddlers do best if they're kept outdoors to absorb the calming energetic waves of nature while other do better if they're allowed to literally zonk out in front of Yo Gabba Gabba to allow for a healing meditative state to commence.
You've been given information that until now has only been discussed in the quiet corners of Chuck E. Cheese and under the dark shadows of plastic playground slides. Use it well.
I must be off. Bath time awaits. You should see me. I look like a young Michael Phelps.
*The Toddler Council of Gloriousness is monitoring how the switch to hybrid and electrical cars will alter these findings.