the safety nap

The biggest takeaway from the Wheat Family Lake Vacation also happens to be the favorite new buzz word(s) for Alex and me: safety nap. I'll back this up to let you know 1) the definition and 2) how we arrived there.

If there is one thing that transcends childhood; one thing that rings true across gender and socio-economic lines, it's this: kids love firemen (and fire trucks and fire engines--I now know the difference between those two--and fire stations). Lucky for the Wheat family, Alex has a cousin who is a firefighter in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. On our great midwestern adventure this summer, he invited us to spend the afternoon at the firehouse, where we got an insider's tour (complete with a lesson on how to attack, er spray, your siblings with the firehose. And I'm not sure who had more fun with the firehose--the kids or Alex.

We learned the difference between a fire truck and a fire engine (the former is the one you see with the giant ladder on top; the latter is what supplies the water). The kids got to honk the engine's ear-splitting horn while sitting in the driver's seat and took a short ride from the garage out into the driveway. We learned all about the fireman's uniform and what's inside the pockets as cousin Erik put on all 45 pounds of his gear for our enrichment. And we learned about the safety nap. Because firemen work a 24-hour shift (24 on, 48 off if you're curious), they're required to take a "safety nap" during the day in case they get a call in the middle of the night. Therefore, safety nap is forever embedded in our lexicon; however, don't tell Tillie it's time for a safety nap--when it is indeed time for a safety nap--because she might stomp her feet and scream "I hate safety naps!" at the top of her lungs.

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