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Comedian Writes in Car While His Daughter Naps

Sometimes, as parents, we know we made a mistake so we do whatever repair we can. We (hopefully) forgive ourselves and move on. But sometimes we make a mistake that we don't see at first, so we keep doing it because no one's getting hurt, and maybe it makes our life a bit easier—like promising extra screen time if someone cleans their room before grandma comes over. Then other times the mistake is not so innocuous—not because it proves a threat to your child, but because it's a threat to your sanity. Once in a while, even when this happens, you figure out how to skip right over hating yourself for this misstep and learn to make the most of it. Fortunately for us, the very funny writer/performer Matt Price had exactly this experience and was willing to sit down and tell me about it.

"Everyone worries about sleep training at night, but the big mistake we made was not thinking about daytime sleep. Nap sleeping is the great unspoken challenge that, if done well, can give you hundreds of hours of life! You can do chores or binge watch 'Game of Thrones.' So much can be done in an hour or two. Unless, of course, you're spending those few hours driving your 3-year-old daughter around, hoping she won't wake up."

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An accomplished actor and Emmy winning comedy writer/producer for "The Regular Show," Matt Price is a can-do kind of guy. As is true of most of the characters he plays on TV on shows such as "Men of a Certain Age," "The League" and "New Girl" to name a few, Matt's "every-man" quality belies a determined, sometimes giddy perseverance. Off camera too, Price is the kind of man who you know, with very little fan fare, is going to get the job done and going to make you laugh while doing it.

And yet his self-professed failure to master the afternoon nap with his toddler daughter still haunts him.

After more than a few trying afternoons with their normally adorable 2-year-old daughter who simply would not catch some shut eye, Matt and his wife Tamara Krinsky, an actress and science enthusiast, became desperate to solve the daytime sleep puzzle. Noticing that she sometimes fell asleep running errands, the "driving-until-she-passes-out" approach to napping seduced the couple. Little did they know the effect this would have on their lives for the next three years.

Almost immediately our daughter couldn't fall asleep in daylight without the car moving.

"At first we thought it was great that we could get her to sleep at all," Matt told me. "Driving seemed like a nice simple solution. We live in LA, when aren't you driving? Except, almost immediately, our daughter couldn't fall asleep in daylight without the car moving. And if she didn't get her nap, like any child, she was grumpy the whole afternoon."

But Matt, being Matt, did not let this get him down. Despite being chained to his car most days from 1 to 3 p.m., he deftly found a way of turning the experience into a workable part of his day.

After devising a specific sleep-inducing loop, "because you can't have too many traffic lights," Matt would then park the car in his driveway, pull out his laptop and commence writing jokes. "There were some kinks in the plan, though. For instance, I had to figure out where to park so I had the most bars from my Wi-Fi. And some of the neighbors thought I was nuts." Especially when spring turned to summer and the afternoons were so hot that Matt had to keep the car running for two hours to keep it cool. One neighbor even tried a nap intervention.

"Dude, keeping the car running, that's just not right—what about your carbon footprint? Why don't you just transfer her?" the guy asked. Seemed like a good idea at first.

"So I tried it," Matt told me. "I pulled her out, hoisted her on my shoulder and tried to balance her there while turning off the alarm and putting the key in the front door. It was like trying to break into my own house, carrying a wet, tired sack of mashed potatoes—potatoes you didn't want woken up."

By the time Matt got her in to her crib, she'd wake up and then walk around the crib, wondering how she got there and demanding to get out. "Once she was up, there was no getting her back down." Transferring was not an option.

You do what is best for your kid, you roll with what is and you make it work. The only mistake is in ignoring the mistake.

Trading off days, Matt and Tamara surrendered to the car nap lifestyle, putting up with people's puzzled and often shaming reactions and Matt's harrowing nightmares about getting in an accident on the two-mile loop. The cop looming large over him, bellowing, "Why is your daughter sleeping in the car during naptime? She should be home in a crib where she belongs," and writing him a cartoonish ticket for child endangerment.

"It's funny," Matt told me, reflecting back, since his daughter is now 4 and done with naps, "The things I worried about haven't come up yet, it's the other things, like this, like sleep training in the daytime. I worry about other stuff, like will she get the mumps? Will she have friends? But napping? Never even made the list."

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Here's what Price has learned so far though, "Sounds trite I'm sure. but you do what is best for your kid, you roll with what is and you make it work. The only mistake is in ignoring the mistake. Some people might think whatever you're doing in the moment, or not doing, is a huge mistake, but you do your thing, we do ours. And in the blink of an eye, it's over. "

Coincidentally, yesterday, after over a year of no car naps, Matt's daughter fell asleep on the way to Target. Not wanting to disturb her, he wistfully pulled out his laptop, wrote some jokes for his upcoming Whalecave music/comedy podcast and made a mix tape he couldn't wait to play for her.

You know, whenever she was done napping.

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