Actually, I don't think I'm that clever of a mother. If I were, I probably would have figured this out years ago, but as it is, I'm glad I figured it out today.
Anyone who's been following my facebook recently knows that I have been rejoicing in the fact that my 2-year-old and 1-year-old have been taking simultaneous naps for the past two weeks or so. This allows for the kind of freedom that a mom like myself has only been able to dream of for some time.
Today, that almost fell apart. For whatever reason, my son (the youngest) was deciding that, once again, he simply could not wait for community nap time (which comes after lunch, usually around 12:30 pm). By 10 am, he was wailing and throwing himself on the floor. His eyes were red and swollen, and any discomfort was a cause for utter desolation. In other words, he was the typical tired toddler. But, what to do? I had just promised my daughter we could go on a long walk outside! Maybe, I thought, the walk itself would wake him up, if I could just get him to last that long...
But no! He would have none of it. As long as I wasn't holding him (and I couldn't hold him while I made vital preparations for the walk, such as dressing myself), he was thrashing and shrieking. So, into his crib he went.
He was asleep instantly.
I finished my preparations; now what? I almost chose to take my daughter outside and leave him, and just not stray too far from the house. But that meant that later, when my daughter napped, he would be ready to wake up! I was not about to lose my precious and newfound freedom!
So, I decided to experiment. He had been asleep about 10 minutes. If I woke him and took him on the walk, would he then be awake enough to play outside and eat his lunch, but still tired enough to nap directly afterwards?
It worked like a dream. When I picked him up, he groaned, but by the time we were outside, he was ready to go. He and my daughter had a great time, ate a wonderful healthy lunch (note to self, another thing I learned today: children eat better after playing outside!), and then both went down for nap around 12:30 without a single hitch!
He is now just waking up, after I enjoyed 3 hours of beautiful freedom.
I feel powerful now, completely in control! Who decides when my children nap? I do! (OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little... but I do feel a gratifying sense of triumph!)
Now if only I could figure out as clever a trick for potty-training my daughter...