Suffering from cabin fever combined with a lack of imagination last week, I took her to the grocery store right before naptime. We were both hot, cranky, bored, and sick of being cooped up inside (it was yet another day of near-100 temps and ozone alerts, so outdoor activities were off the roster). I couldn't think of anything else to do, certainly nothing that would get us home in time to attempt a nap, and I needed some things anyway. It's not like it was a hardship; she loves the grocery store. There's one two minutes from our house, but I usually drive a little farther to the one that's more fun for kids. She gets a free cookie, I rarely turn down her request to ride in one of the cars with the big plastic "car" on the front, I let her partake of the samples in the produce and cheese departments, and at the end of the trip, I usually pony up $0.50 for her to ride the whiplash-inducing singing dragon located in the vestibule.
On this day, we swooped in and scooped up the items on my list. She asked for "cheese, that big one to eat in my hand," and pointed at the 1/2-lb blocks lined up in the dairy case. I figured cut-up cheese would be a pretty decent snack and told her to put it in the cart. We survived the checkout line, she rode the singing dragon, and we headed for home. I could tell that she was really, really tired, and I realized that I was playing a pretty dangerous game here. Sure, our little field trip had probably helped tire her out, but now there was a good chance she would fall asleep before we got home. If she did, well, GAME OVER. If she falls asleep somewhere that's not her own bed, even for the last three minutes before we pull into the driveway, she will not take a nap. Will. Not. No amount of pleading, bribery, yelling, taking away books and toys, putting a baby gate on her room, letting her lay down in our bed, or reading 35 books in a row changes this fact. It's even worse if it happens before bedtime, because then she won't fall asleep until at least 1:00 a.m.
Anyway, I knew I had to do something. She sleepily mumbled something about being hungry and asked for her cheese, so I grabbed it from the bag, opened the wrapper, and handed it to her. A half-pound bar of cheese, and I gave it to her to munch on like it was a 3 Musketeers. She only ate a few bites, but she did not fall asleep on the way home. She took a 2-hour nap later in the afternoon.
Improvisation and a disregard for cholesterol. I has them.