Here’s the scenario:
It’s right around nap time. You are in the car, you’ll be home in 5 minutes, and the toddler falls asleep. And now you’re screwed. You can either wake him up and try to get him to nap in his room (snowball in hell…), or you can attempt ‘The Transfer’, which has worked, oh…(counting on fingers)… twice in the history of his life. Either way ya go, chances are he’s done napping, after all of 5 minutes of shut-eye. This means your ‘free time’ to sit down without anyone on top of you, eat something without having to share, poop by your lonesome, or finish that show you DVR’d three months ago and have been watching in seven minute segments, is now just a wish gone by. A fond memory that never was. A dream unfulfilled.
So what can you do? Suck it up. That ship has sailed. Bon voyage, pal!
But maybe next time some of these suggestions will help. Let’s see…there’s blasting the music, opening the windows for fresh air (works great in the winter), singing at the top of your lungs, repeatedly honking the horn (added benefit of making other drivers crazy as they crane their necks to see who’s being honked at with such fervor). The following are some of the last-ditch-effort type methods I’ve used (with some degree of success) to keep those droopy eyelids up just long enough to get us in the door.
1. Window Whack-A-Mole
I rapidly lower then raise the toddler’s window a couple of inches. Witha goofy grin, he screams “Close my window!”, but I’ve already moved on to another window, his brother’s. He starts to scream for me to close JC’s window, but it’s already closed and I’ve started to lower my window. Continue this process until either the toddler gets frustrated and starts ignoring you, or until you’ve burned out the motors on all of the windows.
2. Red house!
This one’s easy. “Hey, AJ! Look, a red house! Blue house! White house!” The idea is to get him to do t it, because once he’s engaged, your work is done. Unless you pass a tannish-khaki-brownish-greige colored house. That can have the unfortunate effect of stunning him right back into a pre-nap stupor. If you happen to look in the rear-view at the right time, you can even see it go into effect. The bright eyes glaze over, the jaw becomes slack, and you mentally hear gears grind and screech to a shuddering halt. Don’t worry, kid, I’ve no damn clue what that color is either.
3. Catch the truck!
This one is a little tougher, because it only works if you are, by chance, already near a sufficiently interesting vehicle. Or I guess you could deliberately seek out an good subject, but since time is of the essence here, that would be an effective way to defeat the purpose…
So if I’m lucky enough to be behind a bus, fire engine, police car, bucket truck, fuel tanker, garbage truck, pickup truck, dumptruck, tow truck, steam shovel, motor scooter or hovercraft (I admit, the last one is unlikely)…starting to get the idea? All I have to do is say, “Look, AJ!” in an extremely enthusiastic voice, “It’s a [insert vehicle type here]! Let’s try to catch it!” Then, provide a commentary on your efforts to ‘catch up’.
“Oh no, I hope he doesn’t get away! Is he going to turn…? Nope, he stayed on the road, maybe now we’ll catch up! I’ll go faster!”
Driving at exactly the same speed I was a a moment ago, I continue this until we either part ways or arrive home. Of course, this one can totally backfire when the overtired toddler tears up because you ‘lost’ the truck. Be prepared to divert with another method. Or bribes. Bribes are always good.
How do you keep your kids awake for those critical last few minutes?