The girls are tired today. It's that kind of bone-weary tired that makes every word sound like a whine and everything a battle. It's the kind of tired that makes me force them to take a nap.
They don't go willingly. They go because we tell them they must or else something won't happen. In this case, if they don't go, then we won't go to a cousin's birthday party. Now, we're going in either case, but they don't need to know that.
Most of the time I sit in a chair and make them close their eyes. If they close their eyes for two or three minutes, they will be asleep. They are just that tired.
We don't randomly decide they have to take a nap. They have to be really, really overtired before we force the issue because there is a downside to it. One the one hand, we get a little break from the whining and fighting while they sleep. On the other hand, we pay for them later.
It's the problem with naps at this age. If they sleep for even 30 minutes, it means they won't go to bed at the normal time. They will wake up earlier than normal the next day, and probably won't want to go to bed at the normal time the next night.
We either pay for it by having to put up with overtired children or we pay for it by having their schedule thrown off for a couple of days.
It's not an easy decision to make them take a nap. We'll talk about how really tired they are. We'll debate if we can make it through the day and just deal with it. We'll consider alternatives like going out for a while to keep them busy or inviting a friend over to distract them so they don't fight all afternoon.
Today, there really was no other choice. It has been a busy week and weekend. We know they will probably go to bed later than normal tonight due to the birthday party. We figure we'll just take our chances and let them sleep, especially since it has been a crazy week for the grown-ups too. We could really use some quiet time ourselves.