Today, for the first time in over nine years, I was not home for 1pm naptime.
Over the past couple of weeks Juliette hasn't been tired every day for nap. She still needs naps at least every other day, but there have been a few afternoons which I spent over an hour trying to get her to go to sleep while she just played happy as a lark.
So today, since she napped the last two days, and since she slept well last night and woke up early, I let go of the rigid schedule to which I have held. I picked up her friend and we went swimming, and then we went out for lunch and a play. I met a friend and her son, and we chatted freely without my watching the clock. After I dropped her friend off I needed to pick something up from the store, so we did.
It is so freeing. For the first time I dont' feel the time crunch between getting the kids off to school and being home by noon so that a kid doesn't fall asleep in the car. I had one more thing to do, so I did it. And now I'm home and I have time to prep dinner and tidy up and even write a little. (You'll notice my writing has been spotty lately, because in order to get Juliette her much needed nap I often had to lie down with her, eliminating my two hour window in the afternoon.)
This feels like the first step of "the next stage," and while I might miss the toddler cuddles at naptime, it's a relief to finally be able to attend gatherings, parties, and events scheduled in the afternoon.