One of Brian's favorite Toddler Tactics to use with the kids when they're being particularly challenging is to simply change the scene. If they've been at home all day, he'll plonk them into the bike trailer and go for a ride to a playground or just keep riding in hopes of a nice long nap.
This tactic is really quite simple and effective, but I find it particularly difficult to implement. If I've decided that Ari should have a nap at home so that I can empty the dishwasher, fold the washing, read some books with Riker and check my email, then I end up feeling pretty determined to make that happen. Trouble is, sometimes Ari just won't go down easily for his nap and after the third attempt I'm feeling mighty grumpy. Realizing I'm not going to accomplish half the tasks on my to-do list, I get increasingly frustrated and less and less clear headed. I should simply change the scene and leave the house, but instead we end up at home all afternoon in a messy house with tired (and bored) kids and a grumpy mama because I'm too disheveled and out of sorts to even make a plan. The kids then keep pulling books off the shelves and dumping bins of toys all over the floor and things spiral in a downward direction. Brian however, in the same day, would have had a tour of cafes and playgrounds and the children would be asleep in the bike trailer by early afternoon.
I'll keep working on this one but in the meantime, I'll try to remember to just go outside if things aren't going smoothly. That little change of scene coupled with some fresh air really helps to lift the spirits. And with the kids free to potter about with chickens and run in the yard, I can usually find a minute to sit down and have a cup of tea. And some days, that's all I hope for.