I wasn't going to go back upstairs. I had finally gotten both children in bed and just fixed myself a large glass of water (which I had been craving all afternoon) when I heard the wailing. The baby that had previously been such a glorious sleeper/napper had turned quite obstinate following her recent bouts of illness. So the nap battles had begun with her. She would doze in the chair and promptly cry once deposited in the crib. Which then resulted in the requisite five minutes of waiting, a return to her room, a pat and some soothing words and then another exit followed by more tears. I am pleased to say that she hadn't taken more than 2-3 pats to settle herself at any given point.
I debated following the 5-minute interval strategy. Had my toddler opponent not finally just given in on his own nap battle, I might have done it. As it was, I didn't want to sacrifice one nap for the other. I sighed and trudged back up the stairs. Initially, I entered the room and attempted to pat and comfort without giving in to the obvious desire of being held and rocked. This worked for all of forty-five seconds when it then became clear to my daughter that I was not picking her up. She decided this was unacceptable and let me know quite audibly.
Back to the chair we went. She squirmed and smiled at me. She pulled my hair and grabbed at my shirt and tried to start up a conversation. I was resilient. Nap was not going to be skipped (and also - OW, I need to get my hair cut!). So we rocked. And rocked. And rocked. Slowly, her breathing slowed and leveled. Her body became a heavy weight on mine. And I was able (with the precision of one diffusing a nuclear bomb) to maneuver her back in to her crib. Finally - two sleeping children. Sometimes to reach victory, all we have to do is surrender.