It was my belief early on that the first year is the hardest. If you can survive 12 months of being twin parents, it’s bound to get easier! It’s all downhill from here! Smooth sailing once they hit 12 months! WRONG. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it’s not going to get easier.
I don’t delight in telling you this, nor am I saying it will definitely happen to you. YOU, my friend, could be the unicorn of all your parent peers… the one whose children lovingly whisper goodnight and then just drift off to Dreamland without so much as a whimper. I just want to paint a clear picture of exactly what happens in our household…. so the other non-unicorn parents can know they’re not alone.
Last night, as I knelt by Emma’s bed trying to get her to go to sleep, I reviewed my process for getting her to go to bed, wondering if I could somehow tweak something that would magically make her close her eyes faster. Let’s recap this together:
Step 1: Bath. This is an obvious one, every Google article you read says you need to do this and POOF! Your kid will go to sleep! How they’ve come to this conclusion is beyond me, because here’s how bathtime goes. Kevin and I switch from a zone defense to man-to-man for this one, because bathing two 1-year olds at the same time is not a good idea for anyone to attempt. Emma and I head into the bathroom, where she proceeds to do a naked dance in front of the tub and tries to dive in headfirst, while I calmly tell her that’s not the best idea. Then, she’s placed in the tub and dives face first to sip the bathwater. Face first. Even though she just drank water at dinner and has already peed in the bathwater twice. Not a good idea, Emma. Let’s give you some bath toys. Oh, a pitcher! That’s good to drink from! No Emma, let’s play with some other toys. Oh, I can take the water from in here and put it OUT THERE WHERE YOU ARE!! Screaming and splashing ensues. Water is everywhere. I thought this was supposed to be step 1 of a relaxing bedtime routine? Next we attempt to wash our hair and have a relaxing scalp massage using the “soothing scents” of a lavender shampoo. Emma writhes as though I am trying to pull out each one of her hairs individually. I give up the idea of a relaxing bath and finish up, wrapping her in a big cozy towel that should just make her feel warm and wonderful. She kicks it off. Then, we look in the mirror and evaluate ourselves. She laughs and says hi to herself, simultaneously launching herself forward to touch the baby’s face in front of her to make sure it’s real. I’m covered in water, mascara running, sweat beads forming. We make the trek to the bedroom.
Step 2: Infant massage and pajamas. Infant massage? Right. More like infant lotion all over the place while she attempts to do a somersault off of the changing table.
Step 3: Bottle and bed. Bottle goes fine because it’s milk and let’s face it, milk is life. Then it’s the moment of truth… will she or won’t she fall asleep in a timely fashion? She snuggles up on my shoulder, I make the move to get up from the recliner aaaand, the chair back creaks. Loudly. Her head snaps up and we’re off to the races! I put her head back down on my shoulder and rock back and forth, silently praying that she will become drowsy. I gingerly place her in her crib and all four limbs simultaneously move and she does a double roll to the left, then lies still. Is she asleep? Are her eyes closed? Of course it’s impossible to tell because it’s dark in the room, so I stealthily contort my left arm behind me to push the small button that calls itself a nightlight on the wipe warmer. The click from the button is apparently equivalent to a firework exploding, and Emma’s head snaps up again to see what all the fuss is about. Back to square one. I kneel next to the bed and put my head down, hoping to set a good example of what sleeping looks like. Emma begins clapping at the ceiling fan. I give her a stuffed rabbit to cuddle, she flings it to the other end of the crib. She attempts to stand several times. Finally she flops down, arms behind her head, with my hand resting on her chest. We stay like that for several minutes, long enough for my left arm to go numb. I must move, but I don’t want to wake her… which is the internal struggle I anticipate having for many years to come. Nevertheless, I need my arm — I move. Ever so slowly, I move my left arm. She doesn’t budge. Progress? Next I gingerly lift the index finger on my right hand to see if she notices. Nothing. I lift my whole hand, then she begins furiously sucking on her pacifier. Eyes open? DAMMIT IT’S TOO DARK TO SEE. I repeat the hand removal process with success seven minutes later. Great! Hands are free! Now you can leave, right? Wrong. I slowly back away from the crib and low crawl on my hands and knees to the recliner, then go into a modified lunge position to stand (my left knee cracks and that’s another sound that Emma loves to wake up completely to). I lunge forward and stand, she’s still asleep. I’m almost there. Next, I survey the floor and guess where the creaky floorboard is, then take one large step over it. My foot lands directly on it, because you can only guess so well where it is underneath completely carpeted floors. I freeze, eyes squinted shut, praying that she’s asleep. I get to the door… I’m a step away from freedom. I reach for the door, take a large step outside and…. FREEDOM!!! Until she starts fussing again in 20 minutes because we forgot to give her Tylenol for the teeth…. but we’ll save that for the next post on teething (a.k.a. hell in a handbasket).
Sufficiently uplifted? Stay tuned for teething next week! Unless I’m so tired I don’t remember how to type….