My kitchen's a mess, my floors are spattered with crumbs and bits of Molly's lunchtime avocado AND my in-laws are arriving in twenty minutes, but I can barely be bothered to care. I am so tired. In fact, the only reason why I'm awake during naptime today (and I'm ALWAYS awake during naptime) is because someone dared to call my cell phone and woke me up right before the drool hit the couch pillow. You can bet I didn't answer.
Last night Jack woke up around two and refused to go back to sleep. If you have two small children sharing a room, your heart immediately jumped into your throat. YOU know our dilemma: how to get the Awake Child back to sleep without disturbing the Sleeping Child? HOW?
During the week Phillip was away on business, my strategies for dealing with the above situation involved extensive coddling of the Awake Child, granting his or her every wish, just so that I wouldn't have to deal with TWO awake children. You don't have to tell me this is the wrong thing to do. I am well aware that I'm setting myself up for all sorts of behavior problems, entitlement issues and perhaps even visits to the local prison twenty years from now. But the only thing worse than one crying child at two in the morning is TWO crying children and I wasn't about to deal with that by myself.
Then last night Phillip was feeling rather stubborn and decided that the Awake Child was just going to have to deal. He also decided that we would whisk Molly from her bed and put her in the familiar pack and play in our room, the better to protect her from her brother's inevitable howls of outrage.
I, of course, thought this was the most absurd thing I'd ever heard. I mean, has my husband MET our daughter? Did he not remember the exhausted texts I sent him at 3 am several days previously, when he was waking up in his East Coast hotel room and I was on my second hour of camping out on the couch, waiting for Molly to fall asleep in the pack and play? Where I put her so she wouldn't wake up JACK?
He got her out anyway and that was the end of that. There was no more sleep for Phillip. When she wasn't whining or whimpering or full on yelling, she was heaving her tired little body into ours and self-righteously kicking our ribs. (I didn't blame her.) We let Jack, ah, 'voice his indignation' for about a half hour until I decided that I WOULD like to go back to sleep that night. I went into his room, offered a drink of water and my son, perhaps feeling as though he'd extracted something out of his cruel and unfeeling parents and therefore Won, went back to sleep. This was about 3:30. Phillip, poor thing, was up with Molly till five. So far I have refrained from chanting, "I TOLD YOU SO!" and self-righteously kicking him in the shins.
We will be moving in a few weeks. Each child will be assigned a bedroom. If one of them wakes up, we won't have to worry about the wails waking up the rest of the house - these bedrooms are even on different floors. So while I'm sure we'll still be stubbing our toes in the dark on our way to their respective bedrooms since we now know that "sleeping through the night" is a big fat LIE, we won't be conducting middle of the night arguments re: Sleep Damage Control. (Right?)
I'm sorry to say that moving is our solution to this problem. It's a little embarrassing, frankly. We came up with some temporary hacks, but nothing that felt sustainable. But maybe there are no sustainable solutions in parenting, and you start to realize that, as the Guardian Of The Shorties, your best weapon is your creativity. We've used the pack and play, a mini crib, our bed, two cribs, the living room, our walk in closet, a curtain strung between the cribs, separate bedtimes, putting down in one bed and waking up in another and Grandma's house when all else fails. I have no doubt that many of you have more creative solutions, or, at the very least, more stamina and resolve than we do. But when I look back at the last eighteen months of Two Kids, One Bedroom, I really feel like we did our best.
Which isn't to say I'm not counting the days. (Seventeen!)