Last weekend I got a cold dose of reality when Lily went on a trip for two days and left me in charge of both kids. I have a whole new level of appreciation for the daily juggling routines that single parents can pull off. Actually it wasn't insanely bad, but I certainly overestimated my ability to get the kids to bed.
We dropped Lily off at the airport, then we came home and ate dinner, which for those of us with teeth, consisted of a casserole that Lily (bless her heart) made the day before. It was quick and easy, as was Blaise's dinner: Baby food. Dinner was such a breeze that we had time to go outside and enjoy a nice summer evening chatting with the neighbors and their kids.
Soon it was time for the kiddies to go to bed, but Blaise didn't show any signs of tiredness: No yawning, no rubbing nose, no pulling ears. So I decided to let her join in on Judah's bedtime storytime. The stories went off without one peep from Blaise, but when it was lights out time for Judah, he wanted us to stay for a few minutes. I tried to tell him that I needed to put Blaise to bed, but he wasn't hearing that. He wanted us to stay, or there would be a whine-fest which would surely end in massive amounts of tears, and probably getting him all wired up and destroying any chance of chill time for dad.
He asked if Blaise could stay with him. Initially I thought it was a bad idea, but then I recalled that Lily and I were eventually going to try putting them in the same room at some point, so I thought "Why not? Why not start right now?" Judah can usually sleep through just about anything, which made it highly unlikely that he'd wake up in the middle of Blaise's routine 11 pm outburst. So I disassembled her playpen, which was in our bedroom, and moved it and reassembled it in Judah's bedroom. I put Blaise in there, and she cried for a minute, but then she crashed hard. So hard that the usual sounds that would wake her up, like talking or breathing within 5 feet of her, didn't wake her.
Judah seemed comforted by having his sister in the room next to him. I gave him his goodnight kiss, and a blow kiss, and about 500 I Love Yous and I left his room. Not a peep for 10 minutes. I peeked in and they were both sound asleep. Success. I went into the kitchen and made myself a Stoli Spritzer with a squeeze of lime, and went into the office to edit the latest and greatest Fever Ray music video.
Hours flew by. Not a sound from the kiddies. Then at 1 am all hell broke loose. Blaise cried out loudly and repeatedly, and by the time I made it to Judah's room, Judah was crying "DADDY!" Kind of like "What the hell were you thinking DADDY?!?!?!?!! GET HER OUT OF HERE NOW!!!!" I picked up Blaise and started to take her out of Judah's room, but that upset Judah something fierce. He cried like I was leaving him forever, with his sister in my arms. So I went back into his room and tried to get him to chill out, but crying was now in chain reaction mode between the two siblings. I gave up hope of getting back to the editing.
Finally I was struck by the brilliant idea of bringing the two of them to our bed to hopefully get something familiar going. What was familiar for Blaise was less familiar for Judah, so we had alternating crying going on for the next 5 hours. And when Blaise got hungry at 3 am, she realized that dad's chest isn't like mom's chest, and that wasn't going to suffice. At all. I think I got one consecutive hour of sleep that night.
Morning arrived and with daybreak came a reasonable excuse to down enough coffee to drown a horse. I was able to muster the energy to get myself and Judah dressed and ready for the drive to his school. After I dropped him off and was relieved of one child, I came back home and immediately moved Blaise's playpen back into our bedroom. The sleeping arrangement experimentation would have to wait. Blaise ate her breakfast and she landed in her nap easily. And so did I.