Friday, November 02, 2007

Trying to put five kids to bed by yourself...

... is very scary.

baby #1 is acting tired and fussy, so I take him to his bedroom, turn out the lights and try to nurse him to sleep. Baby number 2 is happily playing in my bedroom with my battery-operated flashlight-alarm clock (probably changing the timezone on me again so I become very confused the next morning). Toddler, preschooler and 7 year old are supposed to be cleaning their room and getting into PJs.

Baby #1 is almost asleep, when a crack of light seeps into the room, and grows brighter, carrying with it the noise of the other four kids. In walks the 7 year old looking for me. I hastily wave her away, trying not to talk so my noise won't wake up the sweet angel who is almost asleep in my lap. She leaves without saying anything, (smart girl) and the door doesn't latch behind her. Now back to baby #1... oh no! What is that pit pat pit pat I hear coming down the hall way?

The crack of light seeps into the room again, followed by a smiling talkative baby #2. I quickly pick up the almost asleep baby #1, put him in the crib, grab the crawling noisemaker and exit the room. Phew! That was a close one... Baby number one is quiet. He must be going to sleep.

Down the hall, into the kids room, "Why did you come into the baby's room E?"

"oh, I just wanted to tell you I was done cleaning my room".

"What?" I'm surprised, since the room doesn't look any cleaner than when I left except for 3 pieces of clothing that were picked off the floor. "Don't come find me for silly reasons when I"m putting the babies to bed!!".

Not really listening to me, she replies "mom, did you put that other baby in JPs room?"

I'm too focused on my baby-sleep mission to think about what she just said, so I give her 'the look' and take baby #2, settle in the rocking chair and start nursing him to sleep.

"Funny," I think to myself, "I think that baby was just sucking his thumb... that's odd, JP sucks his thumb, not P...."

Then, it dawns on me that I have just put P in JPs crib, and was about to do the opposite in this room. Now how did that happen, I wonder... I take a moment to wonder how far back it was that I had them mixed up, trying to remember who was wearing what PJs and which one was crying through mass that night. Classic sleep-deprived mother of twins moment. Or maybe I'm the only one who does this?

Anyways, I had two options:

A) Leave the status quo, put JP in Ps bed as he was almost asleep anyway, and hope that I didn't get all confused in the middle of the night, like getting a sleeping baby in the middle of the night instead of a crying one, thus waking up both at the same time. That could result in a very sleepless night... or

B) Somehow switch P into his real crib without waking him up, and keeping JP sleepy enough to go to bed in HIS real crib when I could get back to putting him to sleep. The danger in this option is that they both wake up ready to go , refusing to go to sleep because the 3 min 'nap' they had just had was good enough for another 3 hours of playtime.

I opted for option B because a late bedtime is always better than being woken up for hours on end in the middle of the night. I gently picked up JP from my lap, carried him into the bright light of the hall, left him with the kids who were still supposed to be cleaning their room and getting into PJs,

"Why didn't you TELL me I was putting P in JPs bed??" I say to E.

She gives me 'the look'.

I quietly walk into JPs room and pick up the sweet P who is half asleep and carry him into the bright hall (why didn't I shut out the light??), and into his own room. Placing him in his own bed causes him to start crying sorrowfully, so I sit back in the rocking chair and nurse him back to sleep again. Phew!!

Back to JP who is wide awake and having fun in the messy room... I take him into his right room this time, and try to settle in the dark to nurse him, taking time to quietly pray for the grace to make it through the night and the following day.


What was that? Those noisy kids.

"MOMMY!!" the preschooler yells...

"Have you seen mommy?" he asks his 2 year old sister. "Where's mommy?"

"MOOOOOMMMMMMYYYYY!!!!" She yells for him.
"MOOOOOMMMMMMMYYYYY!!!" again, louder this time.

"MOOOMMMMYYYYYY!!!" She is very good at yelling.. I wonder how she learned that?

At this point I cover the baby's ear, and bite my lips stopping myself from yelling at them to be QUIET ALREADY!! because of course that would defeat the purpose of telling them.
Finally, I give up, put the baby in his crib hoping he'll just go to sleep and open the door (letting the bright light stream into the crib again... why didn't I shut that off?) to deal with the kids.

Turns out, it was very important that I come into his -dark- room and see his glow-in-the-dark batman PJs. urgh!

Amazingly both babies are now asleep, the bedroom is almost clean and everyone is in PJs except the two year old who is almost always naked anyways. I'm about ready to go up and read them some stories, brush some teeth, say prayers and put them to bed (about 6 times in the 2 year old's case).

Say a prayer for me tonight -- goodness knows I don't have time to.


Jordan said...

Wow, Melanie. I haven't had great luck putting my kids to bed as toddlers and I only had one at a time! It looks like you're doing very well with it. : -)

Alice Gunther said...

This narrative was so entertaining for me, particularly when you came to the part about the children calling you while you are sitting with a half asleep baby! Oh, I have been there many, many times!

Thank you for writing a piece that sums up bedtime in a large, happy family so perfectly!

darcee said...

Thanks for sharing this it made my morning a little brighter.

Adele said...

How sweet. You sound like supermom! Makes one want to have twins. Did you yell when you got out of the room. I would have or tweaked some ears, put someone in a corner.. even if they were innocent. ( :

Anonymous said...

i had 6 under 6..great fun! God bless..