In honor of his presence tonight let me tell you about last night, which is probably representative of tomorrow night and a variation on theme of Thursday night; just don't try to anticipate the variation because you'll surely be wishing damage upon my home and that's not very kind of you, is it?
This is how we do bedtime: I try to get G down first while the girls watch a TV show but if he takes longer than those 22 minutes, I'm in big trouble. They don't get baths on those nights unless I start reaaaaally early, which is just about impossible if we're coming home from work and school, but doable on a weekend. They brush teeth and use the potty and all that. Then E can get her books and get in bed and wait for me, flipping through her books or playing with her dolls or whatever, as long as she's quiet. L is so very three years old right now and I have to play strict taskmaster. "L, let's put your jammies on. L, put that down, love. L, the shirt, too. Come back. Come back, L. Ladybug, you can get your book in a minute. First you need a shirt. No, you don't need a book first. Come here."
I'm sure you can imagine it all too well. Once she's 'jama-ed we get in bed and read two books. Then as long as she stays in bed she can keep the light on while I read E's books. About half the time, L will fall asleep at this portion. I go read to E and I turn off her light. I go turn off L's light and snuggle her for two minutes. I go snuggle E for two minutes. If L isn't asleep, I usually have to go snuggle her until she falls asleep, because she's rotten at falling asleep unattended. And then I'm done - if G hasn't woken up during any of it. Which, of course, he often does. It takes me nearly an hour when I'm on my own in the best of circumstances.
Last night was a good night; let's call it nearly the best of circumstances. G waited until exactly three minutes after both girls were asleep to begin his insomniac shenanigans. It was very considerate of him not to interrupt his sisters' routines.
And they had done their parts. They had let me get him down to sleep first. They didn't interrupt at all. After I got him in his crib and I went downstairs to collect them, L proudly showed me how she had occupied herself: she painted her nails.
And that's how I do it: bedtime for three. E will be five next week. They're getting bigger and we're probably past the apex of difficult. Soon E will be able to read, both to herself and to her sister. Soon L will be able to fall asleep without company. Soon G will work through this separation anxiety phase and go back to sleeping through the night.
Soon, I hope, when I see how they've entertained themselves, applaud their ingenuity, and scurry them up to bed, I won't come downstairs again to discover anything like this:
Ingenuity was not so appreciated by the kitchen floor. It's sporting six new colors.
I'm on my own for the next two nights. Let's hope for routine performances.