Naptime and bedtime have become some of the most anxiety-ridden times of my day. I try to go through each boy’s sleepytime routine slowly, the tension and stress of those minutes apparent only to me, the uncertainty of what will happen when I close their doors lending a slight edge to my storytelling voice. After laying Ike in his crib I quickly and quietly rush out of his room as if the door to the hallway is the door of a train swiftly pulling away from the station. His bedroom is across a narrow hallway from Connor’s, both of them flanking the door leading to our garage. After they’ve been put to bed, their rooms are akin to the Sphinxes of the Great Riddle Gate in The Neverending Story; one never knows if they will open their eyes when attempting to pass between them. Even approaching their bedroom doors strikes fear into my heart. In my mind their hearing abilities rival that of owls, sensing my feet compressing the carpet fibers in the hallway as I walk by. I ran the dishwasher, allowed the dog to bark, and had music playing when both boys were napping newborns, but these day moments not tending to either of them are so rare that I barely feel comfortable clinking dishes around in the sink at the end of the hallway as they slumber.
I’m writing this as Connor snoozes and Ike maintains a questionable napping status. Z is out of the house and I am tiptoeing across the floors, hoping to steal at least a few more minutes before Ike decides he’s had enough of his non-existent nap. Maybe if the neighbors didn’t insist on shutting their car doors so carelessly everyone in this house would be at peace. But probably not.
I think a lot these days of this decision I was lucky enough to make – the decision to have two kids. The thing that gets me about the whole thing is how much we – parents, people, human beings – can really handle. Before Connor, we couldn’t fathom what it would be like to have a baby. Once life with ‘Rado became life as usual, it seemed impossible to imagine life with a newbie. Then Ike came along and while there are still kinks to work out in our family of four, we are handling it as gracefully as we know. Now we not only have two kids, but both Z and I are working, going to school, and being kickass. Thankfully the last part comes completely naturally so it’s not so much work as it is justbeing us. Heh.
This comes on the flanks of a week where I gave Ike two baths (that’s right, two of ’em) by myself and took both boys to the store unassisted. This was a big week for me. But when it comes to getting used to having two kids I feel like the best method is to walk right into the dragon’s lair even if someone is forcing you, kicking and screaming, into it; take those kids to the store alone, try to do the laundry and dishes and make dinner with one tyke in his playroom and the other hopefully occupied on his play mat, and don’t let the fire keep you from moving forward. Sometimes that person forcing you has to be yourself. Seasoned parents may laugh at these little triumphs, but I like to celebrate any triumphs at all because even little ones are significant. And these days, there is little differentiating between the little and big wins.