Thursday, June 18, 2009
Mom's night out, Dad's night in (trouble)
Let me say at the outset that I like to think I have it together as a dad, for the most part. I stepped up to the plate when our incessantly fussy newborn needed comforting (see photographic proof here), take initiative changing obscene diapers (no photos of that), even don the occasional set of bunny ears or a princess hat for dress-up time (no pics of that either, sorry).
And the other night, all of that experience amounted to precisely nil.
As the wife headed out for a long-overdue night out with some new girlfriends, the task of putting our girls to bed fell squarely to me. That's fine: At least half this task falls to me on a nightly basis. I've put both to bed at different times in their lives. But those instances, I was about to find out, were under "normal" circumstances.
It started as I rocked our 18-month old, Isla. She had the sniffles and made it clear from the early going she wanted mommy to execute this chore. After vocalizing her preferences for several minutes (see: screaming), she eventually nodded off. Perfect.
I gently placed her in her crib, a move she evidently equated with some of the worst acts of betrayal in modern history, for she let out such a protest I'm half-surprised the window in her room is still in its pane.
At this point, I resolved it was best to let her cry it out for a while as I began Aislynn's routine. This did nothing to assuage Isla, and even caused dismay for Aislynn, who was forced to forfeit her usual "song time" with mommy before being tucked in. (I was a poor, poor substitute, despite putting all I had into my rendition of "There Were 12 Disciples.")
Here, it is probably easiest to relay the events that followed in a manner I have before, via timeline:
7:56 - I return to Isla's room to begin the second round of rocking, only to hear Aislynn promptly emerge from her room.
7:57 - I carry Isla with me to the hall to discover Aislynn requires a drink of water. I comply with a screaming toddler peforming her best koala grip on my arm.
8:10 - After resuming what is now round 3 of rocking Isla, I hear Aislynn beginning her own tantrum in her room. I place Isla back in her crib, bracing for the inevitable seismic yells.
8:11 - I make it to Aislynn's room to discover she is upset because...well...I don't remember anymore. She requires her eyes and nose to be wiped with a tissue.
8:20 - Very shortly into my 4th attempt to coax Isla to slumber, I hear Aislynn yelling again. I repeat the procedure of 10 minutes ago, which by now Isla assumes is a cruel joke meant to incite her to anger of unprecedented levels. She obliges in this.
8:21 - Aislynn is upset because she needs a new tissue. I hand her roughly a dozen.
8:25 - Figuring at this point it is futile to try to put this little girl to sleep, Isla comes downstairs with me to watch Wipeout.
9:00 - I try once more to get a now-exhausted Isla to sleep. The 5th time's the charm.
I like to think all three of us are stronger because of that night. In all honesty, if the wife was going to take a break, it's probably best to time it to avoid the biggest meltdown of the summer to date. Though I have expressed to the wife my fervent wish that future "Girls Night Out" excursions don't begin until approximately 10 PM.
You feel me?