We danced in Elysian Fields. We ate manna and nectar of the gods and bonbons. Choose your version of heaven and we were in it. Three kids? Pshaw. No problemo! A full-time job demanding a full-time (plus) investment? Happily invested! Throw in some supersized novels (and a book club), a few hobbies (and/or courses), an exercise regimen, and a social life, and maybe a teeny tiny bit of husband-and-wife time, and there you had it: my life. Or so it seems to me now that it’s not my life.
“How do you do it?” I was asked repeatedly (there were days when I felt distinctly like the SJP character). It was not that I had 3 kids under 7 and worked full time that surprised/baffled/bewildered/horrified? people–big deal, so do many folks–it was the I had 3 kids under 7, worked full time, and did not have full-time care. That was the astounding (stupid, crazy) part.
But I insisted it was easy breezy lemon squeezy. Afternoon meeting? No problem! Put Baby MoFo down for his 2, 3, sometimes 4 hour nap, and I’d be free as can be. Work seeping into the evening? Not an issue on that side of paradise. By 6:59, Baby MoFo was standing on the stairs, calling “Night night!” to signal the end of his day. The big boys did their own thing; they could put themselves to bed.
Oh, May, 2012. How I miss you.
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound
Th’ infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook
Of Erebus. She opened, but to shut
Excelled her power; the gates wide open stood
Something happened. Inside Baby MoFo’s little head (with its great big hair), a wheel rotated, engaged a pinion, and when just the right pin fell into just the right groove, the alarm gear caused the spring-lever of his itsy bitsy brain to release the alarm lever. The spring began to unwind. The alarm lever rotated to and fro, hitting his hard skull: BRRRRRRNG!!!
His discovery? He could climb out of his crib!
Naps? Gone. Bedtime? Gone. Middle-of-the-night sleep? Gone.
Oh, woe is me.
* * * * * *
June, 2012, a typical afternoon:
“Naptime, sweetheart. Here you go. Lie down. Put your keppy down. Good boy. Have a good shluffy.”
Five minutes later: “What are you doing here?”
Then: “I just put you back in bed!”
Then: “This time I’m standing by the door!”
Then: “Fine, stay up. We’ll go to the park. But you had better sleep tonight!!”
June, 2012, a typical night:
“Night, night, my love.”
“Back you go.”
“Back you go.”
“Back you go.”
Silent back you go.
June 11, 2012: A Standoff at the Princess-Scientist Corral.
7-8pm: Princess on Guard. Many returns of baby to bed. Then the door stays closed. But I am suspicious. I have heard a pitter patter. I know he’s out. But does he know I know he’s out? Silence reigns for 10 minutes, then 15. I begin down the stairs.
Behind me, the door opens. “I’M OUT!!!!!!!” cries Baby MoFo.
“Husband, your turn.”
8-9pm: The Scientist on Guard.
Baby MoFo, inside the door of his room. The Scientist, just outside. Every few minutes, the door opens a tiny bit and then quickly closes again. If you look closely, you’ll probably see two excited little eyes peeking out. Open, shut. Silence. The Scientist slides out of sight. Open, shut. Open–pause–pause–and suddenly a blue teddy bear comes flying out the door.
Baby MoFo wait a few more seconds, sees the bear untouched, unreturned to its room, decides the coast must be clear after all, opens the door, and is about to run out when–
And back to bed he went. Again.
Remembering the Elysian plain, “where life is easiest for men.
No snow is there, nor heavy storm, nor ever rain, but ever does
Ocean send up blasts of the shrill-blowing West Wind
that they may give cooling to men.”
Oh curse ye gods who recalled the Crib Tent (dangerous is a mom who has been sleep and sanity deprived!). Can someone please go buy me a good old-fashioned door lock?