Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sleeping on a sack of bricks

How is it with two? I can't really tell you until Tuesday.

That's when Grammy leaves us--and yes, the gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes begins as she drives off--and we're on our own for a month or so until she returns again for another prolonged stay.

That leaves us with even numbers: two parents and two kids. That, of course, means that Mama and I are outflanked. I'm sure that we can manage the changing, clothing, feeding and playing with them, but I'm not so sure that we can manage those tasks for ourselves at the same time.

These last few days have given some hints of what we may be in for. On Friday morning, 3B was up well before dawn with a stuffy nose and a wicked cough that was making him cry. Grammy, who's sleeping in his room, did her best to comfort him. After I finally rose to consciousness, I brought him out to lay on the couch and watch the Curious George movie to get his mind off his cough. By that time, he was already too tired from the crying and the coughing for me to think about taking him to school, plus the other parents wouldn't have been too happy to have him snotting and coughing on their kids every few seconds.

It was a hard start to a day that began with a steady rain falling from cold, leaden skies. As the day went on, however, the skies cleared up and 3B got more energy. Enough energy that he rejected his nap, which wasn't the best idea he's had. To burn off some of his so-tired-I'm-wound-like-a-clock energy, I took him down the road to Green Spring Gardens, where we had a nice little tea party in the children's garden.

Tea Party at Green Spring Gardens

3B was so tired that he fell asleep on the way to GSG, but that didn't keep us from having fun there, riding on the pavé and playing prisoner because, well, if you don't have your guitar, how else do you pay homage to the Man in Black?

Playing "prisoner" and feeling the part

After we got home, Auntie Farmer came by to visit the kids and talk to us while she did. You parents know how it're there to open the door and serve drinks for guests who come to visit your children. Seriously, however, we had a fun visit with her, hearing about her garden, soon-to-arrive pool and what life is like on the outside. (I also have pictures of FF holding baby girl, which I'll have to post real soon now.)

After FF's brief visit, our neighbor came by, bearing a cute pink outfit for baby girl. Our neighbor has an 8-month old girl and a husband who works 14 hours a day, 6 days a week as a restaurant manager, but she has no car, so she's always looking for someone to talk to, especially about kids. By the time she left, it was 9:30 and time for...dinner? 3B had already eaten and was in bed, but the rest of us... Even though we were past hunger, we ordered pizza.

By the time I had almost finished by last piece of pizza, the fatigue had caught up with 3B and his cough had once again woken him up and was making him cry. His glands were swollen, his breathing was raspy and he was having a hard time swallowing anything. I curled up with him on his bed while Mama got him a popsicle and some Motrin to ease the pain in his throat. He fell asleep eating the popsicle, and I fell asleep soon after that, although I didn't sleep nearly as well as he did.

Back when we first had Barky, I used to think that it would be cozy to curl up with him. Then I learned that in his sleep he kicked like a mule, ran like a horse and bayed like a, well, hound.

Not to compare my boy to a dog, but last night reminded me of that lesson. While 3B looks cute when sleeping, don't let that fool you. Being in bed next to him was like sleeping next to Bruce Lee while he was choreographing the fight sequences for Enter the Dragon. So, I rolled off the bed onto the futon on the floor, which was about as comfortable as sleeping on a sack of bricks.

I felt even worse in the morning after we got up--3B was, of course, almost fully recovered and full of energy after 12 hours of sound sleep--and found that Grammy had slept on the couch rather than coming in and risking disturbing us.

Today was better all around, although I again had to lay down with 3B to enforce his nap. He was a little wound up from a visit this morning from The Good Doctor and his family. Their oldest daughter had fun with 3B, running up and down the hall, jumping on the futon and making other loud banging and clunking noises in his room that were best not investigated.

He and I both had to get up from that before we wanted to so we could make it to the Arts Festival in Olde Towne--hey, that's how the city refers to least it's not Ye Olde Towne--down by the river and catch the swing band that was playing. We were groggy, but we managed to make it and do a lot of dancing before Grammy and Mama made it in Grammy's car.

They had to wait at home for baby girl, who woke up hungry on the way out the door. She ended up eating twice and pooping three times before they could leave.

So, when you ask about how it is with two, consider that without Grammy's car here, we would have had to wait through the cluster feeding and cluster pooping before going anywhere, which means we would have missed the band entirely. As it was, we missed dinner entirely. Again.

We made up for it, however, by returning to our hunter-gatherer roots and digging up a nutritious snack. On the way back to the cars we did lose one thing--our car. While I roamed the streets like Caine from Kung Fu looking for his half brother (who, in our case, happened to be a Honda Accord), Mama sat down on the curb and nursed baby girl who was hungry again. By the time I found car, baby girl was full and so was her diaper. Grammy changed her on the front seat while Mama put away her boobs and I whisked 3B off to an early 9:30 bedtime.

Bad parents, no biscuit.

If we're this bad with help from Grammy, a parent who actually knows what she's doing, I can only imagine that it will be but a few days after she leaves before we're shooting off flares from the balcony.

Did I mention that we have to fly to a wedding in two weeks?

Pray for us.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!


  1. Oh....I remember when I was so new at this parenting thing...and it took me about 3 full hours to get us both ready, fed, changed & dry & out the door with the diaper bag STUFFED with everything I needed and might need.....

    And I can only imagine doing all that with a toddler in tow.

    When Grammy leaves: May the force be with y'all!

    {on another note: when we go to the park, we play "prisoner" too, and sing about Folsom Prison!}

  2. Anonymous8:55 AM

    It gets easier, honestly. And Grammy sounds like a true angel of mercy. If you're going to fly, do it now whilst Mrs Bradstein can still feed her to sleep. And make sure 3B flirts w/cabin crew (and if you can possibly afford it, don't fly a no-frills airline!)

  3. Flying should be easy since your first is already well versed in flying.

    Now might be a good time to start enforcing the "If you can't carry it yourself, it will not come with us" rule. Works also with pumpkins at the pumpkin patch. A good way for him to start making choices for himself of what he really needs. My kids had to choose and pack it into the seating area of a car for a cross country road trip. Then sit with it for hours at a time. They learned what was most important were the things that actually entertained them. They bring a lot less if they have to carry it themselves.

  4. L-P: I remember being very proud that we were only 1/2 an hour late for our first pediatrician's appointment...and then leaving our stroller in the waiting room.

    DWW: Yes, we're familiar with the nursing knockout. It worked wonders on 3B; we'll see how it goes with his little sister.

    KMoo: Good idea, but perhaps a little advance for 3B. Given that choice, he'd pack a suitcase full of Curious George gummies, which wouldn't look as good on him coming down the aisle as the ring bearer as his suit would.

  5. Anonymous12:50 PM

    I tried co-sleeping with my son, really I did. It never worked. He must have heard me watching a kung fu movie while I was pregnant.

    Awesome pink Snoopy shirt!

    I think the key to handling two kids, when one is an infant, is pretty much the same as when you have one infant: don't plan on going anywhere fast. Everything takes approximately 47 times as long, what with all the pooping and changing and feeding and paraphernalia.

  6. ok, things take do I explain that to a three year old?

  7. Kangamoo enforced the "If you can't carry it yourself, it will not come with us" rule with her eldest daughter, but the Oregon police mailed it back anyhow.

    You'll have to ask her for the details. I'm just passing it along.