Thursday, December 01, 2011
I am trying to pinpoint the moment when my night turned to total shit. At first I thought it was when the conference call I listened to on my headphones with my phone on mute to drown out the increasingly fussy baby strapped to my chest went right up to the exact second when I needed to start Jack's bath. Then I thought things probably went south before that-- right after our extremely half assed dinner of mini-pizzas from Whole Foods served with carrots and bleu cheese dressing when I tried to feed Cooper in advance of my call and he did that thing he does at night sometimes when he's getting fussy, that thing where he refuses to eat but acts like he really wants to and screams a little. Or maybe it was when I wrapped my Moby kind of precariously but shoved Cooper in it anyway. Or it could have been when I retrieved new California Baby wash and shampoo from the upstairs bathroom because Harry poured all of the downstairs supply out yesterday making potions and was about to go wash Jack, who had been playing happily in the tub while Harry and I cleaned up a day's worth of toys from the family room and playroom with Cooper slumping to the left and fussing in earnest, and Harry chose that exact moment to declare that he had to poop and only wanted to do it in the downstairs bathroom and I decided I could not bear to be inches away from Harry on the toilet while leaning over the side of the tub balancing my crying baby and washing my preschooler, so I vacuumed while he took care of business. It was around that time that Cooper began screaming, not fussing, and I decided that I had to make that noise go away from my face (remember he was strapped to my chest the whole time) as quickly as possible and desperately recalculated our bedtime routine. I decided to get Jack out quick and put him to bed. Then I would feed Cooper, swaddle and pacify him. Only then could I give Harry a bath and read his new library book. This is not, you understand, how it usually works. Usually,I put Cooper to bed while Ben bathes Jack, reads to him while Harry is in the tub, and then reads to Harry. Usually, I have what you might call a sweet deal. Ben has had class the last two night, though, so I have been solo. Last night, we had an impromptu playdate after school that tired out the big kids, and Cooper took a freakishly wonderful nap from 4:36-6:03, so he kept his baby shit together for once during the witching hour. When I am on my own, I stick to the same basic format: Jack bath and bed, Harry bath and bed, Cooper bed (he's the one we don't wash, remember?). Sometimes, I do Harry's bath then let him watch TV while I put Cooper to bed and put Harry to bed last, but tonight, asking Harry to wait until after Cooper and Jack went to sleep to even take his bath messed with his sense of order. He started whining and flapping, and I told him not very nicely to knock it off because the last thing I needed was another kid with noise coming out of his cryhole. Harry said, "When you yell at me it makes me feel like a bad kid." (The school social worker has been giving Harry's class some very effective talks about assertiveness). I paused for a second and said, "You're a good kid." Then I snapped back to the hellish situation at hand and added, "But you are going upstairs in two minutes. Two minutes that I used to wash Jack, help him out of the tub with one hand because I needed the other to hold the baby in the Moby because it was becoming looser and looser and riding up my back, knock the brand new CA Baby into the water, ask Jack to climb back in and grab it for me, assist him back out of the tub even more awkwardly, grab his arm as he plunged to the ground in a slimy puddle, realize he still had shampoo in his hair and dump cooling bath water all the hell over all 3 of us trying to rinse it out (Cooper LOVED that part, let me tell you). Instead of snuggling on the guest room bed, looking at old picture albums and reading the book of Jack's choosing as is his custom, I stood next to his bed and read him Dora's Christmas, the first book I found in the basket on his dresser, over Cooper's increasingly shrill screams, and I skipped most of the words, going instead for shouted descriptions of the pictures and the occasional hola! Cooper ugly cried the whole time I changed his diaper and crammed him in his jammies (and I noticed that one of his thighs was all read, and I think his jeans were bunched up in the wrap poor little guy), then he ate both sides and sucked on his pacifier, staring at me with red, accusing eyes. I left him in his crib drowsy but awake, and he went to sleep by the time Harry was out of the tub. Thank goodness. I noticed when I was dressing Jack that he had a rash on his elbows and felt really dry, so I sneaked in after he was asleep and put lotion on his arms. I just checked on him a few minutes ago, and the lotion appears to have given him hives. Gah.