Friday, August 9, 2013

Bath Time With Twins

A little over a year ago I wrote my post about story time with twins which was quite an adventure.  I'd like to now explain what it's like to bathe twins by myself.

Normally Derek and I bathe the boys together.  Well, "together" means Derek usually bathes the kids after dinner every other night while I use those 15-20 minutes to run around the apartment like a madman trying to clean up the dishes and toys, sweep and mop the floor, deal with laundry, etc.  When the boys are done with bath time I run into the bathroom and each one of us takes one wet baby and deals with the whole process of drying him off, putting on the butt paste, diapering him, getting on pajamas and brushing his hair while trying to stop him from eating the aforementioned towel, butt paste, diaper, pajamas and hairbrush. 

For the last few months Derek has had a late schedule a few days a week and for the last few weeks I have been in rehearsals at night for a show so one of us is often alone with the boys in the evenings.  Bathing two kids falls now become one person job.

Here is my bathing story from a few days ago...

5:50pm Decide it is time to bathe the kids.  I start to undress Aaron first in the hallway near the bathroom.
5:51pm Open Aaron's diaper only to find a suprise "Code Brown."  I quickly re-tape his diaper.
5:52pm Run into the bedroom to get some wipes to clean up Aaron,  After cleaning him off on the changing table I put him down in the bedroom, naked, to start undressing Jeff.
5:53pm Start to undress Jeff and this time I smell the "Code Brown" so I wasn't surprised.  As I start to change Jeff I hear an odd noise behind me.  I turn to look and see Aaron peeing on the bedroom carpet.
5:55pm Finish undressing Jeff and put him down, naked, on the floor.  Go to the bathroom and turn on the water. 
5:56pm Get my spray bottle for pet stains to squirt onto the area where Aaron peed only to see Jeff peeing (with quite an impressive stream) in the hallway.  I swear the pee went over two feet.  At least this time it is on a hardwood floor.
5:57pm Find some Clorox wipes to clean up Jeff's pee.
5:58pm Go into the bathroom to check on the water.  I start preparing the bath with some bubbles and toys.  Jeff and Aaron follow me into the bathroom.  Jeff, holding a toy, becomes interested in the kitty litter.  He considers throwing his toy into the litter box but decides against it.
5:59pm Finally have both boys in the bath.  We play.  Aaron farts a lot.  I get very wet even though I'm not the one taking a bath. 
6:10pm Aaron decides he is done with bath time.  I can't take him out and leave Jeff in the water.  I open the drain in the tub to let the water out.
6:10-6:17pm Jeff finds it funny to close the drain every time I open it.  As a result it takes forever to drain a few inches of water from the tub.
6:18pm Take Aaron out of the tub, dry him off and run into the bedroom (about 5 feet away) praying Jeff doesn't decide to try to climb out of the tub.  I throw naked Aaron into his crib.  He screams as I run back into the bathroom to get Jeff.  I pray Aaron doesn't pee in his bed.
6:18pm and 12 seconds Take Jeff out of the tub, start to dry him off and run into the bedroom to a screaming Aaron.  I put naked Jeff in his crib.  I pray Jeff doesn't pee in his bed.
6:18 and 20 seconds I get a chilly Aaron out of his crib and start the going to bed process of butt paste, diaper and pajamas.  I only get butt paste and a diaper on squirmy Aaron before stopping due to exhaustion but I'm ok with that.  Jeff cries.  I continue to pray Jeff doesn't pee in his bed before I get a diaper on him.
6:20pm Put Aaron on the floor to play.  He is dressed and his hair is a mess, but I justify not brushing his hair becuase the messy, bed-head look is in these days, right?
6:21pm Get Jeff out of his crib and try to put diaper cream on him.  He clings to me.  He loves to be held; he hates to be on his changing table.  I hold Jeff for a minute or two praying he doesn't pee on me before I get a diaper on him.
6:23pm Get Jeff interested in a light attached to his changing table.  I slather on the butt paste while he is standing up looking at the light.  I do my best to put a diaper on him while he is still standing.  I wonder where Aaron is.  I put Jeff down on the floor to play.
6:25pm Look for Aaron and see he is in the bathroom eyeing the kitty litter box because I forgot to lock the gate thanks to "baby brain" and not having three arms. 
6:26pm Take Aaron out of the bathroom.
6:27-6:43pm Spend the next 16 minutes chasing the boys up and down the hallway trying to get pajamas on them.  I always win in the end but it usually involves a lot of laughter (from the boys who think this is a game), crying (from daddy who thinks this is the universe's way of punishing him for some wrongdoings in a past life), exercise (both cardio from the chase and strength building from wrestling with a baby as I try to get him dressed), and sometimes a cracker (to distract a baby when I'm too tired to chase him any more).
6:44-7:00pm In a daze I manage to give the boys their last bottle of the night, brush their teeth, and get them into their cribs.  Usually they do fall asleep rather quickly these days or they play with a book for a while before falling asleep.  I guess this process wears them out as much as it does me.
7:01-7:04pm I curl up on the couch and tune out the world for a few minutes wondering if this will ever get easier.
7:05pm I realize that a day like today, as hard as it is, gives me a good "Let me tell you about the time the boys peed on the floor" story to tell when they are surly teenagers.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Single Parenthood

I have had this post in my head since May when Mother's Day came up.  It popped into my head because A) some of my single mom friends wished me a happy Mother's Day because they get wished a happy Father's Day for doing double duty as a parent and B) I have single mom friends who blow my mind by how much they do now that I'm a parent myself.

It's no secret that parenthood has been a rocky road for me.   I don't do well with the lack of sleep, I get crazy having a home that is constantly a mess, and I have no self-restraint when my kids cry because I feel I have to rush to their aid.  Can you say overtired, anal-retentive, helicopter parent?  ( least I'm getting better.)

There are days when the crying gets to me to the point that I can't think straight.  I can't make a decision about how to handle the situation.  Do I give in and let Aaron eat another pound of Cheerios, or do I make him eat his oatmeal?  Do I let Jeff have a tantrum or do I put him in a "big boy" chair knowing that I'm now going to have to sit on the floor for the next 10 minutes making sure he doesn't fall off while standing on an adult sized chair?  And then, of course, there is the ever popular how long do I let someone cry at night before going into the bedroom?

Thank goodness Derek is here to help me through these hard times.
  • Yes, it's OK to give Aaron more Cheerios, Michael.  
  • No, don't let Jeff get used to standing on chairs, Michael.  
  • Go sit outside, you weak-willed wussy, until the kids fall asleep.
I'm pretty sure Derek didn't say weak-willed's just what I was thinking as I dragged myself outside wondering how two sixteen month old kids half my size and less than a quarter of my weight get the best of me some days.

I also think about how on earth I'd be able to get two kids up, fed, dressed, out the door, into the car, into daycare and still get to work on time five days a week if I were a single parent.  I can barely drag myself out of bed in the mornings.  Derek usually gets up first and I come out twenty minutes later as hideous Daddy-like monster squinting from the light, unable to talk, and grumpy, as grumpy as my kids when they wake up from a nap.

My point to all of this is that parenthood has, at times, beaten me down, chewed me up and spit me out AND I have help.  My single parent friends do it all on their own.  They get up at 3:00 a.m. every time to soothe a sick kid, change every diaper, cook every meal, clean every dish, plan every vacation, and do everything 24/7/365.  It blows my mind to think these amazing parents who are raising some really terrific kids. 

While raising children with someone has its own challenges (Did you seriously take our children out in public wearing a striped shirt and plaid pants???) I know Aaron, Jeff and I are happy to be in a family of four instead of three.