Seth passed me in the upstairs hall as I carried Liam to our bedroom with Grandpa Bob in tow a few feet behind me.
"Are you putting the kids down?" he asked, trying to suppress a giggle. Even though his voice has matured, he still giggles. He thinks this a very clever thing to say because of the connotation of putting someone 'down'; it's become part of our evening ritual. A darker version of the The Walton's...
It's true; I'll admit it - we are a weird family with an odd sense of humor.
Liam had been getting punchy downstairs, beating up on things randomly and generally tackling anything in his path. Most often, his focus was sister, Lily. I recognized these as symptoms of being overtired because I often experience them myself - the exception here being that my target is usually their father, Dana, and not my daughter, Lily...
'Putting the children down' is not a simple task. It seems like it should be. Tired children should quietly drift off to peaceful sleep.
But it's not. Whomever came up with the idiom - "sleeping like a baby" - obviously never had one.
When Seth passed me in the hallway, this was attempt number 1. At this stage, Liam is agreeable because he knows that he will be indulging with a bottle, his bear ("Bear") and his big yellow duck ("Ducky" aka "Quack Quack"). Coinciding with this stage is an exhausted Alex, ready to drop yet desperate for some childless play time of her own.
"Gosh... am I horrible mother?" I let Liam have a bottle at bed and I want some amount of childless time for myself. Waves of guilt wash over me as I gently lay Liam in his crib where his fuzzy friends are waiting to be gently smashed in his arms.
I headed back downstairs to the living room, where Lily was entranced with Little Bear and Dana was mesmerized by the Pool Pro Online game on his cell phone, of which he is number 1 in nearly every 'type' of online pool game; he believes this is something to be proud of but I think he's spending too much time playing with his cell phone. Think of all the manly things he could be fixing around the house! Yeah...OK...I guess I get it...I waste a lot of time fooling around with Facebook, too, which is surely just as silly. It just doesn't look as silly...
Ah! Time to relax!
Not five minutes later, I heard Liam calling out, "Daddeeeeee...Daddeeeeeee..."
I was now fully immersed in wasting time on my computer... Without looking up, I said to Dana, "He's calling out for you..."
But Dana was playing against someone in real time; he was not going to stop now. He cleverly did not acknowledge that I had said anything. I sighed, thinking my blog is more important than an online cell phone game, of course! But I could be kidding myself...I sighed, got up off the couch, and walked up the stairs.
Liam was crazed. I picked him up and tried to cuddle him but he kept hitting me, even pinching me. He was trying to out-wrangle me!
I tried to sing to him. This always worked for Lily. Even though I'm an awful singer, she would knock out as soon as I started singing and the song had to be "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" - even in June. Perhaps my awful singing was the reason she fell asleep so swiftly; she wanted me to stop.
Liam took a different approach; my singing made him more combative.
I won't bore you with the rest of the struggle. It was more of this. Liam broke free and headed for Seth's room of mystery, of which Liam recently developed a fascination. It repeated a few times. One minute seemed like one hour.
Dear God! Please go to sleep!
At last, I out-wrangled him. Liam started jabbering a lot of nonsense. I love how babbling sounds like a conversation in a foreign language. I wish I could decode his rambling.
And then, quite suddenly, he fell off to sleep. In my arms, I watched him as he dozed off. He reached up with his arm, grabbing for anything he could touch with his hands, and discovered one of Dana's shirts, hanging from the back of easy chair in our bedroom. I watched him as he snuggled into it ('Bear' being in the crib). He reminded me a bit of Linus from Charlie Brown. Neither Seth nor Lily had ever been much into cuddling with a blanket as babies.
Ah blessed peace!
In his sleep, he squinted his eyes for a moment and his little round mouth turned into a devilish grin for one last moment before he drifted off to angelic quietude. Ah...this is what it means...
I felt bad about how I so wanted him to just please go to sleep. I could hold him in this quiet state for a long time. Time began to move at the right speed again.