Any parent will tell you that late evenings are the storm before the calm. Throw in a baby with a Wicked Fever of Unknown Origin, a toddler with way too much energy, a Daddy who is out of town on business, and a Mom working on two hours of sleep (thanks to a feverish baby), and it makes you wonder if you’re going to survive to see the calm.
I reverted to survival mode: breakfast for dinner, toddler gets to watch a little TV, and I sent up a few prayers that the baby would go to sleep early so I could get her sister through bath and bedtime without too much hassle.
We were doing ok, and I felt like I had a handle on things. (HA!) The toddler was giggling her way through Caillou (barf), and the baby’s bedtime seemed to be going smoothly. Until she woke up, screaming her usually-adorable little head off. Right when I needed to start bedtime with the toddler.
Even though I have been doing bedtime with the two of them for over a year now, in my overly exhausted state, I couldn’t deal with the situation. I called my husband (all the way in Minneapolis), practically in tears. “But Frieda’s already watched over a half an hour of TV, and she really needs a bath, and I don’t know how to get Rosie back to sleep and she clearly wants to be up, and I don’t know what to do!”
“Ditch the bath, let Frieda watch another Caillou, snuggle Rosie until she goes down. You’ll be fine.” (This brief interaction is a perfect example of the difference between Dads and Moms. Or maybe just between my husband and me. He’s so pragmatic, I’m so anxious. It’s all straightforward for him, but so fraught for me. Or maybe it’s just the fatigue. Yeah, that’s it. Let’s blame on the lack of sleep.)
I knew he was right, but I couldn’t get over the bath. The kid needed a bath, and even though nobody would care (except our daycare provider, of course, and the other parents at daycare, and anyone we might run into at the grocery store… and me, of course), I NEEDED to give my toddler a bath. In my exhaustion-induced tunnel vision, I couldn’t think of anything else but this damn bath.
So, I decided to give both girls a bath together. This may seem like the obvious solution to the situation, but the last time we tried this little trick, my big girl got so excited that she splashed the crap out of the baby, who freaked out and started screaming and it all ended in a giant mess.
This time would be different. I had numerous conversations with the toddler about not splashing the baby, and did she ever rise to the occasion. She was gentle and sweet with her sister, and they had a great time. And I gave myself a mighty pat on the back.
You know, the moments when I feel like a Mommy bad-ass are few and far between, and when they do happen, they don’t last long. (Both girls were a wreck when it actually came to getting them into their cribs—they were way too amped up from the excitement of a joint bath.) So, I’ll take what I can get, and maybe even kvell over myself every once in awhile. But for now, I need a nap before we head back to the pediatrician to see if we can figure out why this baby still has a fever.