Parenting is a challenge. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that statement. The more kids you add to the equation, the more difficult your balancing act becomes. There’s no time of the day where this is more evident than at night. When most people are sleeping away, ours is a tenuous bargain with the volatile little people in our home, hoping that they will allow us to rest and get some sleep of their own. It’s a lot of trial and error, hoping to find a solution that allows us to cohabitate without wanting to kill each other. The boys wake up a LOT at night, sometimes it’s the baby doing what babies do, sometimes it’s our older son, talking in his sleep or just awake and trying to fill in the hours before the sun comes up. Regardless of who starts it, the chain reaction of one child waking the other sets off a series of events that usually ends in tears (mine) or yelling (either adult), but always accompanied by a day’s long crankiness that will only resolve with the elusive sleep that no one seems to be able to get enough of.
After listening to my husband complain about needing this rest, I did my best to come up with a solution, which was to beg his parents to let me bring the boys up for a weekend so he could catch up on sleep, hoping against hope that I might be given a gift of a nap in return. Luckily they agreed and off we went. I’d never travelled with both boys and not had another adult with me, so I wasn’t sure how that would play out. The drive up was tough, but we made it. Construction on the turnpike meant the car slowed to a stop at some point and crawled to an unpleasing roll during the merges, which woke and angered the tinier human. He regaled us with screams and howls of displeasure, stressing me and the less tiny human to no end. Unable to stop the car or do much to help, I had to ignore it as best I could and keep driving until we got to where we were going.
Arriving at my in-laws, I learn my FIL had a broken rib and couldn’t hold the baby. Not that the baby would have let him, mind you, as he was going through a very clingy, mommy-only phase and was essentially glued to me for the whole weekend. My arms ached from holding him. We got the boys set up, ate some yummy take out, and settled in for a long night. The night shift fell entirely on me, which ended up being two separate waking incidents, before we finally just decided to call it morning around 4:30 a.m. The other adults didn’t wake up until much later, so I tried to keep the kids quiet and occupied until they awoke.
It was a lovely sunny summer day, and figuring the boys were antsy and not wanting to particularly listen, I decided to take them for a walk. It was then I realized how much I really should have brought a stroller, because holding the baby was beginning to take its toll. Still, we looped the neighborhood, chatting with the people out mowing their lawns and what not. When we arrived back to the house, we loaded in the car and headed to the children’s museum.
The grounds for the children’s museum was on the campus where I went to college fro my undergrad. It was a very bizarre experience, having last been there years ago as a mostly irresponsible, degenerate asshat and now trying to pass myself off as a functioning adult and parent to hopefully less irresponsible, not-degenerate children. The museum itself had lots for the boys to do and see, which was great. It was tricky getting them to leave when it was finally time for lunch, but we got them off campus in time to make our reservation. My older son ended up eating most of my lunch as he decided mommy’s ravioli looked better than his pizza, so I resigned myself to batting clean up and holding the now sleeping baby for his nap in my lap.
We headed back to the house for a much needed nap myself, as I woke up around 8:00, just in time to put the kids to bed. I had to run out and get more formula for the baby after that, and got lost trying to remember the backroads that had all changed since I’d lived there over a decade ago. Another night of baby duty, waking several times again before he finally peed through his diaper, soaking both him and me. By then it was just after 4:00 a.m. and I was out of clean clothes, so I just said fuck it, and got dressed for the day.
When the other child awoke, we dressed and packed the car. We promised to stop over at the other grandparents house on our way home. I wish I had the patience for more time, but by then the sleep deprivation, stress and general irritability got the better of me and we left. The baby screamed pretty much the whole way home and by the time we rolled up at our house, I was 100% done. I learned that while I can travel with two kids, it’s not ideal. I did figure out some stuff that would be helpful the next time we took the show on the road, and definitely promised myself no matter what, I would bring the damn stroller.