Monday, August 1, 2011

Not Terrible, but Certainly Not Terrific Either

We have been going through a bit of a rough patch with our delightful two-year-old twins. Elliot, in particular, has been making our lives a little more challenging than we would have it be in a perfect world. Basically, the boy won’t nap for us. He has not napped in my presence in at least two, if not three, weeks. He will generally nap for Lina, but for Craig and me, he just screams, cries or generally acts up in his crib until he is removed. It would be one thing if the kid didn’t actually need a nap, but he does. Very much. When he doesn’t nap, he destroys. He throws and hits and is generally naughty until bedtime. He doesn’t like to eat when he’s sleepy. He can’t sit still and gets steadily more insane throughout the day. And it’s just a long day with no break. Leah still naps well, unless Elliot works his magic and keeps her awake by engaging her in his antics (pulling the curtains open, throwing lovies/blankets/animals out of cribs, banging cribs against the wall, jumping, singing etc.). We tried separating them yesterday to no avail. Leah slept well, but Elliot threw a total fit and wouldn't calm down until I removed him not just from the pack-n-play in our bedroom, but totally from the scene of the non-nap. Then, when he should be napping and Leah is napping, he just wants to visit her, saying “go see Leah!” and crying when we tell him “no”. Good times. I would desperately like to fix this problem, since his constant state of overtiredness on weekends robs me and Craig of our time with Elliot at his best (which is really quite good). By Sunday afternoon, after three missed naps in a row, he is a disaster.

Here’s the rub though: Craig and I are somewhat to blame. With summer comes a lot of schedule/routine disruption. First there was the trip to Maine, then a week with me at home, then two weeks in daycare. Now every weekend we have something to shake up our schedules and prevent optimal napification. We basically lived by the routine for two years with these kids, and now we want to have experiences as a family that take us out of our comfort zones, so I will accept some of the blame for this.

This weekend was another such weekend. On Saturday, we drove down to Newport for the Folk Festival. Yes, we took two two-year-olds to an all-day, outdoor, sold-out, music festival in 90-degree weather. Admittedly, it began rather stressfully. We parked in a lot we were guided to and immediately realized that they were busing people to the festival grounds. We had brought the huge BOB stroller, that we barely know how to fold, and a bunch of crap with us, not to mention a couple toddlers. We ended up walking over a mile in the mega-heat, down a rather steep hill to the entrance. It actually didn’t turn out to be terrible, but it was frustrating to note that we probably could have explained our situation to the people directing parking and gotten a spot closer to the venue. The biggest issue with the entire event was the heat. It was really, really, really hot. And there was very little escape from it. Thank goodness for kind festival-going folks though. We had parked our meager blanket close to the back of the grounds, right in front of the people smart enough to bring along tents and other shade shelters. The people directly behind us were our lifesavers, in the end. They warmly welcomed us into their tent and seriously tolerated Elliot and Leah touching all their things, eating the food they brought back from vendors, sitting in their kids’ chairs and, in Elliot’s case, literally snuggling with them. I truly wish I had their address so I could send them a token of our appreciation. We wouldn’t have been able to stay at the festival anywhere near as long as we did (almost eight hours!) without them. Also saving our bacon was the Lego tent set up for kids which had millions of Duplos and toddler sized tables for the kids to build on. We spent quite a bit of time in their too. Kids weren’t technically allowed into the area where beer was served, but I was able to talk some really nice state police officers into letting us take the twins onto the Beer Pier so their poor, exhausted parents could have a quick beer. Clearly we looked too desperate to deny.  For the trip back to the car, Craig convinced me to take the bus, which was a good idea.  I had to carry both kids, plus our huge diaper bag, which was interesting, and Craig took the enormous stroller, which we clearly are not folding entirely.  The bus driver had Craig sit in the back so he could open the rear door.  Leah and Elliot were pretty popular with all the nice kids (yep, I'm calling people in their 20s "kids" these days) on the bus.  And, OMG, did I mention that the bus was a SCHOOL BUS?!  Elliot and Leah got a huge kick out of that.

In all, it was a really fun day and good experience. The kids held it together incredibly well in the heat, with no nap and subsisting on a huge bag of Pirate’s Booty (which Elliot did share with our friends in the tent), frozen lemonade, half a hot dog each, free chips from the Lego tent and a huge blondie. Well, okay. Reading this now, it’s really no wonder the kids didn’t fall asleep in the car on the way home and were rather cranky the next day. That’s borderline child abuse right there! 

Sunday was Uncle Joshua’s 40th birthday party at their house. Elliot was pretty good at the party, but had a bit of a blank stare on his face as he ransacked all the toys and drank the dregs of all the juice boxes abandoned by other kids. Leah was also good until The Balloon Incident, where her blue balloon (that she wouldn’t let me attach to her in any way) got loose. She received a new, inferior green balloon (sweetly donated by cousin Sasha) and proceeded to freak out when anyone so much as looked at it. She was a teary, clingy, toddlery mess. It was actually pretty funny. She got over it after a while, but she certainly made an impression on the party, especially since she is generally so well behaved.

I’d like to say that things are about to calm down and we are going to settle back into a nice routine, but I can’t. This coming weekend, we are going out to Pittsfield to hang out as a family to celebrate Papa’s 70th birthday party for three nights. The week after, we’re hauling everyone all the way to Philadelphia for Sarah’s baby shower and to see Grandma and Grandpa’s new home. Hopefully after that, with kitchen construction complete and no more travel for a long time, things will settle down a bit and all our good sleep habits will return. Hopefully.