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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Solo for the Arsenic Hour 

Tonight was a big night for Evelin; she's co-chair of a big Mid-Atlantic educational awards thing and tonight was the red carpet and all that jazz. She's been part of this committee for several years now (our sorta-babymoon weekend in Amish country was connected to a meeting for this thing), but this is the first of the big to-dos that she's done.

And what all that means is that she had to leave for Annapolis around 4:30 p.m. … which left me getting the girls fed, bathed, and to bed by myself. Evelin suggested seeing if we could get a babysitter to help me through the arsenic hour, but stubborn me felt that would be a bit of a cop out or something.

I tried to minimize the pain of it all by scrapping any plans to cook; I ordered a pizza as soon as I got home. I don't know if calling it in would have been faster, but I used the Domino's online site, and it took about 75 minutes for the pizza to arrive. Quinn, Celeste, and I were doing pretty good so far, so I gave Celeste a slice, grabbed two for myself, and dished up some pumpkin for Quinn.

Quinn, it turns out, was more interested in chewing on toys than eating. But then Celeste wanted pumpkin, and then asparagus, and then dried plums* (although we were out of prunes, so she had to settle for some other mixed dried fruit).

While Celeste ate, I went ahead and gave Quinn a bath. Evelin and I had talked about scrapping baths for both girls, but the timing looking like it was working, so I went ahead with at least that normal part of Quinn's routine. One thing I did different was to let the sink fill up some with water: Quinn has figured out splashing and went to it pretty energetically.

After bathing Quinn, I left Celeste contained in the diningroom/playroom and took Quinn upstairs to try to feed her some milk and get her at least calm in bed so that I could work on getting Celeste to bed.

This is when things got ugly.

Quinn did her usual three-tugs-at-the-bottle-no-thanks-I'm-good-I'll-just-wait-for-mumma thing, so I tried to move her to her crib. At first it looked like she was going to settle down and fade to sleep, but pretty soon she started fussing. At first it was the normal sort of put her to bed awake sort of thing — I'd go in and reposition the blanket and Eeyore and her paci — but it gradually built up into something more. However, most of the time her eyes were closed, despite the thrashing and wailing.

In the middle of this, I'd keep running back downstairs to check on Celeste. Once or twice, I had to leave Quinn in mid wail to check on the bang I'd heard from downstairs, but for the most part Celeste did a fantastic job of playing calming and independently. She'd ask me to do a puzzle or read or to draw every time I came down, I usually had only a minute or two of playtime (some of it accompanied by Quinn screaming via the baby monitor) before I'd have to run back upstairs.

I tried holding Quinn, but that just made her cry harder. I tried feeding her some more, and she did eat some, but not too much. Eventually, she finally settled down enough to get herself to sleep, giving me a good 10 minutes to wash Celeste's face, brush her teeth, and then to paint some before it was time for bedtime stories: Night Pirates, Wilfred to the Rescue, and Bebé Goes Shopping. (We're back to trying books before bed; Celeste has her choice three books, three stories, or a mix — she usually asks for additional stories, but isn't getting too upset when she doesn't get them.)

It's 8:30 p.m., Bones is on; Evelin's probably on stage announcing award winners; and the girls are asleep. Quinn's made a few peeps, but <KNOCKWOOD>I think I might have made it though the worst of the evening</KNOCKWOOD>.

*Yes, the prune marketing board has gotten to her. It's my fault, but Celeste even refers to fresh plums as "wet plums" to distinguish them from "dried plums."
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