Location: Florida

So, this is how it’s done.

First, in one arm, you pick up the twin who’s falling asleep in her bouncy chair. Then you crouch down and, in the other arm, pick up the twin who’s being cranky on the floor. Then, babies crying, you shuffle over to the stereo on your knees and use your elbow to turn on the Cranberries. Then you sit down on the floor for a second and do some adjustments. Baby adjustments are difficult when you’ve got a baby in each arm and no free hands, but you saw your sister, secret codename: Cordelia, doing it yesterday, so you know it can be done. Finally, each baby in as comfortable a position as can be achieved while she’s bawling and thrashing, you stand yourself up, go to the rocking chair, and sit. You rock, bounce a bit, and make shushing noises continuously for about ten minutes. The babies scream and kick. The moment one settles down and begins to fall asleep, the other yells, kicks her, and wakes her up. They take turns at this for a while, kicking each other and keeping each other awake. They’re not doing it on purpose; it’s not their fault; these are sweet-natured girls who are very, very tired but too little to understand how much better they’d feel if they’d just let themselves succumb to their sleepiness. The situation appears to be hopeless, but you’ve seen both Cordelia and secret codename: Joe do this before, so you know it’s worth trying for at least a few more minutes. You attempt to shift them a little bit so that their kicks and punches don’t reach each other. This is harder than you’d think with no free hands while rocking and jiggling and trying not to make any motions that will wake them up more than they already are awake.

Time passes. They begin to give in.

Suddenly they are asleep.

Now you have two warm, snuffling, sleeping nieces in your arms and nothing you need to do except for hold them, rock, look at them, and listen to the Cranberries. They have tear stains on their faces and their little eyelashes are clumped together. They are beautiful.

You are the world’s happiest auntie.

That’s how it’s done.