This Is How It’s Done, Take Two

The girls are playing together quietly in the other room. Signs suggest that they intend to keep doing so indefinitely — but it’s 2pm, which is a good nap time, and they aren’t bouncing around with energy, so… well, you might as well try.

You pick one up in either arm, stand up (that’s one serious squat), and sit in the rocking chair. At first, they don’t protest; this could, potentially, be interesting. Maybe you’re going to play Trot Trot to Boston with them, or let them bang on your laptop. But then, when all you seem to be doing is rocking them and ignoring their signals that they’d rather get down… well, this might call for some screaming and struggles. At least, now that they’re 14 months old, they’re more aware of each other and of their own bodies than they used to be, so they’re not kicking and pushing each other as they did 7 months ago. No, the kicks and pushes are directed at the appropriate person: you.

Briefly, the girls are distracted when they notice that you’re wearing four earrings. They stand up in your lap, stop screaming, and yank at said earrings. Finally, secret codename: Isis rips one of the earrings out of your ear and hands it to you helpfully, as if to say, “Hey, were you looking for this? Because I just found it in your earlobe.” “Thank you, Isis,” you say. “Thank you.” Not really wanting to experience that searing pain three more times, you manage somehow to remove your remaining earrings while continuing to hold both girls, then throw the earrings out of reach, onto a nearby table. They land noisily, which leads both girls to point at them enthusiastically and yell, “Whazzat? Whazzat?” “Those are my earrings,” you respond. “Aunt Kristin’s earrings.”

These girls aren’t seeming particularly sleepy.

You bounce them in your arms, making “Shh shh shh shh” noises intended to calm them. Isis finds this fascinating and stares at you, going “CHH CHH CHH CHH” and sticking her fingers in your mouth to figure out how you’re making that fun, awesome sound. On the other side, secret codename: Phoenix starts kicking and screaming again. Phoenix LOVES the Sandra Boynton book, Blue Hat, Green Hat, so, quickly, you assess everyone’s outfit and approximate a line from the book, announcing, “Yellow pants, red pants, black pants, OOPS!” Phoenix freezes in her howling, looks at you, and bursts into giggles; then takes a big breath and starts howling again. At this point, Isis is also howling and kicking, so clearly it’s time to bring out the big guns. You start singing the “Stay Awake” song from Mary Poppins.

Not three minutes later, Isis is fast asleep, in a position that looks horribly uncomfortable but that she’s apparently okay with. Phoenix, on the other hand, has discovered that in the absence of your earrings, your hair is excellent for pulling. It can be yanked out of its braid and it’s so much longer and more interesting than the hair of her usual grown-ups, yes, indeed, she can pull on individual strands or she can grab whole handfuls and make a big mess. She can pull it really hard and, on account of Aunt Kristin’s arms being full of toddlers, one of whom is asleep, Aunt Kristin can’t try to stop her! This is SO much more fun than trying to pull Aunt Kristin’s hair when Aunt Kristin’s hands are free! YANK! YANK! TEAR!

Suddenly, secret codename: Joe comes home. When he walks into the room, Phoenix believes she’s being rescued from her cruel aunt who won’t put her down. She drops your hair, reaches her arms out to Daddy, and opens her mouth to scream. Joe takes one look at you, sees the fast-asleep toddler on one side, sees the imminently-screaming toddler on the other side, and bounds across the room. He snatches Phoenix up and bounds away again, just in time. Phoenix screams and kicks and howls, but all of it takes place at the other end of the house, and she doesn’t wake her sister.

A few minutes later, having made the executive decision that Isis is well and truly asleep, you lay her down in the nursery. This leaves the rocking chair free for Joe to work his magic on Phoenix, who’s still howling. Joe sings a song to Phoenix about how Daddy loves Phoenix and Phoenix loves Mommy and Mommy loves Isis and Isis loves Tanker (the cat) and Tanker loves Aunt Kristin and Aunt Kristin loves Sophie (the other cat) and Sophie loves Daddy and Daddy loves Phoenix. The song is a never-ending loop. You begin to feel a bit sandwiched by cats.

A few minutes after that, a sleeping Phoenix joins Isis in the nursery. The time is 2:30pm.

And that’s how it’s done.

(A lot more interactive than the time I did it seven months ago. These girls are growing up!)