I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but my husband is in school three nights a week and is often out performing at least one more. This is fantastic news nothing makes him happier than performing, and nothing makes me happier than expanded employment potential. But this leaves me alone with the marauding hordes (er, the two babies) at the witching hour on these nights: dinner, pajamas, and sleep for two gals who both need a lot of help unwinding. It’s … an adventure.
But the other night I tried something new: the aquarium! This item was passed along to us by a friend, but there are loads of them listed on Amazon I guess they’re called “crib soothers,” but I think they should be called “yeah, I guess it looks like a little tv, but is the kid crying while I put the other kid to bed? No, in fact, she is not, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.” But that might be too long.
The other night, Penny was exhausted but Abby was in no mood to be quiet while I rocked her to sleep. I had each girl on one shoulder, and could feel Penny sinking deeper and deeper into slumber even as I felt Abby start to fidget and complain. I switched my iPhone from Twitter to Koi Pond total hail-mary move and whaddaya know, she calmed right down, batting gently at the “water” long enough for Penny to be good and snoozy.
Back in our bedroom, she was still fussy, and no amount of nursing, patting, jiggling, walking, or rocking would settle her down. And I wasn’t about to relinquish my phone for the rest of the night. Finally, desperate, I snuck back into Penny’s room and found the aquarium, loaded it up with the batteries from our earthquake kit (believe me, this was an emergency, and my husband reads my blog so he’ll get more, RIGHT RANDY?), and placed it gently in the co-sleeper. I laid in the bed next to Abby with my hand on her tummy, and together we watched the weird, hallucinatory sea creatures waft past.
I mentioned this thing is kinda old, right? The little pictures are a bit faded, and I could see little lines where the plastic had worn. But this just added to the soothing effect for me. It reminded me of when I was in my 20s and I’d wait for the subway in the West 4th Street station late at night. It’d often take 30 to 45 minutes for the train to come, and in whatever altered state I found myself, I’d rest my hand on the thick rubber hand-rail of the escalator, waiting for the uneven seam where it had been repaired to come around. It was meditative, comforting, to go into a dreamy state and feel smooth, smooth, smooth, bumpy! Smooth, smooth, smooth, bumpy! until my train rattled into the station.
I guess Abby felt the same way, because her head turned toward the gentle light and she breathed softly and relaxed and finally fell asleep watching fish, fish, fish, stripe! Fish, fish, fish, stripe! until she sailed off on the ZZZ train.
Of course, this is not a perfect solution. I had to duct-tape the crapping thing to the side of the co-sleeper, because it’s designed to work with a crib; nobody has made one (that I can find) that straps to the inside of a co-sleeper probably because most people manage to allow their child to get more than three feet away from them at night before said child is a year old. Ah, well.
Sweet dreams, little one. And if you take the subway late at night, stay in the middle cars, and know where the conductor is.