Despite Genevieve having strep throat and Cecile picking up some 24-hour fever, the girls and I have found a little bit of harmony lately. Okay, harmony not so much like Handel's "Messiah." It's more akin to hearing Row Row Row Your Boat in a round, a little off-key, and perhaps sung in a way you can't always tell for certain whether or not the canon is intentional. But it's most definitely the same song.
The dance starts when we come home from school. There is a snack, and I cook dinner while the girls play inside or out. (Yes! We've been able to be outside lately! A game-changer.) We eat around six o'clock. Cecile clears the plates and we march upstairs by 6:30. Pajamas on, teeth brushed, and I [try to remember to] lay our tomorrow's clothes. Each girl picks one book, which we read together in Cecile's bed. Then we turn out Cecile's light, I tell her a story and sing her a song from the door jam ("Maybe" from Annie, "So Long Farewell" from The Sound of Music, and "McNamara's Band" are current favorites), and then wish her goodnight and close the door. Then I go nurse Genevieve in her rocking chair before placing her in her crib and wishing her goodnight, too. Since her fall last month she cries when I put her down, but quiets herself and falls asleep within a few minutes. It's about as much as I can ask for. And the whole thing is usually done by 7:30.
Does it always go smoothly? Absolutely not. Why, on Thursday last week Cecile let herself out of the backyard with Genevieve in tow for a "flower fairy walk" without telling me. I found them around the block with a neighbor; my heart in my throat. So I bought latches for the fence gates. And on Monday Cecile escalated her boundary pushing by hitting Genevieve, and later, me. Which is completely unacceptable and we had to stop everything to make completely clear just how unacceptable the behavior truly was and is and will always be. So, yes, the process is still trying. Very, very trying with many long, deep breathes. But like I said: Same song! Maybe my larger point is that it may have taken nearly two years, but I am finally, finally, finally not completely and entirely overwhelmed by the idea of staring down bedtime with two children alone. Small [mental] victories [of my own], I suppose.
Naturally, everything is about to be shaken up. This weekend Jon's extended family is in town for a memorial service and Seder dinner. And then Tuesday the girls and I are up and out and down to Florida to be with my mother's side of the family through the Easter holiday. The girls will be sharing a room for the first time and I'm more than a little nervous about it, but I am hoping hours of sunshine and sand will poop them out enough that they go to sleep and stay asleep. And if they don't, I'm going to try very hard to check my idea of what constitutes a vacation and find a sliver of joy in what bare feet in the sand before 6 a.m. feels like ... before pleading with my dear husband to, again, please update my passport and book us a damned vacation of our own ;) ;)