When the little ones came for a sleepover the other night, all it took to get the older one down was 1,000 or so words of Harry Potter. As for the little one, remember the baby-sitting scene from “Tootsie” where Jessica Lange comes home from her date to find the baby still up, an apartment that looks like it’s been tossed by robbers and Dustin-Hoffman-as-Dorothy splayed in dazed disarray on the floor? That was me.
He said he wanted ‘Papa’ to tuck him in and I could hear stories being read aloud from the tiny third floor room with the crib in it. Alas, Papa was just the appetizers in his baby mind, the main dish being old ‘TT’ which is what he and his brother both call me. “Read dese books!” he joyfully cried as I entered the nursery. And so I did: dese books and dose books and other books still until at last we came to the crib moment, which brought real tears to his little eyes along with several declarations: that he would sleep sitting up, that his blankie must not actually touch his body, and that what he really needed was a some bacon. “Uh, how ’bout a little applesauce?” I asked and descended two flights of stairs to get some, which he ate all wreathed in smiles while standing in the crib.
Once done, he still wouldn’t lie down, so I tried a different tack. “I’m just going to lie on this little bed over here under the eaves.” I said and went and did that.
Then, from the shadows, more bulletins, issued over several minutes’ time and explaining that (a) he was sweating, (b) he was cold, (c) it was really morning, TT, and, (d) he was still hungry. I chose the last statement to respond to. “Well, let’s see what happens when the applesauce really goes down.”
“Ok” he said miserably. Then there was silence for 90 seconds, followed by a swaying-and-chanting combination right out of “The Exorcist.” Lulled by its eerie rhythms, I began to dream.
“The applesauce already GOED down.”
“Ahh!” (Me. Ambiguously.)
Next, there was more chanting, along with some rocking and head banging, the combined sounds of which propelled me back into dreamland. Then, “TT?,” this in a strangled voice.
“Yes?” “I need you TT!” So up I got and lurched toward the crib: “What is it, sweetheart?”
“Dis came from my nose,” he said, and handed me….. something, it was too dark to see, but I took it anyway because that’s what grownups do.
“O-KAY! Great! Now we’re set” I cooed inanely, at a loss as to what the proper response might be in such cases.
“Yup” he sighed, and finally, finally, finally whumped down onto the crib mattress like a bagful of laundry and was snoring before I had the door shut, leaving me to wonder, “Didn’t I used to be sort of good at this?”