Sunday, June 10, 2012

Night-night time with Nana and Diggy

We have no-one to blame but ourselves, of course, for this chaotic polka of whirling dervish clowns that we call the grandchildren's nighttime ritual.   For we have allowed the bedtime routines to be designed and executed by the grandchildren -- Conner (3.2), Noah (2), and Kay (.8-ish). 

I won't speak for my dear, long-suffering wife, but for my part, I promote "Grandchildren Gone Wild"  for two reasons.  First, because I think it is a grandparent's duty to feed candy to small hyperactive beings.

And secondly, because I secretly relish confounding my son and his wife who take parenting seriously.  They always send the grandchildren with instructions and notes on their disciplinary progress.  I take devious pleasure in ignoring all instructions and spoiling the grandchildren as much as possible.   Of course, we  pay a price for this.

Parent's suggested routine:  7:30 pm -- quiet time, read a book, brush teeth, go to bed, sleep through the night.  (They wish!  It doesn't work that way for them either.)

Nana and Diggy's routine: 

7:30 p.m. - Television (Team Umi-Zumi, Dora the Explorer, Barney, Go Diego Go) and snacks (ice cream, lollypops, roll-ups, oreos and (for some unknown reason) cheddar cheese.   A bottle for Kay which she will usually barf completely up on my shirt which means she is still hungry, so I'll fix her a second bottle and remember not to wear a shirt.

8:00 p.m. -- Conner and Noah begin their nighttime ritual of chasing each other all over the house, knocking each other over, and screaming in hilarity, excitement and sometimes pain (hard to tell the difference).  Kay crawls, spits up in smaller quantities, and tries to climb up on anything taller than herself -- which is almost everything -- particularly light and fragile pieces of furniture that she can pull over on top of herself.

8:30 p.m. -- Noah is the first who begins to fade.  Nana takes him into the master bedroom (odd name since the so-called master never sleeps there when the grandchildren are here).   She goes in with him to settle him down, telling me she'll be out shortly to help with Kay and Conner.  10% of the time, she appears after getting him to sleep.  10% of the time, he appears after getting her to sleep.  80% of the time, I don't see either of them until sometime after midnight.

8:31 p.m. -- Conner, who takes after his daddy, requests a second dinner -- usually chicken nuggets or hot dogs.  I prepare these with one hand while holding Kay with the other. 

9:00 p.m. -- Kay suddenly goes sleep like a switch has been thrown.   While Conner eats hotdogs, I change her diaper (an appetizing combination).   I place her gently in her crib.

9:05 p.m. -- Kay wakes up in her crib and protests loudly.  Change diaper even through it doesn't need changing.  Three swallows of bottle to top her off.  Switch is thrown again and she is out like a light.

 Conner and I turn off Barney (not his favorite)  and turn on any of a gazillion recorded videos -- Cars, Toy Story, How to Tame Your Dragon (maybe I should take notes), Madagascar, Tangled, etc. -- any cartoon movie that is vivid, loud, action-packed.   I fall asleep on couch.

9:15 p.m. --  I am awakened by Karen's voice from bedroom asking that we turn down the volume.

9:45 p.m -- Conner voluntarily moves upstairs to the boys' bedroom.  Unfortunately, this is not because his bed is there but because most of his toys are there which he scatters around the floor to make future walking in the dark a challenge.  Loud bright videos continue since the boys have their own television - we're grandparents, remember .  I go up with him and fall asleep on his bed. 

10:00 p.m. -- Conner finally comes to lie down on his bed...unfortunately he does this to wake me up and request more snacks.

10:05 p.m. -- Returning with requested snacks, I discover he has fallen asleep.  I tuck him in and head for my studio where I usually sleep on the day-bed there.  Leaving his room, I step on a tiny plastic triceratops.  I wake everyone in the house up with an explosion of unrepeatable words.

10:15 p.m. -- Start over.  Diaper, bottle, snacks, walk recently awakened Daisy-dog, and finally relocate self to my studio where I have a day-bed.  But my computer is also there and my computer addiction forces me to browse -- Blogspot, Email, Facebook, Overseas stock markets.   I fall asleep in my office chair.

10:30 p.m. -- Awakened by Noah crying in the ironically named master bedroom and Karen's footsteps back and forth downstairs.   Relocate self to day-bed and fall asleep, still dressed.

11:30 p.m. -- Conner wakes and, thinking I never brought him his 10:05 snacks, yells out for me.  I step on more toys, give him a slice of cheddar cheese.  I try to leave but he demands that I sleep with him.

11:32 p.m. -- His bed is barely big enough for him,  so I curl up at the bottom of it.  His feet jerk in his sleep, kicking me mercilessly.  However, the barrage fails to keep me from falling asleep.

Midnight -- Although I can sleep through kicking feet and his television which is still blaring, just the quiet whimper from Kay in the nursery instantly wakes me.  Step on more toys.  Change diaper, which this time is full and odorous.  Top her off.   Go downstairs, reload bottle.  Fall asleep on the guest bed in the nursery. 

1:30 a.m. -- Conner has a nightmare.   Screams hysterically.  I rush to him barefoot over minefield of toys only to find he has already gone back to sleep.  I finally turn off televisions.  Unsure who will wake up next, I fall asleep on carpeted hall floor near the stairs, equidistant from the three grandchildren.

2:00 a.m. -- I hear Karen's voice softly calling me, "Are you still awake?"   I pretend that I am not awake. 

2:15 a.m. -- Everyone is finally asleep and I realize that I am the one who is hungry.  I sneak downstairs for a spoonful of peanut butter.  

2:16 a.m. -- Moving stealthily around in the kitchen like a burglar in the dark, Daisy-dog mistakes me for a burglar in the dark and goes into bark-alarm mode, waking the entire neighborhood.     

2:20 a.m. -- Everyone in the neighborhood goes back to sleep.

2:30 a.m. -- I walk around in the dark, eating peanut butter and petting the dog.  And fall asleep...or fall into a kind of sleep.  I seem to have evolved the art of walk-sleeping which is related to, but different, from sleep-walking.  I have no accurate memory of anything after 2:18 a.m.   However, in the morning, there is evidence that I have continued to move around since bottles, snack bowls, television remotes, toys, used diapers, etc., will all have been moved from where I thought they had been to places where no-one can find them.  


6:30 a.m. -- Karen calls up to me to ask if I can give Daisy her morning walk.  After figuring out (1) who I am and (2) where I am, I take Daisy for a nice long morning stroll, watching the sunrise, picking up poop in a little plastic bag, and noticing that nobody else in the entire neighborhood seems to be awake yet.   I use my cell phone to call my son and his wife, just to wake them up, but they have learned to put their phones on silent so my sense of humor is thwarted.

7:00 a.m. -- Daisy and I return home and, if it is a weekday, we try to wake the grandchildren so we can get Conner and Noah to day-care.   But, of course, they are sleeping like angels.   Or logs. 

"The only thing more difficult that getting a child to go to sleep when they want to stay awake is getting them to wake up when they want to stay asleep."



  1. Oh lord! I wonder whether it was like that for my grandparents when my sister and I were little. Well, for one thing, we didn't have TV in the room where we slept, and Toy Story etc. had not yet been invented. Instead of plastic triceratops, we had lego bricks (which are just small enough to fit between someone's toes).

  2. I have no idea how my neighbor does it but their little boy is ALWAYS sleeping. They put him to bed at 7:30 and then they stay out in their garage the rest of the evening (with baby monitor). When I take my dogs out I usually always say "Hi" and that boy is never up past 7:30.

    Your story sounds much like my sister's.

  3. The should go in your book. I know you are writing one because you said you were. I can sit here and laugh not because we did it with our grands oh no. We had 6 little ones and this sounds like our routines. Never more than one grand at a time.

  4. your grands cause you to be MIA? Is it Father's Day in US?