Bedtime in my house is a magical hour. Or two. I consider “bedtime” to be whatever time I realize that my eyes have glazed over, and I have just enough energy to get off the couch and into bed. This happens anytime between 8pm and midnight. Anytime after 11pm, and I’m setting myself up for delirium and regret in the morning. Seeing as it’s 10:54pm now, I’ll make this quick.
Cade has been in bed for hours. My husband has been asleep for at least 45 minutes. My contacts are dry like the Gobi, and I have lost motivation to check even Facebook. But before I drift off into peaceful rest, I must take care of a few, last-minute details. This is my nightly ritual:
- Make bottles so Grady will have enough for the overnight hours. This also keeps me from fumbling with a measuring cup of formula powder into a bottle at 4am. Last time I forgot, it looked like I had thrown a soiree where cocaine had been given out as a party favor. This is not something you want to clean up the next morning.
- Change Grady’s diaper, remove spit-up-encrusted sleeper from his snoozing body, and replace with a clean sleeper. Swaddle him into a velcro straightjacket not unlike Dwight’s Thundershirt. Do all of this without waking him up.
- Speaking of the mongrel, let Dwight out for a final pee. Dwight’s routine: take care of business first, run to fence, bark and howl at rabbits in the neighbor’s yard. Bark louder. Howl again.
- Retrieve Dwight from yard before he wakes the neighbors. Do this with or without shoes on, no matter the temperature or weather.
- Run downstairs and make sure that whatever lump of wet laundry is in the washer makes it into the dryer. Forgetting to do this will result in clothes that smell like the Okefenokee Swamp.
- Make sure front and back doors are locked. Nobody likes intruders.
- Pick up all toys from living room floor and put into toy bin. Admit that this is a futile exercise, as all toys will be strewn across the room again tomorrow by 7am.
- Check hallway path to bedroom for toys. Clear path of all obstructions from living room to bedroom. Wheel Grady’s bassinet from living room to hallway. Attempt 3-point turn to get Grady around the corner and into bedroom. Corner happens to be directly in front of Cade’s room, so turn must be silent, quick, and catlike. FYI–Bassinet wheels were not meant for high-performance maneuvers.
- Fill humidifier. Turn on high mist so little nugget doesn’t get a stuffy nose.
- Turn on white noise machine and night light. Noise machine drowns out hallway noise for Grady should Cade wake up crying. Night light is so I can see to do the remaining tasks.
- Put on my own pajamas. I use the term loosely, because “pajamas” generally means whatever semi-comfortable clothing I found for myself in the dark at the foot of the bed. Or on the floor. Sometimes I will give it the sniff test to make sure it’s clean. The amount I care about cleanliness is inversely proportional to how tired I am. For example, I’m pretty sure that the sweatpants I’m wearing have a jelly stain on them from yesterday.
- Brush my teeth, wash my face, take out my contacts. Contacts are a tricky business when you’re exhausted. I have, more than once, attempted to take out contacts that were already out. This means that I have picked at my own corneas wondering why the “contacts” are stuck. Thankfully, I always realize what I am doing before I end up as a really gross story on the local news.
And now it’s 11:23pm, so it’s time to wrap this puppy up. The 4am feeding sneaks up faster than I’d like to admit.