The mystery of pack and play folding, and other fun parenting skills

We had the opportunity to help friends (who also happen to be our youth pastors) out this weekend and watch their young boys overnight while they participated in the Fine Arts competition with the youth of our church.  Considering over thirty students competed in some form or other, it was a busy two days without having small children in tow, but had their sons been with them, it would probably have been exceedingly exhausting for everyone involved.  It was a free weekend for us and really, we had no reason to say no.  Andrew and Josiah have been tight buddies since this family moved to Lexington, so it went without saying that the two of them were over the moon to have the chance to spend so much time together.

The overnight was fine–and fun.  The boys were well-behaved, or at least as well-behaved as our own kids, and having eight in the house really wasn’t that much of a change.  Anyone who knows our kids knows that they love babies.  Each week at CC,  Hannah, Brendan, and Ben take turns holding the newest additions to our CC families and would rather get their “baby fixes” sometimes than run around outside during recess time.  They are all kind and gentle with youngsters, and always take time to say hello to them or chat for a bit.  It was no different when the little Judah arrived at our home on Friday, either.  They all fawned over him and tried to get his attention and his laughs.  We were all entertained by his antics and the cute names he had for the kids (such as Patrick’s name of “Ick”).  It’s easy to take care of a toddler when there’s so much help around!

My only source of anxiety came when it neared bedtime.  We had planned to let Andrew and Josiah sleep out in the family room, since they considered this their sleepover, but that left Judah.   Todd thought he’d fare the best if we put his pack and play up in the boys’ bedroom,  so he wouldn’t feel alone.  Sounded like a good idea, no?

For one thing, we let everyone stay up probably later than they should have been, but it was party at the Tighe house, right? Friday night and nowhere to go the next morning?  Why not spend a little time watching a movie together and enjoying the evening?  Not a problem.  Everyone got ready for bed and changed into their jammies without complaint or incident, so we were chugging right along.  I anticipated that we’d have a bit of a problem with the littlest one when the moment of truth actually arrived and bedtime was nigh.  He did not disappoint.  Todd said goodnight and helped him settle into his bed while the other boys and Chloe made their way to the bedroom.  Judah was instantly upset and began calling for his Daddy. “I want to see my Daddy!” he repeated, getting more agitated.  The other kids, clearly out of practice for this sort of thing (because while our kids don’t immediately lay down and close their eyes and mouths when bedtime comes, as there hasn’t been a lot of crying for a while.  Believe me, there’s LOTS of protest here at bedtime; it just comes in the form of endless trips for glasses of water and lots of giggles.)

So he’s crying and getting louder and louder.  Our kids are troubled by this.  They turn on the light if Judah says it’s too dark.  They may have even picked him up for a short time if he complained about being in the pack and play.  I went in there and assured Judah that he was OK to sleep at our house, telling him that all the other kids were going to sleep, and talking about all the fun things we planned to do tomorrow.  I also spoke to my oblivious kids, who were so out of practice with putting a baby down for bed.  Don’t turn the light on, don’t talk a lot to him, blah blah blah.   “Listen,” I instructed, “before he settles down, he may C-R-Y for a few minutes.”  I spelled out ‘cry’ so Judah wouldn’t get any more ideas, because while I was in there, he was quieted.  I followed it with a stern,  “You may even have to I-G-N-O-R-E it for a few minutes while he figures it out.”

IMMEDIATELY, Brendan pops up and loudly exclaims, “WHAT!?!  We may have to IGNORE him, you say?  He might CRY!?!?!?!”

Aw, sheesh.  So much for subtle messages.  Leave it to Brendan to say what I was trying to hide.  We couldn’t do anything but laugh.  He’s funny like that.

I left after saying goodnight to the boys and Chloe again, and Judah started up as soon as I crossed out of the threshold of the room.   Todd and I passed in the hallway and he went in there to comfort him once more.  He was successful at getting Judah to finally understand that it was bedtime without being cruel.  He’s good like that.  It sounded like they were finally quieting down for the night when I walked by on the way to our bedroom.   I almost completely lost it when I heard Judah yell out, “BOYS!  ‘TOP IT! ‘TOP IT!  TIME FOR NIGHT-NIGHT!!”  to which Patrick, Brendan, and Ben dissolved into peals of laughter and he started correcting them again.  “‘TOP IT! ‘TOP IT! GO NIGHT NIGHT!”  I quickly ran to my room so I could laugh without getting caught.  My kids had finally been given the what-for by a two-year-old, and it was a stitch.

The rest of the visit was just fine and we were all properly exhausted when the boys returned home to their parents.  We had a taste of dirty diapers, sippy cups, and blankies.  Patrick had his first taste of trying to fold up a pack and play (without reading the SIMPLE instructions, like a good man would).  We all slept well that night.



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