|Looked pretty much like this all the time, but with a second toddler too.|
|Yeah, it was more like that. With me barfing nearby.|
(That first photo, by the way, is an argument for "Keep photos of yourself, even if you hate them and can't bear to look at them and have to hide them because if you have to look at them you won't be able to help shredding them." I hated that picture so much when I first saw it, I thought Paul must secretly dislike me to have taken it. Now I love it and am so grateful to have it, and I don't care whether it's flattering per se.) (But Paul really does need to learn about not photographing from up under someone's chin.)
Anyway, I almost couldn't bear the idea of staying up when I COULD BE SLEEPING. I first tried to talk Rob out of it, with the argument that he didn't want to stay up. It was boring, I said. Nothing happened, I said. It was 30 seconds of watching a ball drop on television. It was a long wait in the middle of the night, and then it was over in one minute. I was not going to want to party, or play games, or in fact interact at all. I might even doze in the chair. He would be basically on his own for hours and hours, and he would have to be quiet and not wake up his father or siblings. It would be BORING, I said. He did NOT WANT TO, I said.
Well, but he did. So I let him, figuring I probably COULD manage such a sacrifice for just one night, but saying he had to stay in his room until 9:30, and then IF he was still awake when I came to get him, THEN he could stay up. I added further cautions about how it was not worth it and he would be disappointed and he would be sorry he'd tried it.
|He was not sorry. He was not even very tired.|
The next year was even worse. I was spending my days with two 2-year-olds and a nursing infant, and continued to be unable to bear the idea of staying up until midnight when I COULD BE ASLEEP.
Especially since, at midnight, I would have to face the excruciating dilemma of "Do I go ahead and just stay up until what will likely be a 12:30 feeding---but then maybe end up sitting awake and grinding my teeth and crying with despair at 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, as the baby DOESN'T awaken as expected and I count the time I COULD have been sleeping but now with every passing minute it would be crazier and crazier to go to bed? Or do I go to sleep at midnight, possibly to be awakened by a baby riiiiiiight as I'm drifting off, throwing me into Night Mother Rage? Or do I wake the baby early to nurse before I go to bed, feeling stupid for waking a sleeping baby AND maybe not successfully nursing anyway, only to face the same dilemma at 12:45 instead of at midnight?"
God, the small-baby nights can be unpleasant. But we did it anyway: Rob and I stayed up for New Year's again. I seem to have blocked out what I did about nursing. Isn't memory merciful sometimes?
The year after that, William wanted to stay up too. I had the same rule, now for two children instead of one: if they were awake when I came in at 9:30, they could stay up for New Year's.
|They both made it. William just barely.|
I'm not sure which year it started feeling like a party instead of an ordeal. I think it took me a couple of years to recover from night-nursing and to feel again as if I could imagine staying up late without suffering. It was probably two New Year's Eves ago, in 2010, when Henry was 3 years old and Rob and William were 11 and 9. Instead of making them stay in their rooms, I let them just stay up and play video games and watch TV. Instead of deliberately making it no fun in the hopes that they would not want to do it anymore, I bought Festive Snacks: pizza rolls, Doritos, M&Ms, soda for them and champagne for me.
I still made it a low-interaction event: I would like to spend my New Year's Eve filling out the next year's calendar, being on the computer, reading a book, doing some puzzles, writing in a journal---not playing with children. But if the children would like to play nearby, that is fine.
And last year and this year, I've even looked forward to it. The boys and I plan ahead of time what snacks we would like to eat (my favorite is the boneless buffalo wings; I am also fond of champagne). We go out together on a special shopping trip to obtain those snacks, in case another snack idea needs to be considered on the spot (this year it was ranch-flavored chicken fries: we were intrigued) (edited to add: ick).
Paul has started watching a movie with them in the early evening, to give me some time to recharge before the evening ahead. (Paul himself hits the hay at 10:00 sharp. He is not tempted by our offers of snacks and Ryan Seacrest and grumpy tiredness the next day.) This year they're all watching the first Harry Potter movie while I sit in the computer room, typing and looking through old photos.
Also, this year the twins are the same age Rob was when he first stayed up. They have been given the option to join us. Elizabeth is ALL IN. She won't have any trouble staying up: sometimes when we go to bed, we have to tap on her door and say "Lights OUT, Elizabeth." Edward is uncertain: he usually has dark under-eye circles by 6:00 p.m., and he is asleep 5 minutes after he goes to bed, so he doesn't know if this will work. Either way, we have plenty of snacks.
Edited to add: They did it!
|(William is not taller than Rob; Rob is standing down several steps.)|