How do you put two small children to bed on your own?
I’d say it’s impossible, except, obviously, single parents do it all the time. I don’t know how. My preference is to have someone around to help me. Like my wife. This is a rubbish plan because sooner or later she is going to want to go out. Laws against imprisonment and slavery make preventing it difficult.
The unwritten laws against admitting any fear or doubt mean you can’t ask your wife for guidance as she leaves. “I’ll be fine.” You say in your bluff admiral’s voice.
She looks worried. But not worried enough to stay. “Bye bye, mummy.” you all wave. You hope she can’t see the terror in your eyes.
The moment she’s gone your toddler, sensing your weakness, becomes a psychopath. Like an evil wrestler he brutally body slams his baby sister to the floor and pins her there, stroking her head and laughing hysterically.
It’s time for bed.
The last time you were in this predicament you tried putting your son to bed first, but your daughter made such an ear splitting protest that you, long story short, lost your mind. This time you decide to try it the other way round. You go upstairs to sooth your daughter to sleep with a warm bottle. Satan’s happiest demon shadows you, singing loudly.
“Ssssssssh” you say in a whisper, pressing your finger to your lips theatrically then pointing at your daughter. Your son, to your surprise, copies you.
He SSSHs loudly at her each time he stomps into the room, carrying another random household object to put on top of her. Finally he tops all his previous interruptions by clomping in in his mothers black high heels and wearing her bra like shoulder pads. He looms over his sister terrifyingly and makes his loudest SSSSSH! yet. This is more than your daughter can tolerate.
“How was it?” Your wife asks later, sweeping in happily, swathed in the air of the grown up world.
“Fine.” You say, your voice cracking with emotion.