Last night I quietly snuck into the room of my sleeping twins (who still share bunk beds, even though they have their own rooms) and did as I do every night – I removed the blanket covering my son’s head, gently maneuvered my daughter’s leg from between the bed rail, and whispered my love and goodnight wishes to each of them in hopes that even in their dreams they know just how much they are cherished. As I marveled at the way they sleep with complete abandon, and acknowledged the remarkable blessing of enjoying another incredible day with them, I also began to recall the inordinate amount of time I have spent thinking about, begging for, worrying about, and watching my twins sleep!
Stage 1: Are they okay? Are they supposed to sleep so much? Maybe I should just give them a little nudge and make sure they are breathing? Why did I let my mother talk me out of the video monitor? I should probably just sleep in the nursery with them – just in case…
Stage 2: Why won’t you sleep? Am I ever going to sleep again? Is the swaddle tight enough? Maybe the sound machine isn’t loud enough? Is it opposite day – why did that “sleepy time” bath stuff seem to energize them? Maybe I should put them in separate rooms…
Stage 3: Is that the sun – did they sleep ALL night? Are they hungry, thirsty, sick? Will this last? I feel so rested. This better not mean the end of naps!
Stage 4: Are they too old for cribs? How will I get them to stay in bed? Can I keep them in pull-ups forever? Surely they are exhausted enough to go right to sleep tonight! I probably need to move them to toddler beds, or maybe I should go straight to “big kid” beds? How else can I say “get back in bed”? Even I am tired of hearing that!
Stage 5: Will he remember to look at the clock and NOT get out of bed until at least 6:00 am? Good thing I set that clock behind, if so! How did this nighttime routine get so long? They don’t get that dirty. Baths every other night should suffice. Yes, I do want you to get along and talking for a little bit is fine, but now you have to GO TO SLEEP!
Stage 6: One book, then it is lights out! I believe you – this time is the absolute last time you won’t sleep in your own room… until tomorrow night, I’m sure. Am I going to have to wake them up for school – why are they sleeping so late? Is it bedtime already? We just got home! Gosh, why are there such big kids sleeping in my “babies” beds?
Stage 7, 8, 9, 10… I can only imagine what is ahead, but I do know that it will be different. Before I know it, their “bedtime” will be well after mine and me watching them sleep will be just plain creepy (or maybe creepier?) As hard as it is to believe, there are things that I miss about every stage we have been through. I miss snuggly little newborns, tickle fests after the bath, middle of the night check-ins that didn’t involve sickness, and early morning cartoons. I know that one day, probably soon, I will look in on the kiddos as usual and see my son finishing up homework due the next day, or my daughter painting her toenails at “only” 10:00 pm. I know too, though, that on those nights, just like all of those before it – I will wish for them many sweet dreams, whenever they may come.
Shellie Fossick is “mom” to 5 year old boy/girl twins who started Kindergarten this year! She is also the Development Director for a non-profit organization that provides high quality early care and education for more than 400 low-income children in Middle Tennessee. She lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and two children. To read more of Shellie’s Twiniversity articles, click here.