“There’s So Much Room For Activities!”

I worked in my classroom into the darkness last night and when I got home Lynnette told me that Cole had a rough day. He’s been fighting a cold and fever, and I have to admit that he’s been pretty friendly all things considered. Last night he was fussy and would stop crying when we picked him up, but would immediately begin to cry if we lowered him into the play area. I was on the couch when Lynnette scooped him up. “I know what your problem is,” I said to him. Tears hung on his cheeks. His binky was in his mouth. “Your world is just too small, isn’t it?” I said.

1Lynnette and I changed the configuration of the plastic gate to cover to allow for more of the living room in the play area. As you can see from Cole’s face in this picture, he was absolutely thrilled. He squealed over and over as he walked into and out of his room, shook the baby gate at the top of the stairs, and strutted along the new perimeter. “There’s so much room for activities,” I thought to myself as I watched the twins move around the newly opened (and freshly vacuumed) play area. Madison was quick to point out that the twins’ toys would now be spread out over an even greater swath of our living room. She groaned or sighed, but she too was too caught up in the twins’ excitement.

2Avery went on to claim some new territory for herself last night as well. All five of us were in the living room when I noticed that Avery was on the couch. “Did you put Avery on the couch?” I asked Lynnette. “No,” she said. I didn’t. I asked if she or Madison had seen Avery climb the couch, and both said they had not. So I took her down, just to see if she indeed got up there on her own. She wasn’t too happy about that. A few minutes later, though, she worked her way back up onto the couch. Then, she started running back and forth while leaning against the back of the couch. She then dove into the pillows piled up at the far end, just like Cole has been doing for months. She laughed and squealed and worked herself up into a nice sweat before Lynnette put her down for the night.

My reward, it seems, for opening a whole new world of possibilities for the twins was to be gifted only 4 hours of sleep. Cole woke up at 10:45 and screamed. Lynnette brought him a bottle, but he wasn’t hungry. He just kept screaming. We took turns carrying him. I got him to stop screaming for 3 minutes but having him look out the window at Christmas lights. But then he remembered he was super-upset about something and started screaming again. Lynnette tried to walk him around the bedroom. This went on for over an hour. He took a little milk, but cried regardless of whether we held him or not. Near midnight, I heard Lynnette ask Cole if he wanted to watch Mickey Mouse. “Why not?” I thought. She called up our go-to YouTube video – the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse “Hot Dog” song put on a loop for an hour – and he stopped crying immediately. I was relieved but also irritated. What was he so upset about then? The lack of quality children’s programming at 11:00 at night? The last thing I remember seeing before falling asleep is seeing the rectangle of Lynnette’s phone shining like a beacon in the darkness. You know what the last thing I heard was. Some time later I heard Lynnette’s voice say Cole had fallen asleep. She turned off the “Hot Dog”. I held my breath. He did not stir. I slept in the van for 30 minutes this morning. I heard someone outside the car and woke up. I tried to move, but I couldn’t. It was one of those things. Eventually I got up, turned the car on, and drove to Starbucks. “Venti today,” I said to the barista who knows my name and drink order by heart. “Running late today?” she said. “Something like that,” I said.

Oh, Friday. I am so happy to see you.


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