When I was young, maybe six or seven, I would go to my parents’ bedroom and try to sleep there, and when they eventually retired to bed, my father would have to carry me up to the dizzying heights of the loft extension where my bed was, and I’d get to cling to him on the way up the stairs.

Which was nice for me but I imagine inconvenient for my father.
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Yet more sleep deprivation

I couldn’t sleep last night, tossing and turning until 1am, and then woken by a crying child at 2, or at 5:30, or I don’t know quite when. I just remember waking up on Destroyer’s bed at 7:15, desperate to go back to sleep, and not being able to because I had an early morning phone call to get up and attend to.

When that was done, I put La Serpiente in a taxi (for we were running late) and took her to school. She coughed all the way. I got on a hire bicycle and rode to the station, took the MRT to work, and a few hours later got the glad news from my wife that La Serpiente had coughed and coughed until she was sick, and had gone home with a fever. Bad dad. Why did I take her to school?

I had my penance: a visit to the dentist to get a cavity filled. My dentist is very nice but seems very nervous whenever she talks to me. She has a fine bedside manner with La Serpiente, as I discovered last time we visited for a checkup, and is fine with my wife, but seems terribly concerned when she’s talking to me. Perhaps my enormous beard intimidates her. Maybe she’s worried that upon hearing the bad news about the state of my mouth, I’ll fly off the end of my handle and rage around the surgery. Or probably I’m just reading too much into this.

It was a small cavity but inconveniently positioned, so I had an hour of reclining in the chair, while she drilled and filled and polished, and I watched Mission Impossible 3. I don’t think seeing people getting shot is actually that helpful a distraction from the stress of having your mouth operated on, but then I’m not a qualified dentist. Afterwards, a little sore and numbed of face, I went back to the office and got moody with spreadsheets until 6, when I went home to my feverish child.

Destroyer was making the most of it by also watching TV, and she’s not even sick. I should have set her to some chores but it was far easier to have both kids rest their heads on me and watch penguins in Antarctica.

We put them to bed. I took an hour to get Destroyer down, or rather I woke up after an hour to find I’d failed and she was still awake and demanding bandaids for her knee, so I left and brought in my wife, and then she fell asleep on Destroyer’s bed instead.

Oh, what a night. Hopefully we’ll all be rested by tomorrow.

A breakthrough

Last night, when Destroyer wouldn’t stop screaming at me at bedtime, I sang the first line of “Do You Want To Build A Snowman” and she stopped screaming immediately. She did then spend an hour explaining the plot of Frozen in a combination of hand gestures and burbling (“blob blib breakfast walls hurray blib blob blib”) and after that she screamed at my wife for ten minutes, so this wasn’t the most efficient way of getting her to sleep, but whatever.

Tonight, though, I got home from the track about 8:15, to find them both awake. Destroyer again greeted me with a long account of the day, and then I went in to put La Serpiente down. For the first time in forever (you see, even I can’t resist quoting Frozen) she told me all sorts of details about her day at school, at the thunderstorm she’d been in, the whole nine yards. And then she was asleep ten minutes later.

Meanwhile Destroyer was in no mind to comply with bedtime. She just sat and demanded books and toys and after it got to 9:30, I relieved my wife and then had 45 minutes burbling, occasionally being hit in the face by the hardback book she wanted me to read her. This was beginning to get ridiculous.

Our friends in Seattle, Stacy and Rob, give their boy three bedtime stories and then leave the room, and he burbles to himself until he passes out. Envious of this, tonight I tried an experiment; with Destroyer clearly exhausted but in no mind to submit to the embrace of sleep, we just left the room.

This was not a risk-free approach. Stacy and Rob’s boy is in a cot that he can’t get out of, so he’s stuck in the bedroom. Destroyer, on the other hand, is quite capable of opening doors now. What would we do if she followed us out?

She didn’t.

She cried for a few minutes but was probably too tired to conceptualise escape routes from her room, and quickly she went silent. My wife, foolhardy as she is, went to check on her a little later. Why? A watched pot never boils, an observed child never shuts up, etc… Honestly, I was most worried Destroyer had decided to sleep on floor and looking in the room would require opening the door on her head, but there she was, comatose on her bed. So if we can keep this up, we might just get our evenings back, and be able to watch motorcycle races in peace and comfort.

Yeah, a likely story, eh?

Against sleep

We had a fairly placid Saturday; La Serpiente lay next to me for an hour and watched cat videos, then we went out to brunch and then came back so the girls could roll toy cars down ramps near our apartment. I thought after that excitement both girls would nap, but Destroyer failed to sleep, doing nothing but burble and clamber until I gave up and took her shopping for yogurt and AAA batteries.

In the afternoon we went over to the Suntec Convention Centre, because there was some sort of trade show for kids’ classes with huge discounts. The trouble is we had a stroller, and Suntec seems to have one lift (and a thousand escalators) but nobody is capable of taking the escalators so that meant a twenty minute wait to even attempt to get up to the right level.

Eventually we gave up and I took the girls to the library while my wife went into the show on her own (a plan that should have been obvious from the start, in retrospect). La Serpiente complained vociferously about having to walk (in between skipping and running everywhere) and I was honked off because I was meant to be having a rest day rather than walk lots.

My office building is between Suntec and the National Library, so we stopped there to avail ourselves of air conditioning, I bribed both girls with blueberries, and a friendly security guard gave Destroyer a balloon. Which was nice, apart from the envy it provoked in La Serpiente. Hurray for sibling rivalry. She whined all the way to the library, apart from when I told her whining would automatically disqualify her from future balloon antics, but secretly I was pleased, because this would wear her out and make sure she slept well tonight.

… Which failed to come to pass. After we dined at a German restaurant we went home and skipped bathtime, and La Serpiente then refused to sleep for over an hour, complaining that she couldn’t sleep, and once driving herself to tears by headbutting the bedframe. I was impatient to go fill in a 7 page immigration form (which only took me an hour, rather than the 20 minutes it claimed would be necessary) so I was a bit annoyed, but meanwhile my wife passed out on Destroyer’s bed (and even without a nap, she still took ages to get down). I assume the kids are doing this on purpose.

Twelve Hours

Last night, after Destroyer screamed at me because I couldn’t find Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to read to her, I fell asleep on her bed. My wife came in after an hour and woke me, and I went into our room, lay on the bed and woke up at 9 this morning, wearing the clothes I’d put on yesterday. I guess a week of four hour sleeps every night has a way of catching up with you.
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Further tears before bedtime

So tonight it was my turn again to put Destroyer down. This would be the last time before her second birthday, and she marked it in style by being quite copacetic while I read her the story of Little Miss Magic, and then literally climbing the walls, screaming constantly for her mother, once I put the lights out and tried to get her to lie down.

“No Daddy, no!” the howls continued for quite some time, until she gave up climbing on me to open the door, and settled down on the floor, where she lay with her head on my legs, sobbing occasionally, and refusing utterly when I tried to make her more comfortable with a pillow to lie upon.
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Holding the babies

This morning I felt predictably dreadful, after drinking as much as I could last night and then sleeping on the floor next to Destroyer. (Neither she nor her sister woke up, so they were fresh and ready at 7 am to start yelling at us for entertainment.) I drank tea, I drank coffee, we took the girls home and cajoled them to nap, and then I fell asleep on La Serpiente’s floor (notice this leitmotif of the weekend) and awoke 20 minutes later with both my arms completely numbed. I flopped around like a fish for a while, then dragged myself off to watch cartoons for half an hour until the kids both woke up again, and we redeployed to the National Library.
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