We were enjoying that beautiful, peaceful time that lies somewhere between when both of the boys are finally down for the night and when we pass out from the cumulative lack of sleep combined with the relentless hustling that is parenting. On most nights, that window is quite small.
On an average night, Owen winds down and stops babbling from his crib some time around 9. Michael is usually trouble. Once we meet or deflect his various demands (it's like getting the concert contract rider demands from a diva on tour; I want chocolate milk. I need a bandaid. You didn't put medicine on my bug bites. Can you change the pictures on my wall. Can you read me another book. Lay down with me. I have to go potty. I'm hungry, etc.), and once he ceases his sneaky little reconnaissance missions out of his room, it is often close to 10 o'clock. That leaves an hour or two to hang out, catch up on the day, and maybe watch Khaleesi and her merry band of dragons melt a few faces on Game of Thrones.
Usually, we run out of steam entirely while slogging through bedtime. Like an hypoxic Everest climber, we just lay down for just a minute, you know, to catch a second wind. Next thing you know, you are down for the count in a bed with robots or dinosaurs on the sheets. I think a white noise machine has some kind of tryptophan in it because the one in Owen's room can knock a man out in seconds. Anyhow, conking out in the kids room seems like a great idea until you wake up wedged into the wall with half of your shoulder asleep and your neck bent into a pretzel from using a Lightning McQueen as a pillow.
On those nights when bedtime goes well, we cringe and wait for the inevitable coughing fit or for Michael's door to open. On this night, it was a tell-tale thump and whimper.
The thump was the result of a 40 pound toddler impacting the carpeted floor in his room from the height of his bed (about 3 feet). As Shannon hustled upstairs to comfort what we expected to be a screaming and distraught child, I figured she would be out of commission for a while. Just another peaceful evening deferred.
She found Michael on the floor next to his bed, dozing peacefully. He was not going to let a thing like gravity or sudden deceleration interrupt his rest. There he was, sleeping the sleep of the innocent. Our peaceful evening was preserved.
So often as parents, you get the pee stream in the face, the stomach bugs that ruin a vacation, or the demonic possession of your child that ruins a dinner party. Every once in a while, you catch a lucky break. The slings and arrows of outrageous parenting fly high and wide. This was one of those nights, and it felt good. I won't let my guard down, though, because I'm sure crap will literally find a way to hit the fan tomorrow.