How to put 2 year old twin boys to bed in ten steps when everyone else is at violin lessons:
Step 1: Feed them dinner because they’re irrationally and inexplicably hungry at all hours of the day and night. Don’t worry if they don’t eat the chicken and rice casserole you lovingly made them, they’ll use it as a hair product and facial moisturizer. It won’t go to waste.
Step 2: Bring in the dog to clean up the 20×20 area they’ve blighted with their food. Make sure to show the dog the areas on the wall that were finger-painted with casserole juice.
Step 3: Give up on trying to wipe them clean because it’s not going to happen tonight. Take them straight to the tub. Be sure to hold all EIGHT of their limbs as well as their tongues securely so they don’t smear the walls and doors with casserole juice on the way to the bathroom.
Step 4: Go ahead and throw the five year old in the tub with them. She smells like cheese, too. Let them slide down the walls and sides of the tub on their little wet booties for at least 20 minutes to make sure all the dirt and dried rice has been sloughed from their hides. Stand back and squirt soap at their heads and let them agitate a few moments longer.
Step 5: Take them all from the tub and wrap them in towels and tell them not to move a muscle while you empty the tub. Ignore their cries of discomfort from being cold. They’re okay. Go ahead and grab a steel wool so you can dislodge the mud and soggy grass and bits of chicken from the bottom of the tub. Don’t be alarmed if it looks like several sheepdogs and a hobbit hosed off in there. Kids 5 and under are real dirty.
Step 6: Turn around quickly because all three of the previously “frozen” children are running naked outside in the 36 degree weather. Just go out there and grab all their slippery, frosty bodies and drag them in screaming because they wanted to ride their bikes.
Step 7: Use your newly acquired “twin mom octopus arms” and single handedly hold down all four limbs of each child while you diaper, lotion and dress them, then carefully sit on them to brush their teeth. Make sure to wedge their arms under your legs during this delicate operation. They like this. They’ll squeal, “Mommy’s riding me!” while you chip the plaque from their little demon teeth.
Step 8: Give the five year old an iPad. Once her eyes have glazed over, securely grab any twin baby appendage you can latch onto and lure them to their room by singing the ever-catchy “Go, go, go, to the baby room!” song to try and convince them this will be fun. Use the octomom arms again to roll them into a log and stuff them into their sleep sacks. Try to distract them with tickling while you deposit them into their crib tents AKA baby kennels. These baby kennels are important because they keep the twins from climbing out of bed at 3am and breathing heavily into your face as they stand silently and creepily next to your bed. Zip each kennel quickly, making sure to not get caught up by an errant finger or tongue.
Step 9: Carefully arrange each of their beds by fluffing their pillows meticulously to each of their individual liking. Move each of their stuffed animals about 8 times until they’re in the exact right position. Then sing them a song. You won’t know which song they want until you sing every lullaby and nursery rhyme you ever learned. Just be patient. Eventually you’ll figure out he wanted Jingle Bells which is the “horsey song”.
Step 10: Give one last kiss and hug about 5-7 times until they’re satisfied that you really meant it. Then check their mouths for hairs even though you know there’s no hairs in there. That’s just a fun stalling game they’ve learned buys them an extra minute or two. Blow at least 9 kisses and then slip out. Wait by the door for a moment to make sure no one starts howling or punching the wall. Then lay face down on the hallway floor and pat yourself on the back. You put 2 year old twins to bed!
Note: if you return to the living room to find the five year old trimming her eyelashes, don’t worry. They’re the slowest growing hairs on the body and will only take a month or more to grow back in.