The Fun Apartment is technically a one bedroom apartment. And for a one bedroom apartment, it’s actually surprisingly (New Yorkly) roomy. But when you cram four people in, well, roomy reaches the very outer edges of its descriptiveness. Think of that scene from Star Wars where the walls of the garbage room start to close in. It’s more like that.
Here’s the thing about the bedroom. It does have a door, but it also has windows. Not just a window to the outside world, but a window like this:
This brings light, that elusive quality so strangely quantifiable in New York City real estate, into the rest of the apartment. But in practice, it’s not really like having a door or a bedROOM so much as having a part of the apartment where you put your bed, that happens to be rather further away from the kitchen.
And we’re the lucky ones. The boys just have a kind of alcove with a curtain. They sleep 18 inches apart. And you know, for a long time, it worked fine. But when it’s bedtime, it’s not just bedtime in the boys’ alcove. It’s bedtime everywhere. After wrestling them into their pjs, and reading a 10 inch high stack of books that would make a librarian weep with pride, we begin the long day’s journey into well, you know. We turn off all the lights. We snuggle.* We kiss them good night. We tuck them in. And then, we wait.
And guess what? We can’t just go in the other room and be grown ups again! We can’t go to the kitchen and finish the dishes, because, well, that’s actually in the same room. We can’t go into our room and watch tv, because there’s a giant hole in our wall, so the kids would actually be watching tv with us. So we sit in the dark, whispering. And waiting.
Now you may be saying to yourselves: That’s nuts. Just go to the kitchen and finish the dishes. Just watch tv. You’re grown ups, ferchrissakes.
And this I ask you in return: Just how late do you want these children to be awake? I need them asleep as fast as is legally possible.
Hence, we wait and whisper in a dark apartment. All those people who can make phone calls after their kids are in bed, I envy them. Here, we maintain radio silence until about 9:30. And by then, I’m not really coherent anyway, so I don’t actually call anyone.
The kindergartener is so worn out from school that he rarely needs more than to be pushed over into his bed. Our Little, however, is now three (pray for me) and is on the fuzzy line of not exactly needing a nap. If he doesn’t have one, he’s like an angry drunk come dinner time. If he does have one, he’s playing jump rope in his crib at 10 pm. (And by extension, we are kinda stuck sitting in the dark whispering. Lucky us.)
Here’s one miraculous thing: they don’t ever try and get out of bed until morning. I realize that by telling you this, I am jinxing myself and will have this problem starting tomorrow night and continuing through high school, but it really is a miracle. I mean, we are about 15 feet from them. But they stay in bed. And they don’t talk.
Now that it is spring-ish and we have many more ways (beyond the jumping on the bed workouts of the long cold winter) to burn off energy, it is a little easier to get the little guy to sleep. And we can go back to being grown ups — sometimes with the lights on, even! At times, though it is tempting to just go to bed ourselves. I challenge any of you to sit in a silent dark apartment after a draining day and not feel slightly fuzzy. Sometimes the man of my dreams emerges from the bedtime snuggle after a suspiciously long time, looking like the mattress attacked him.
Also, look what sitting in the dark with an iPad has done for the blogging! This post is so long that splashdown may have occurred while I was writing it. Yippee, now I can do the dishes.
*Some nights, all four of us are attempting to snuggle in the tiny alcove and that is like some sort of bizarre barrel of monkeys hostage situation.