From Two to Five (Overnight… Literally)

It started October 6, 2014. Ok – maybe it started sometime last school year. In reality, it’s probably been a progression that led to this. . .

Before I get into the story, I should probably give a little bit of context. Jessica and I both work at home. My office is directly above hers. Because we both make it a point to have a daily work routine/discipline, the truth is, we don’t actually TALK much throughout the day. That’s not to say that we don’t communicate, but as most people in the tech industry would understand, we do it via chat. In our case, most of it is done through Facebook Chat.

It was your typical Monday. We had done our usual checking our emails, reading articles people post, sharing articles that are of mutual interest, etc . . . until 9:45. And then this:

“(Kid’s Mom) messaged me

she needs help with 3rd shift baby care for the boys because i guess she works 3rd shift now”

And with that, life changed.

Confession: since I’ve never worked any sort of job that didn’t involve a standard sort of nine to five schedule, I really had no idea what “3rd shift” really meant. This is the part where I *should* tell you that I did a quick Google search and discovered that this basically meant an overnight shift. But the reality is, I took the easy way out and asked Jessica what that meant (she knows more than Google, anyway).

The next half hour or so was spent coming up with a game/sleeping plan. The ages of the kids are 10, almost 3 and infant. ‘A’, the oldest, is friends with Eli from school and they have had several overnights over the last year, but because we needed to convey that this is not “overnight/social” but school week stuff, we decided to set ‘A’ up with his own area to sleep and the other two we would make room for. We live in a big house but we are not exactly set up with a lot of bedrooms, and, as families do, we’ve managed to take up the space we have with “stuff.”

It was decided that the first night would be Tuesday night, because we just were not ready (mostly for an infant). Things needed to be purchased and, frankly, we needed to wrap our collective minds around the whole concept of nearly doubling the size of our family in an instant.

By Monday night, and through a lot of discussion, we figured out our game plan. Jessica would go to the store in the morning and load up on supplies, bassinet, pack’n’play, etc while I sat at my desk all day and hammered out a training video. In other words, she would do all the legwork while I blissfully worked and acted like nothing new was taking place. In other other words, she had clearly wrapped her mind around it faster than I had.

Tuesday went exactly as planned. I was to pick ‘A’ up along with ‘E’ and ‘B’, drop ‘A’ and ‘E’ off at home, take ‘B’ to her taekwondo class while Jessica ran to get the two smaller kids. This is the tight part of the schedule because Jessica has to be back in time to send files by a certain time so that banks can process those files in time. Otherwise there can be some pretty severe consequences.

Luckily everything went exactly as planned. It was also decided that since it was the first night and we knew we’d have to adjust to things, I would bring home drive-thru food so, at least, that would be one less thing to worry about.

Our evening routine went pretty well and with full tummies, all the kids went to their respective beds and, with one exception, were asleep by 8:45 or so. While the official “in bed” time is 8:00 and “asleep” time is 8:30, I can’t say that our first go ’round was too terrible. The exception was ‘N’. He’s almost three but seems to be a bit behind on his communication skills developmentally-wise. He also seems to be afraid of being alone.  With the kids in bed, I went out and walked the dog while Jessica kept ‘N’ company hoping to get him to sleep. By the time I got back from walking the dog, she was downstairs having been given the impression that he was asleep.

Not ten minutes later was he downstairs looking for company, so I took him up and spent the next hour waiting for him to finally sack out. Right at that time, Jessica came upstairs to go to bed. A typical evening does allow for us to have some unwind time, but it was not to be on night one. We had realistic expectations for night one and, in reality, it went better than we expected.

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