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8:00 PM – Exhausted from the dinner battle and afraid to look at the condition of the kitchen, I announce bedtime. Truman throws his body around the couch, flopping like a fish out of water. Grant shakes his head no and runs away.

8:20 PM – Mike starts on the war zone that was once our kitchen as I wrestle Truman into pajamas. He insists on doing it himself… yet refuses to actually do it himself.

8:30 PM – I change Grant’s diaper, (this is really just holding him down with one hand while clumsily digging wipes out of the container with the other.) I repeatedly tell Truman to go brush his teeth. Truman ignores me completely and rides his truck around the living room.

8:35 PM – I finish changing Grant into his pajamas and tell Truman to go to his room. I hand Grant off to Mike, and he immediately begins screaming bloody murder as I leave the room. Truman saunters easily into his bedroom. I breathe a sigh of relief, just knowing that tonight is going to be an easy bedtime night.

8:40 PM – We read a story. Truman begs for one more story. We read another story. I tuck him in and kiss him goodnight. I realize he never brushed his teeth. I decide to let it go for tonight. I turn on the nightlight and turn off the overhead light. Truman says he’s hungry. Grant’s sobs have quieted in the living room.

8:50 PM – I grab a piece of bread from the kitchen. Bread is a test to see if Truman is actually hungry or only stalling. If he eats it, he’s hungry. If he doesn’t, he’s stalling. Grant sees me as I walk back through the dining room and resumes his bitter cry of abandonment. I give Truman his bread and tell him to eat quickly and go to sleep. He looks disgusted and asks for butter. I go butter his bread and return it to him. Off to the living room to rescue Grant.

9:00 PM – “Moooommmmyyyy!” Truman bellows in tears from his bedroom. Upon investigation, his bread has fallen down the crack between the bed and the wall and his leg is uncovered. He can neither reach his bread, nor cover his own leg back up. It is a serious situation, as he is now starving and freezing to death.

9:10 PM – I sit down on the couch and begin nursing Grant. “Moooommmmyyyy!” Truman. Again. I look at Mike, “You go.”

9:25 PM – Mike returns from the bedroom looking beaten and flushed. He has taken Truman to the bathroom, gotten him a drink of water, argued with him about having fruit snacks, (he did not give in!) traded his blanket for Grant’s blanket and tucked him in – again. Mike sits down. Grant is fast asleep on the couch, exhausted from crying and traumatized from all the abandonment. My nipple is still firmly trapped in his mouth in what feels dangerously close to a bite.

9:30 PM – Truman walks into the living room. Nonchalant and confident, he begins playing with his toys as if he has no where else to be but right where he is. Mike and I look at each other, mouths agape and begin a silent, eyes-only argument about who is getting up to handle this issue. Grant is still threatening to bite off my nipple, so Mike loses the fight.

9:45 PM – Truman is sobbing in his bed, shouting out all of the things he wants: juice, his monster truck, cake, his Mommy, a Spiderman lamp and whatever else he can think of. His demands aren’t working so he turns to concerns and issues: his blanket has fallen off, his shirt is irritating his tickle pit, his toy dragon is scaring him. With a few silent screams and prayers for keeping my flesh intact, I manage to wiggle my nipple out of Grant’s mouth. I slowly ease myself off of the couch and head back to Truman’s room. I cover him, attempt to reason with him about the importance of sleep and finally threaten major consequences if he doesn’t stay in bed.

10:00 PM – Too exhausted and near tears to relax, Mike and I decide to just go to bed. Truman is asleep, Grant is asleep. I carefully scoop Grant off of the couch and carry him to his bed. Just as my hands leave his body, he awakes with a yelp and sits straight up. The anger and betrayal in his eyes burns a hole through my soul. I pick him back up and carry him to our room.

10:30 PM – Grant is still nursing as I stay frozen in one position, afraid to move or even breathe for that matter. My hip starts to ache.

11:30 PM – Mike is snoring, the dog is snoring, Truman is snoring… Grant is still nursing. Well, more like holding my nipple in a vise-like grip between his pearly little razor-sharp teeth. Every time I attempt to move he clamps down a little harder. My hip is throbbing, my right arm is asleep, my eye itches, my blankets have fallen off and I am freezing. Grant’s mouth drifts open and I hurriedly remove my raw and burning nipple from his mouth. I carefully roll over and try not to cry as all of the pooled blood begins circulating through my body again.

12:30 AM – I get up to pee. I say a little prayer that the current silence in my home remains so until I have to wake up for work. I know in my heart it will not.

2:00 AM – Grant wakes up crying. I nurse him back to sleep. I hear Truman babbling about cake and his hoodie.

2:30 AM – I carry Grant into his room and put him in his bed. I run back to my room. I fall asleep before actually lying down.

3:00 AM – Truman wakes up crying. He has to go potty but is screaming and refusing to go. I sit him on the potty while he cries, probably traumatizing him for life but I was right. He pees a river. Truman insists on sleeping in my bed after the torture session and I can’t say no because… well, Mommy guilt.

4:00 AM – Grant wakes up. I carry Truman back to his bed, bring Grant into my bed and nurse him back to sleep. I hear Truman cry out, “Leave me alone!” I pretend he’s talking to me and I honor his wish.

5:00 AM – Truman climbs into bed next to me. I am now sandwiched between the nipple biter and the sleep-talker. I can’t move or roll over. I have a head in my ribs and a foot in my kidney.

6:00 AM – My alarm goes off. Not that I need it since I haven’t been to sleep yet. I get up and stand at the foot of my bed, looking at my family. One big guy and two little guys, sleeping soundly. Nicely covered, not crying, not kicking, not talking… hmph. I head to the shower. Time for work.

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