Last night was the first night with the girls at my place. I was so nervous and so hopeful that they would feel comfortable here. Especially Leta, because she’s old enough to establish memories of this time. I can’t recall a non-holiday or non-birthday time with the girls where I’ve wanted something to be so right for them.

It couldn’t have gone better. Leta was excited about everything. “You said it was smaller than the house, but it’s bigger than I expected!”

“Dad, thanks so much for my bed! I love it so much!”

Leta was gracious and considerate. It was wonderful. Straight up wonderful. All night I was on the verge of happy tears. That may have been due to the fact that I couldn’t sleep the night before, but it also may have been due to the fact that I want these girls in my life and this was the first night of a new stage in that life.

When we share time together, it’s challenging, exhausting and full of love and wonder. It’s also full of the usual tantrums, bad talking and typical kid behavior. But last night was wonderful.

As is the case with the Armstrongs, it had all the makings for a catastrophic evening:

  1. We got to the place late due to a carseat-related miscommunication. It wasn’t a huge deal, but yeah, tired kids.
  2. New noises. The house has radiant heat and my place has forced air. It’s noisy and because it’s cold at night, the furnace and blower turn on a lot. I’m sure the white noise helped once they settled, but it’s a new sound.
  3. The girls are sharing a room. They are both noisy sleepers. This was high on my WTF Parenting list, questioning if I should have at least given them a night or two where one of them slept with me.
  4. I bought Marlo a toddler bed. We resisted giving her an opportunity for free roam due to her nature, but it is time and so last night was her first night in a toddler bed.
  5. Leta pulled her own tooth out yesterday. (!!!!!!!!) The tooth fairy would have to find her here. As you might imagine, this was cause for a couple of trips to my room to discuss things.

The nightly ritual was slightly altered due to me forgetting books for story time and due to the shared bedroom situation. Marlo kept wanting to get out of bed and play with the plush toys that I bought for their room. She may have wanted to clean up, but I didn’t want to get into semantics with her. I just repeated that it was bed time and I sat on the floor by Marlo’s bed to make sure she was ok. Lots of hugs and soft talking. I told her a made up story and sang her nightly songs she always requests. She fussed a little when I got up to leave, but was pretty tired and fell asleep without further incident.

Leta was great. Except the full voice talking in the bedroom with her sister asleep. I had repeatedly reminded her about being quiet once we got in the room, but I’m sure she forgot due to all the new stimuli, safety concerns and tooth situation. Key words to use: “this is a safe place” and “I’m close to both of you. I’ll be next door if you need anything.”

Only two walk-ins from Leta, one when I was indisposed in the bathroom. She was clearly barely awake because I steered her right back to her bed and she didn’t protest too much. Marlo stayed put, even when she awoke due to aforementioned full voiced Leta. A quick hug and a quick good night and boom. Children nestled.

As it was a school night, that meant finishing homework and making sure all the necessary items for the school day were accounted for and ready.

The girls were up at 6:15, Marlo waking first and waking Leta up with her. Will need to train them about this. Yes, I know that is futility defined, but damn. They played mostly quietly (neighbors!) while I showered and dressed. Breakfast was great. Everything went better than I could have hoped. In retrospect, I’m very glad the girls got up when they did as it allowed me to shower and gave them some play time to ease into the day. Getting out the door was something else, especially with Marlo’s need to wander. We did it, only 10 minutes later than I had hoped. I haven’t dropped Leta off at school driving from this part of town, so I wasn’t sure how long the commute would be. Not long! Our timing was perfect.

Sweet. Wonderful time. I’m overjoyed at how well things went. Next stay? The pool! Yes, there is an indoor pool here. It was a major attraction. And the cheap-ish rent for a two bedroom, two bathroom condo in a prime location). When I showed Leta the pool she was excited, but that quickly turned into an incredulous, “Why didn’t we bring our swim suits?”

Which lead to Dayton Accord level talks about school nights, timing and a promise that next time, we’d have our suits and get in the pool.

It’s going to be ok.

I’m going to be ok.

I can do this.

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