"Do you remember when it would take Matei an hour to fall asleep on a good night and one of us would always have to keep him company?"
"Do you remember how he would get up every 1.5-2 hours and then demand we keep him company again?"
"Do you remember how it took us three days to watch a single movie what with his bedtime and the interruptions?"
Nowadays life is pretty good, almost easy in fact. I've decided that although there is much to enjoy about the pure animalistic appeal of babies (hazy memories of little bodies that hunt you like heat-seeking missiles; that cling like adorable monkeys) I am much fonder of the walking, talking set. Helena has so far been a spectacularly compliant two-year old, and the nearly five-year old Matei (the fool! mwahahahaha!) has abandoned what was surely his best negotiating strategy (screaming hysterically) in favour of reason and negotiation.
Nowadays I kiss them both good night, and then exit the room at 9pm. What they do between that time and when they fall asleep is up to them (usually I hear laughter and chatter, and then Helena calling out 'Matei? Matei? Maaaaaaateeeeei' while he conks out). He still gets up most nights for a cuddle, but then silently goes back to his bed on his own when prodded to do so despite ingenious cuddle-lengthening tactics ("Mummy, I've realised that I've just beed cuddling with daddy so I think I should snuggle with you too just to show you how much I love you.")
Leaving two awake children in one room is a predictable recipe for mayhem - last night I had to confiscate their shared joy, the toy microwave after I could hear it pinging at 10pm and each morning the place looks like they invited the Rolling Stones for a party- but I am prepared to ignore much in favour of children whose slide into sleep does not require hands-on invigilating. My girl thinks duvets are instruments of repression and my boy has a charming tendency to pile about 20 books on his bed and sleep contorted around them, half of his body hanging in the air - but overall I have evenings again. Evenings which I can theoretically devote to charming leisure pursuits, and not just to conking out while watching Fringe as I have been doing.