Tag Team / by Susie Lubell

I swear I don't know how single parents do it. Well I sort of know how because I once had to watch my son for a week while my husband went biking for with his friends in Greece (I know - wife of the year medal, right?) and while it was totally exhausting (I was also five months pregnant), at least I knew that everything was my responsibility. I didn't have the additional exhaustion of resenting my partner for not sharing the load. Nothing against my husband, but the man can fall asleep on the floor DURING the bedtime stories that HE'S reading.

But I digress...
My husband and I have become very alert to when parent number two needs to step in. This evening, for example, we got home from our friends and I needed to put our baby to sleep. She'd been whimpering and/or bellowing for the last three hours, unable to settle down enough to sleep - which was the thing she needed most. Our son knows the evening routine: Aba bathes him, puts him in his pajamas, brushes his teeth and reads him stories before mommy comes in for the ni-ni songs. This gives me time to nurse and put down the baby before second shift.

But we walked in the door and he only wanted mommy. So after what was essentially a tantrum-free day, we were suddenly up against the most annoying tantrum of all - the mommy sob fest.

I just didn't have the strength. I snapped. I got down and in his face and started lecturing him. I NEED TO PUT DOWN YOUR SISTER AND IF YOU'RE SCREAMING SHE CAN'T FALL ASLEEP SO BY SCREAMING YOU'RE ACTUALLY RUINING ANY CHANCE YOU HAD AT SPENDING ANY TIME WITH MOMMY TONIGHT!!!

Enter: Super Husband, stage left.

Super Husband put on his happy toddler voice (animated and high pitched) and managed to suppress our sons cries from an FBT (Full-Blown Tantrum) to something of a kvetch and harrumph. And when I emerged from putting our daughter to sleep, I heard my husband in our son's room singing ni-ni songs without protest. And as I write this they are both asleep - my son in his bed, my husband on the floor near his bed. (Did I mention his propensity for sleeping?)

We try so hard to stay rational and calm when our son is having, as my friend Ali would say, a "major come-apart", but when one of us gets sucked into toddler drama, it's nice to know the other is usually available to quickly divert and diffuse.