Happily, there wasn't all that much fallout when we got rid of the pacifiers. The girls excitedly traded their beloved "passas" for new stuffed animals. Nora got Baby Joy and Lucy chose Giant, a bear that is as big as she is. The first night, when they asked for their passas, we reminded them that they had traded them in. Nora said, "For Baby Joy! Yay!" and crawled into bed. Lucy cried a little, but snuggled up with Giant and went to sleep.
Unfortunately, that was the last night they went to sleep at bed time.
Since then, we have had a developing situation in which increasingly bad choices are made every night. It's been steadily escalating.
So far, the girls have:
- Figured out how to stand on their soft chairs to turn on all their lights.
(Loving Parent Response: take the chairs out of the room.)
- Repeatedly taken off their pajamas and diapers, used the bathroom on the floor, and smeared the walls/beds/furniture/toys with special "art."
(Frazzled/Disgusted Parent Response: put them in onesies, bleach wipe every.single.thing, strip the beds and change the sheets, replace their discarded cute self-selected favorite jammies with brown ones that they hate, secure their diapers with duct tape. Just kidding. We didn't do that last one. We did confiscate all the stuffed animals that might have been implicated in the floor-as-bathroom incident, saying they needed to be checked and cleaned. I haven't found the time yet to do that particular chore.)
- Pulled out the vent covers and dropped all manner of things down the vents into the ductwork, including clothing, toys and hair bows.
(Baffled Parent Response: rearrange the furniture to cover the air vents, then screw the vents to the floor out of desperation.)
- Dumped the contents of the dresser newly filled with baby clothes for their baby brother, due to arrive in about 6 weeks.
(Frustrated Parent Response: turn the dresser to face the wall and put it in the closet so they can't open the drawers.)
- Figured out (in the absence of their soft chairs) how to stack books up so that they can reach the light switch and, once again, turn on all the lights.
(Incredulous Parent Response: take all the books out of the room at bedtime. Also, in a moment of being proactive, take the wagon and the toy strollers they use for their dolls, in case they try to stand in those, which they inevitably would.)
- Broken off all the slats of their mini-blinds to let in the light and then complained that it is too bright to sleep.
(Totally Annoyed Parent Response: pull completely destroyed mini-blinds to the halfway point so they are out of reach and won't look as awful from the street, pull the blackout curtains over the window and secure them with clothespins.)
- Eaten the clothespins while laughing raucously and singing gospel songs loudly to each other.
(Bewildered Parent Response: take away wet, chewed clothespin pieces, shake head in despair, and give up.)
As I write this, it is after 10pm, and the girls are still awake. They are reciting Calef Brown's poetry from this book to each other and yelling "aaaaah! say the abc song to me now!" to each other in turn. Nora is yelling, "Good night, Lucy!" and Lucy is responding, "NO! Not YET! I have to get in my BED!"
I'm sitting in the living room, too tired to go see what they are actually doing now.
I'm beginning to believe that God made two-year-olds so irresistibly cute because they are driven to do the worst possible thing at all times. It is impossible to guess what they might do next. When I see their sweet, dimpled faces smiling at me in the morning, though, I'm glad they exist, no matter how badly their room has been destroyed. I try to remind myself that this is a phase that will pass. I pray every night that we will never, never again face a situation like the floor-as-bathroom incident...and I steel myself for exactly that scene (or something worse) every time I open their door.
Also, I look at their five-year-old brother with renewed appreciation, because he's not two anymore, and there is only ever going to be one of him.
Somehow, this is comforting.