The worst time for Barney to be awake and needing a feed or not settling back to sleep is from 5.30-ish at night until Beth goes to bed around 7. I'm tired. Beth's tired. I can't give Beth all my attention. I'm trying to get her dinner organised and supervise her eating it. Then it's bathtime and her night-time ritual of pyjamas, clean teeth, stories and bed. If Beth's grizzly, this tends to be the time she'll run full pelt at me and Barney while he's feeding and crash onto the couch; or try to climb up onto the couch with us; or shout right by Barney's ear etc. It's hard because I understand where she's at too but I still have to feed her brother. When I hold out my hand to stop her colliding with Barney and me, Beth says, "Don't push me!" and gets v. frowny.
When Tom's around he can do Beth's night routine while I attend to Barney. But he's at work late on Monday nights and has his film course on Thursday nights which means I'm on my own. It's wonderful when Barney sleeps through this time of day. Unfortunately he doesn't always and he certainly didn't on Monday night when he started squawking for milk just after 5pm. I entertained Beth during and after dinner with "Play School Nursery Rhymes" while I fed Barney on the couch. She had to be prompted to remember to eat, but otherwise she was great. She loves Rhys on the show which helps and she sang along to most of the songs.
Then I thought it would be a good idea for Beth and Barney to have a bath together! What a nice brother/sister thing to do. That all went extremely well. Barney was v. relaxed and enjoyed the warm water while Beth had her teapot and cups to fill, empty, fill, empty.... However, just as I turned to grab Barney's towel to get him out, Beth poured a full teapot of water onto his head and face. Not happy Beth! Barney went from v. calm to v. red-faced, distressed and tense. He was all right a few minutes later but it was hardly what I'd wanted just before putting him to bed. Poor Beth cried too when she realised she'd upset Barnaby. So both kids were unhappy at about 6.30pm - the time when you want them to be unwinding and quiet and relaxed.
When Tom got home just before 8pm, he was greeted by me with Barney in the backpack against my chest coming out of Beth's room after re-settling her for the umpteenth time because neither of them seemed interested in sleep. My greeting "hello Tom", had that Seinfeld, "hello Neuman" edge to it. Amazingly both kids did go to sleep a few minutes later so at least Tom was spared the stair climbing saga that can be our early evening exercise. Instead we had a glass of wine and dinner together, followed by a bit of chocolate and a DVD - lovely!