As I write this I’m sitting on a chair in between the cots of my 7 month old twin boys. They are refusing to sleep. My head is swinging from side to side like a tennis umpire who’s lost control of the match.
They currently have their eyes closed but that doesn’t mean anything (it’s probably just an extended blink) and I’m trying to sit still as our nursery chair still squeaks like the front door of a haunted house.
Sleep has been in short supply recently. On the back end of a cough and cold, this week the boys have had less shut-eye than an insomniac barn owl who works double shifts at the 24 hour garage. They've been getting in with us most nights so they’ve quickly got used to the non-stop affection buffet they get from my wife and me.
They’ve sampled business class so quite understandably can’t face going back to economy but tonight was the night. We had to stand firm. They were going to stay in their own cots.
My wife had mixed fortunes with getting them down as I drove back from a gig. They clearly weren’t happy and were wanting to be moved into our bed again, like a pair of unsettled professional footballers hoping for a big money move on Transfer Deadline Day.
I got home at 2am and went straight into their room. As soon as I entered the sobbing stopped and a quiet and respectful calmness descended on the room. I felt a bit like the Pope.
I put their dummies back in but refused eye contact to let them know the situation, the same way you mumble one word answers to a taxi driver so he knows you don't want to hear his views on immigration.
They accepted the dummies with good grace and for the first time since they were born I felt like a strict father from the 1950's. No smiling, warmth or empathy, just business.
I made an abrupt turn and strided out of the room, feeling confident that I’d had a positive effect on proceedings. I felt the warm glow of smugness, so nauseating in others but magnificent when felt by oneself.
I am a brilliant dad I thought. What a fool.
As I stepped foot out of their door they both screamed like velociraptors who’ve missed their favourite TV show.
I went straight back in, determined not to pick them up. I sat in the chair in between their cots and started to breathe heavily. Not in a weird way, but I was knackered myself so thought I could get some meditation shit going on.
They'd gone quiet so I carried on, feeling pretty bloody Zen even if I do say so myself. After five minutes I was convinced they’d gone down as the room was completely silent.
I opened my eyes to see both of them staring at me like those twins from The Shining.
I shut my eyes again and counted to 60. When I opened them again they were still looking at me as if to say ‘your move, bitch.’ It was turning into a huge stand-off, our very own Cuban Missile Crisis.
Then the giggling started. I don't care who you are but when your baby starts laughing, you join in. To counter it I launched into a whispered monologue about how it’s not always appropriate to laugh, etc, etc, blah, blah. I think I was hoping to bore them to sleep.
So I stayed in my seat and wrote this blog. Forgive me for any typos, my delete button is the loudest key and I daren't risk it.
It's now 3.17am. And I can’t move because of this squeaky chair.
I'm a stand up comic and new dad to twins. You can click here to follow me on Facebook where I post all my blogs, memes and other blatherings about parenthood. (Or go to the top right of this page)