Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Daily Gripe #21 - The Longest Night

It's time for The Daily Gripe, from Average Joe American.

We have a toddler and an infant in the house. A three-year-old and a three-month-old. My daughter has slept through the night only twice in her short little time with us so far. Twice. It's been more than three months since my wife and I have gone to sleep and not awakened until morning.

Last night my wife fed and put our daughter down to sleep at 8:00. My son went to sleep about 8:30. My wife went to sleep around 10:30, and I went to the living room to read.

Midnight. I realized I had fallen asleep on the couch when I was awakened by the quiet beginnings of my daughter's crying in the next room. She wanted her pacifier, I figured, so I jumped up from the couch and came to the rescue. Twice, because she popped it right back out of her mouth the first time.

One Fifteen. I was still sleeping on the couch in case my daughter needed anything. She did. Her (this time) high pitched wail violently extracted me from sleep like a Dentist does a wisdom tooth. She usually doesn't wake up hungry in the middle of the night anymore, so I tried the pacifier trick again. And again. And again. Then my wife came stomping in from our bedroom down the hall to take over. Both of us tired and neither wanting to be awake at the moment, we both lost a brief spat over who would feed her. My wife tried to nurse her while I -- half asleep (and not the good half) -- tried to warm a bottle of formula. At my wife's subtle (wink, nod) urging, I finally decided to make a fresh bottle, then sat on the couch next to her as she fed my daughter. Sometime that felt like three days later, we were going back to sleep.

Four thirty. Again? She can't be hungry again! That was my reasoning as I tried to calm my crying daughter and settle her into her swing to sleep just a little bit longer. My wife, hearing the commotion over the baby monitor, came stomping in once again. She doesn't normally stomp, only when she's unhappy about being awake in the middle of the night. I think it's a red head temper thing. Like a T-Rex. As she shakes up another bottle of formula, I realize that it must be my turn this time. I sit on the couch and feed my daughter again -- it's been a quite some time since she's fed twice in one night -- as my wife returns to bed. After a burp -- my daughter, not me -- I return her to her swing and myself to the couch for another stab at sleep.

Six Thirty. From down the hall, another cry nudges me from my sleep like a freight train. My son. I jumped from the couch (literally) and ran (again, literally) to investigate. My son has developed a twelve-step program to avoid going to sleep at night, but once asleep he's usually down for the night. This time, he was down even further -- on the floor. He had fallen from his bed and bumped his head. A more rude awakening than my own, I admit. My wife had reached him first and was trying to soothe him when I arrived. Switching quickly from Emergency Mode to Daddy Mode, I picked my son up, joked with him a little, and carried him back to bed. "Wipe eyes," he asked me, and I dried the tears from his eyes with my shirt tail. My daughter, thankfully, slept through the alarm, and my wife returned to sleep.

Seven Ten. That would be right now (though I'll post this after everyone else is awake), and I'm writing this on my Palm Pilot on the couch. My daughter slumbers happily in the swing across the room. My wife and son are both sound asleep in bed. I'm on the couch wide awake. The sun is starting to come up.

I feel like I've had no sleep at all, which is the part that really gripes me. Everything else? Well, that's just part of being a Daddy, and I wouldn't trade that for anything. Do you think it's too early to mow the lawn?


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