The trials and tribulations of having a baby that cries at night are continuing in our household, and though our friends try to help by asking if he’s been tested for milk allergies, reflux, etc., the truth is simple: He’s a fussy baby who just wants to be held at night. He is happy as can be during the day, naps well during the day, but at night he gets separation anxiety and cries till you pick him up. He falls asleep in your arms. He is exhausted. However, the minute you set him down he wakes up screaming and won’t stop till he is held again. He just wants to be held.
This summer we traveled quite a bit so Dodge (almost 6 months old) slept in a crib in our room with us the whole time. We had planned to move him into his own room sooner but it wasn’t physically possible till now. All summer Max (our 2-year-old) slept in a full-sized bed at his grandparent’s house so when we returned home and watched him crawl into an old crib the front removed we knew it was time. Max needed a “big-boy bed.” We did a preliminary shop and in classic fashion for me…I bought a full bedroom set after a few days of shopping. It was a great deal and it was a set the boys could grow in to. Yes…boys. I bought two beds in anticipation of when Dodge will be old enough in less than 2 years to share the room with Max and have a “big-boy bed” of his own.
Two nights ago we did the bedroom shuffle and all went decently well. Max was super excited to climb into bed, climb out of bed, back into bed, and so on. We read books, poems, told stories, etc. till it was time to turn the lights off and he asked me, “Can I go back to my room now?” I explained this was his room now and Dodge had his old room. He agreed…but I could tell there was jealousy over the smaller room with baby toys. The grass is always greener. Dodge put up a good fight and then finally conked out late. Kate and I walked into our bedroom and turned on the bedside lamps for the first time in half a year…it was amazing. We could read again. We could be adults. It was almost like being real people again.
Last night Max went to bed like a champ. I set aside 30 minutes for a long tuck-in, there were no requests to move when the lights went out, and there were there any tears. He was tired and his new bed was comfy. Dodge, however, put up the good fight and instead of passing out around 8 PM he fought sleep till around Midnight. Kate reached her breaking point, stepped away, cried, and I took over. I reached my breaking point, stepped away, yelled, and Kate took over. Once you’ve reached your breaking point its amazing how quick you can swing like a pendulum from being calm and gathered to being irrational and depressed. Ahhhh…parenthood. In the end some sleep was achieved by the three of us, Max slept like a baby and woke up this morning charged and ready to roll! Dodge was sweet, smiling, coo’ing, and being lovely again and I…I was back to feeling good about being a dad. I wasn’t last night. I was so frustrated that I felt like I was terrible at this job, but it is a job you cannot quit or renegotiate terms. It’s just your job…for life. This morning I pondered this and Kate told me about a book she read where parents have to let go of the idea of having nights to themselves…we’re still parents at night. I got it right away…and at the same time realized my doom. Once the kids are asleep I DO envision that time as our time to be a couple. To be adults. To feel like people without parenting responsibilities. I just want to watch HBO on the couch and pass out with a book in my hand. Apparently this is not going to happen for a while longer. So instead of accepting my fate I did what any child of the early 90’s would do…I pointed to the upstairs where the kids rooms are and I quoted The Goonies:
“The next time you see sky, it’ll be over another town. The next time you take a test, it’ll be in some other school. Our parents, they want the bestest stuff for us. But right now they gotta do what’s right for them, ’cause it’s their time.
Their time, up there. Down here it’s our time. It’s our time down here.
That’s all over the second we ride up Troy’s bucket.”
I then walked out the door and went to work…the only place I feel like an adult, which is sad because I have to spend my time as a desk-jockey in the race to balding and poor eye-sight. I think I’m starting to catch up in that race. Glasses and thinning hair ahoy. I don’t care what the fancy schmancy doctor said in the book, when the kids go to sleep up there…its our time down here, on the couch, with the HBO, and the reading. Goonies never say die!
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