Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Familymatic Wake-up Plan

So, my husband and I decided we need a new system for deciding who gets up with Heavy D in the mornings. It had been that most of the time, we’d just kind of find a rhythm—if I was exhausted from being up a million times, he’d get up with him. If he didn’t sleep well, D and I would greet the day together quietly in the living room so daddy could sleep a bit.

I know those of you whose partners work terribly long hours think I am a class-A weenie not to be able to get up cheerfully with my child each morning, but so be it. I am just not a morning person. In fact, I think I learned German because intuitively I knew that language had a special word for people like me: morgenmuffel. So yes, I know I’m lucky my husband gets up with the baby at all.

But we’ve been so exhausted lately (the Bugster had been making appearances at 12, 2, 4, and getting up at 6:30—he used to sleep till 7:30 or 8:00. I know, I know—call the waaaah-mbulance, right?) that this system was starting to break down. Take, for example, this scene from our bedroom Tuesday morning:

((D howling for one of us to come get him))

Me: ((sighing heavily, putting on pajama pants v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-ly))

Daddymatic: Do you want me to get up with him?

Now, any parent knows that one cannot, no matter how much one might want to, answer this question with “Yeah, I want YOU to get up with our son so I can go back to sleep. I don’t really want to see him just yet.” There IS no answer to this question that both a) makes you feel like you are a good parent and b) allows you to get what you really want, which is another 45 minutes of sleep. So I did what any good passive-aggressor would do, which is to respond:

Me: Mmm, only if you want to.

HA! Take that, my dear spouse! Try and out-guilt the GuiltMaster? I. don’t. think. so.

So of course he got up with him.

Later in the day, when we were feeling less like we were dragging huge Anne-Lamott-esque dinosaur tails behind us, we decided we needed a new system, preferably one that did not make us have to out-strategize each other with guilt so early in the morning.

Thus we have enacted the Familymatic Wake-up Plan. Now, whoever will be gone that morning (we have no external child care, so we trade mornings and afternoons) gets up with D, so on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, that’s me. It’s nice because the Boy Wonder and I get some time together before I leave, Daddymatic gets to rest and I am no longer filled with dread when I hear the chattering begin at 6:30—because I know I’ll get to sleep in tomorrow.

Actually, truth be told, I don’t always go back to sleep—this morning I just laid there for 20 minutes, hearing them play and listening to Daddy sing “the Wheels on the Bus” to bribe the child into sitting still enough for a diaper change. Sometimes lying in a warm bed, smiling at your spouse and kid laughing together in the next room and reflecting on what a good life you have is more restorative than another hour (or even two) of sleep.