Friday, March 11, 2011
Selective Male Deafness
One of the things that I sometimes take for granted is that my spouse does a lot. Every morning, he brings me coffee... hot, with three shots of gingerbread syrup, and milk. When I was pregnant with Silas, he'd bring me a prenatal vitamin and a glass of soy milk. When I was having troubles with... eh hem... "post partum issues" it was prune juice. Either way, without fail, every morning, I get to start my day off with a little bit of goodness that is his way of saying,"I love you." I get that. And trust me, I am very appreciative. However, there are days where this gesture feels a little bit like an apology. The other morning, he brought me my coffee as usual and asked,"How are you?" I looked him, barely able to focus, and said,"Tired. Very tired." He seemed confused by my response, and at that moment, it was clear. He had no idea what I was talking about. The look almost suggested an "oh, I'm sorry you're tired... maybe hit the sack earlier next time..." In my foggy, sleep deprived state, I said,"Yeah, tired. I was up at least five times last night." "Five? Oh I thought it was only three..." Only three? The point that he failed to see is that I was up multiple times while he continued to snooze through most of the night's events. "Make no mistake," I told him. "There will be a blog about this!" The words came out almost as a threat, and what was almost funny was that the threat actually seemed to carry some weight. He implored me to at least include the details of the last five months, even though he agreed it would make for a better read without it. So I'll add this brief note: for the first five months of Silas' life, Dave has gotten out of bed once, or twice on some occasions, a night when Silas wakes up to bring him into bed so I can nurse him. I think there are two main reasons he does this. The first is the guilt factor. Yes, he can't nurse him for me (though I've argued he just isn't trying hard enough- there has to be some supplement or something males can take to help out in this area...), but certainly he can get out of bed and get the child. Secondly, he knows that the chances of me making it to Silas' crib and back at 2 am pose a hazard to both Silas and I. A couple of times last week, he claimed I almost walked into the door or doorframe, Silas first. Honestly, both of us would be way to groggy to remember any sort of collision if it happened, so it very well might have happened, which would explain the mystery bruises I sometimes wake up with... so, on that particular night, I had gone upstairs to get into bed around 10. While brushing my teeth, I heard Hanna crying in her room. I went in to check on her, and after about 15 minutes, managed to settle her back to sleep. I got into bed and was asleep for about an hour and a half when Silas started crying. Normally, he cries for about 2 minutes and then falls back asleep when he realizes that at this point, I sleep through this period of crying due to sheer exhaustion. But tonight was different. The monitor was on... I turned it up a little and then realized that Dave wasn't taking the hint. So I got out of bed, and stumbled to pat him back to sleep. It worked and 10 minutes later I was back in bed, nicely snuggled in. Then, I hear it again: the brief grunts, followed by the crying. Ugh. Still not asleep. Dave sits up as if about to go in and get him back to sleep and then lays back down. What? I sigh loudly and go back into Silas' room to repeat the whole "patting- shushing" technique. Eventually, he falls back asleep. About an hour later, Hanna was back at it. She claimed to be cold, so I covered her, and then instantly, she said she was hot... surely it was too late for her to playing this game with me. Tired, and at this point slightly crabby, I said goodnight and left her room. I resented having to reheat my spot in bed yet again. I fell asleep quickly only to be awoken by Newman (our dog) howling in his sleep... yes, he does this, and it is extremely creepy. I heard once that dogs can sense evil and howl when they do... I doubt that Newman is that clued into the supernatural so I ignore that piece of it, but a howl in the dead quiet of the night makes my hair stand. Sometimes his legs twitch in his sleep and I imagine he is dreaming of chasing a squirrel and howling in victory as he corners it and paws it to its doom... I don't think he'd eat it. Just play with it till it stops moving... almost like the scene in "Of Mice and Men", only in this case, it's dogs and squirrels, which hardly has the same ring to it. I rolled over almost in disbelief. Anyone else want to chime in? Maybe someone could ring the doorbell at 3 am? That would be fun. By this time, Silas is ready for his three a.m. feed... again, I leave the monitor on for a prolonged period. Nothing. No sign of movement from the body next to me. I wonder briefly if he is even alive or if his appendectamy has had some lethal side effect. What an inopportune time... I didn't think I could handle one more event. I went to get Silas and nursed him until we both fell asleep only to be woken up by my irritating alarm clock at 6 a.m. My head hurt, my eyes burned. I was exhausted... in fact I was exhasted before I even got into bed... not sure what term would express being exhausted from being exhausted... and here he was, bringing me coffee and asking how I was. "I must have slept through it," he says trying to avoid eye contact. "Slept through it?!? I'll say." At this point, I went off on a rant. "Must be nice to get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep... oh wait, I forgot, you sat up once, and then fell back into blissful slumber. You must feel so rested and rejuvinated! I am so happy for you. Amazing... you slept through it all!" This is what I refer to as "selective male deafness". Sort of like when I talk to him during a football game. The baby monitor can be right next to him, baby wailing and all, and he "hears" nothing. Moms, we hear everything. I can hear the kids crying even when I am in the shower with the water running and they are downstairs.There are times I swear I can hear the baby across the street crying. Maybe it is genetic dating back to prehistoric times when men were out hunting and women had to check at every cry to make sure their babies weren't being attacked by saber toothed tigers. But that seems like a lame excuse considering the fact that Dave has never hunted anything more than a mouse in his lifetime, and that too was comically unsuccessful (they did a little dance around the kitchen, mouse on the counter, Dave armed with the fly swatter, and then the mouse scampered into the tupperwear drawer and disappeared... would have made for a good YouTube video). Once he heals completely, I will have to resort to physical tactics. An elbow in the arm, "accidentally" smacking him with the comforter when I throw it off in frustration... am I being unreasonable? In reality, I believe that I am doing him a favor. It would be much tougher for him to endure a crabby, sleep-deprived wife than just getting himself out of bed. These past few days should have convinced him of that. It really is a small price to pay for the sanity of the family. And everyone knows, "if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"
Posted by Shernina Nichols at 10:14 AM