For the past couple days, I have found myself padding around my darkened house during the 4am hour holding a restless 1-month old. I haven’t had this much fun since I got a D in my college Geology class after my professor died midway through the semester.
You see, my wife got sick on Saturday, and my daughter Alice has gotten into the unfortunate habit of not being able to fall back asleep after her (very) early morning feeding. She eats just fine, but then when my wife lays her down she starts grunting and squirming like a naked and bound obese man laid on a scorching-hot sheet of aluminium.
The wife and I, meanwhile, lay just a few feet away praying to Jesus that she would just fall asleep and we could catch maybe another few minutes of precious sleep before our son Oliver gets up and begins demanding banannas and body-slamming the cats, like some potassium-starved “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
Rather than luxuriating in deep sleep and dreams of pumpkin pie Blizzard jacuzzis, our early mornings have become a period of high anxiety, and this morning I ended up wandering around the house with Alice in an effort to get my sick wife another hour or two of sleep. But what was I supposed to do with a fidgety baby in a dark, cold living room at 4:45am? Without cable, the television offerings were less than ideal. Unable to choose between the weather station featuring an android’s voice or the Proactiv infomercial featuring the android Jennifer Love Hewitt, I flipped the TV off and ended up brushing my teeth for 20 minutes instead (once I started, I couldn’t stop because I hadn’t anticipated the difficult logistics of bending over to spit).
Eventually I was able to get Alice to fall back asleep, and by 5:30 I was on to my morning routine, bleary-eyed and an hour ahead of schedule. By drinking several quarts of coffee, I am now able to approximate human speech and emotion. However, equal parts fatigue and chemical adrenaline make for a strange morning, as my clammy, trembling handshakes to every stranger I see can attest.
The moral of my story? Young fathers, if your wife is sick, pretend to be sicker.