…and other parenting decisions I’ve made without consulting my husband.
From about 10pm to approximately 6am, my husband is off duty. This isn’t some sort of consensual agreement we have come to. This is not a mutually beneficial arrangement we have made. This is just physiologically what happens. I have no choice in the matter, and it’s debatable whether my husband does. And trust me, it has been debated.
On the other hand, I’m fairly certain both my brain and my senses go into high alert during these hours. Speaking strictly from an evolutionary perspective, perhaps it’s a defense mechanism as I’m subconsciously aware that my husband is dead to the world. I just wish my brain thought my children needed less protecting during these hours. I. Hear. Everything.
My baby coughs down the hallway? I’m awake. The water heater kicks on? I’m awake. The freezer is making ice? No sleep for me. The brilliant part is, once I’ve been raised from my sweet sweet slumber, I get to try and fall back asleep the the rhythmic musings of my husband’s sinuses. Oh, you thought when I said he was “dead to the world” that I meant silent? No. The soundtrack during his off duty hours is an off-key nose choir in stereo.
I love my husband. I really do. He’s a great partner and father, when he’s awake. We have very few disagreements on parenting decisions and he is consistent and fair. I look to him for input and feedback on raising our children, discipline and house rules. However, there are certain parenting decisions I make by myself. These decisions are generally restricted to any and all events that may or may not take place during nighttime hours. For ease of understanding, I have included a Venn diagram.
The large red arrow indicates the area where I rule the roost. That slight overlap, wherein parenting decisions must be made, but my husband is unavailable to be reached for comment. More importantly, even if he has given input, the actions in no way affect him as he comfortably snoozes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to get his input. If I hear a barking cough coming from one of the kids in the middle of the night and I shake him awake, the conversation goes something like this:
“Listen! Did you hear that?”
“Someone’s coughing! Do you think it’s croup? Should I wake them take them into the bathroom and run the shower for steam?”
“Grumble. Grunt. Snooooooooore.”
He isn’t a great midnight conversationalist, and I’ve been called into action in the middle of the night far too many times than to make the rookie mistake of indecisiveness. The quicker the decision, the quicker you can get back to sleep. You only need to change a couple of wet beds and urine soaked PJ’s at 2am before you make an executive decision restricting fluids in the evening hours.
More recently, our twins transitioned to toddler beds. The beds are a generous foot off the ground, but with the new switch, I thought it might be appropriate to put up small rails to prevent them from falling out of bed.
“Don’t even mess around with those.” My husband said. “They’ll figure it out quickly enough. Their beds are barely off the ground! They’ll be fine.”
They were fine, physically. Oddly enough, they didn’t really wake up when they fell out of bed. (You and I both knew it was inevitable, right?) However, there are nicer ways to be jolted awake in the early morning hours, than to the sounds of your children popping of out their beds, like popcorn, in rapid succession. Parenting decision made on my own: toddler bed rails.
I like to think there will be a time when I can sleep soundly again, when I no longer assume every small noise represents a threat to my children’s safety. I was so thrilled when my kids finally slept through the night, now why can’t I?