Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Night Life

During nights like last night, when I'm up every 20 minutes soothing, bouncing, burping, or nursing a very uncomfortable baby, I like to catch up on my laundry.
Usually I am at peace with the fact that I am up. This middle of the night work, these measuring doses of gas drops and Tylenol, this running to the garage to retrieve medicine from the diaper bag, stopping only to sop up water from a leaky dishwasher, is part of the job. And of course, between longing glances at the clock, diapers and pajamas are changed, and there is hope that at some point during the night the baby’s whimpering will cease, and even he and I will settle into a deep and comfortable sleep.
I’m so groovy with these nights that at first, when I quietly walk up to my husband’s side of the bed I only gently nudge him in the gut with my knee, just briefly interrupting his sleep. At first, I just want the snoring (think herd of large animals engaging in group flatulation) to stop so that I can think.  Or hear the TV. Or concentrate on Instagram. And in the beginning, say the first hour or so, I truly appreciate my husband groggily picking his head up off the pillow, as if to ask if I need his help or a break, and then laying it gently back down again without saying a word. I think he thinks I don’t see him. Initially I really don’t mind when he scowls at me through sleepy eyes, disgruntled because the hallway light is on, or, heaven forbid, I flushed the toilet. But in the spirit of honesty folks, it gets old. After three or four hours, it gets really old.
Thankfully great clarity comes to me during nights like last night. When I am up. And exhausted. And my husband is, well….not up or exhausted. I am able to plan my day; get a jump start on my list of things to do. I make a mental checklist and settle on laundry. Laundry is perfect.
Since the baby and I are in this together, we pad down the dark and quiet hallway. I survey the laundry room, assessing each pile and settle on towels. Filling the washer I make sure to use the hottest of the hot water settings. And I smile as I set the delay start, knowing that this is where the magic happens. Because the one thing that sleeping through the night will allow my husband to do, is roll out of bed when his alarm chimes, and go about his very predictable weekday routine.  Alarm. Pee. Shower. 5:30, 5:31, and 5:32. Monday through Friday.
Coincidentally I am loading my washer at 2:30 in the morning. And not coincidentally I am setting the washing machine to start in three beautiful hours. Thinking of our inadequate well filling the machine with lots of hot, hot water at just about the time my husband attempts to take a hot, hot shower will undoubtedly bring me a deep sense of peace. And make my four hours of sleep some of the best four hours of sleep I’ve had in a long time.
There wasn’t a whole lotta this going on last night…


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