FILED IN: Family

Sleeping In

Photo: Sharon Dominick

After a week of working nights, my husband wasn’t in the best frame of mind for this particular question, but I had forgotten to ask it earlier.

“Andrew?” I gently prodded the still form beside me.

“Mm-hmmm?” he replied, too sleepy to speak.

I gently introduced the topic. “Remember how you said that when I stopped breastfeeding Amy . . .”

No response.

I poked him again and continued.

“Remember that you said when I stopped breastfeeding Amy, you would get up with her in the morning so I could sleep in?”

Another muffled “mm-hmmm” came from the other side of the bed.

“Well, I’m going to skip the morning nursing for the first time tomorrow, and I was thinking that if you got up with her, she might not miss it so much. Can you do that for me?”

“Mm-hmmm.”

“It’s about time that I had a break, don’t you think? I’ve been doing this for months now.”

“Sure, thing, Sweetie,” he replied automatically.

I leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Thanks, Hon! Good night!”

During the eleven short months that we had known her, my husband and I had learned the hard truth that, if Amy woke up any time after five o’clock, she was up for the day.  So when I heard her crying at six o’clock, a full hour earlier than her usual time, my heart was filled with pity for my poor husband. He, on the other hand, slumbered peacefully.

“Andrew,” I urged, quietly.

The insistent wail of the baby monitor was the only response.

“Andrew!”

“Mmm-hmmm?” he questioned.

“It’s Amy.”

“So?”

“Remember last night? You said that you would get her this morning.”

He opened his bleared eyes. “I did?”

"Yes, you did. So she wouldn’t miss me not feeding her. You said that I could finally sleep in. Remember?”

“No, but if you say so . . .” he trailed off. Groaning, he rolled out of bed and stumbled to the door. I listened as he calmed her down and changed her, reveling in the luxury of my warm blankets. I was just drifting off to sleep when Andrew popped his head in through the open doorway. Not for the first time, I regretted that the bedroom is right next to the kitchen.

“Should I feed her breakfast now or give her juice?”

I don’t want her to hear my voice, so I whisper harshly, “Just the juice for now.”

He comes back in what seems like a minute.

"Should I feed her breakfast now?”

I check the time. Seven o’clock. That certainly didn’t feel like an hour’s sleep.

“Give her breakfast now.”

“What do I give her?”

“Bananas and Cheerios, to start with.”

Another interval of blissful slumber, then the voice comes again.

“What do I give her now?”

“Toast.”

“Anything on it?”

“No.” I realize my replies must sound rude, but I can’t summon the energy for explanations. I lie limply against the pillow, unable to succumb to sleep, knowing the questions aren’t finished yet.

Again, the head pops through the open doorway. “What now?”

“Cereal and yogurt.”

I wait for more questions, but none come. This can’t be right, I think. I take a deep breath and call out, “Do you know how to make it?”

“Sure. I’ve done it before,” he replies, “Just add water and heat it up.”

“Not in the morning,” I call back. To myself, I seethe, Hasn’t he seen me do this a dozen times? To him, I explain patiently, “Use milk to thin the yogurt to the consistency of cream, then add two tablespoons of cereal.”

“Okay.”

He mixes it up, and brings it in to show me. It’s the consistency of mashed potatoes.

“I’d add a little more yogurt, if it were me.” I suggest helpfully.

He returns to the kitchen. I hear stirring, then I hear fussing.

“She won’t eat it.”

“Give her plain yogurt.”

Another short silence. Then I hear face wiping and tray wiping, and I realize my breakfast tutorial is over. I hear them playing in the living room (still through the open door), and try to relax. I doze restlessly for half an hour, but sleep evades me. Finally, at eight o’clock, I tumble out of bed, wrap my robe around me, and join them in the living room.

Andrew gives me a big hug. “So, how did you like sleeping in?”

I bite back hasty words, look into the happy eyes of this man, the one who loves me and my daughter so much, and reply, “It was . . . wonderful.”