Thursday, April 10, 2014


I have to wonder if my daughter is already trying to mess with my head.

My wife works on Thursdays, and I do not, so we are working out an arrangement in which I take care of Ms. 8 Wednesday nights. The idea is that my doing so will allow the Mrs. to sleep, and since I am not expected to be at work on Thursday, I can catch up during the day on any sleep I miss at night. So far, it is not going well, though. It seems like every time I lay down, at about the moment I get horizontal and under the covers, Ms. 8 sings out as though she needs something. When I go to check her, though, she is usually clean and dry, and she is not hungry (or she will not eat). She quiets down as soon as I get to her, and I check her, and she does not appear to need anything from me, and soon goes back to sleep. But when I put her down so that I can try to get back to sleep, she stirs, and at about the time I get horizontal or under the covers, she is crying again.

My reactions leave something to be desired. I have never been good at hiding how I feel, and I find myself frustrated by Ms. 8. And then I feel the fool for being thwarted by an infant and an ass or worse for reacting to my daughter in such a way. It does not help matters, for as I continue to feel worse, I continue to show that feeling, and Ms. 8 is not stupid; she picks up on it in short order and reacts to it as a baby inevitably will. So nobody ends up getting much sleep between Wednesday and Thursday at Sherwood Cottage, and it is my fault; my efforts to offer my wife more sleep end up allowing her less. It is worse than if I had done nothing. I can hardly be pleased at the result.

Some part of me wonders if something like this informs the "traditional" divide in childcare. It wonders if my experience is typical. It wonders also if there is any point to my continuing to try to make the arrangement work, or if I ought to give it up as a lost cause. But another part of me wonders about the effects that that would have on Ms. 8--because I am supposed to be concerned primarily with her rather than with me. That is what is prescribed, is it not? And I do love her; I want to have happen what is best for her, what she needs, and I flatter myself that she needs her father heavily involved. I flatter myself that her mother needs her husband heavily involved. Still, I find myself forced to ask if I ought instead to step back and focus more on providing than on caretaking; I seem to be better at the former than the latter.

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