Friday, June 10, 2005

Bad Night With Baby

More from Laura's perspective than mine. I sleep through minor wars, so I did not get awakened. Some of that is due to the fact that Laura is very protective of my sleep because I work. This is very hard on my wife. Me, I can go with sleep or without for pretty long stretches. Even at age 36 I average about 5 to six hours sleep a night and do okay. All nighters are still possible for me; I do better if it is an all nighter with two hours of sleep somewhere. But I can do it.

In the fourteen years I have known Laura she has always needed at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep a night to function and feel normal. She can scrape by on six. Now our baby wakes her every two to three hours for food on a good night. Last night was not good. I can hear the strain in my wife's voice and see it in her face.

I don't know what to do to help. I want to help desperately but I don't have milk to feed the baby and I do need some sleep so that I can function at work. In April I had my anniversary but I have already blazed through a tremendous number of days off. I'm scared to ask how much I have left 'cause I know the answer must be: next to none. So, I can't call in today. If I call in today what do I do if there is a real emergency or sickness?

Let me tell you something: I do not know how single mothers do it. I just don't. My best guess is that they do it one day at a time, but it must be like doing the first week of sobriety (that living hell where you cannot sleep and never feel well) for months on end. And no partner to help. If I have understood rightly, my friends Faith and Doughgirl are both single moms and were both single moms in their children's infancy. In Doughgirl's case, I believe she is a single mother of triplets, plus one older one! And she is sober!

I cannot tell you how much in awe of these women I am. Never again will I assume women are weaker than men (although in my defence I have never really assumed this). Yes, physically, there is some truth there. Emotionally? Men are toddlers. Tolerance to discomfort and inconvenience? Men are infants. The reason men dominate politics and business has nothing to do with men being smarter or stronger. It's because women are busy doing all the day-to-day stuff that makes the world go round; the stuff that in the final analysis really matters. And you wonder why I think God is a woman?

But I wish I knew what more I could do to help my wife. I really do. Goddess bless her.