Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What 's a mother to do -- delegate!

I know you have all been through this at some point this summer: We are on vacation and the baby, who normally sleeps well in his own room, is in a pack and play in our room. When we tiptoed in around 11, after having pajama-ed ourselves in the hallway, the sleeping baby rolled over and started to make those lighter breath sounds that let you know it's all over but the crying. As soon as I had settled into bed and closed my eyes he started to wail. After a minute or two, it was an on and off whiny sort of cry, the kind that tells you that nothing is really wrong except that he knows you are in the room and wonders why you aren't interested in playing. Sometimes it would transition into a flopping around the crib trying to go back to sleep sort of whine, and then ramp back up again into a cry.

Did I:

a) get up and fix the baby a bottle and soothe him back to sleep
b) bring the baby into bed and snuggle, allowing him to sleep but keeping my husband and I awake in the small bed
c) get up, pull on my robe and pace the cold floor for an hour making gentle sushing noises, just hoping that no one else in the house would be disturbed

With any of the first four children, any or all of the above would have been reasonable answers, but this is baby number 5, so instead I chose

d) role over and announce to poor husband that this is making me a little bit insane and unreasonably angry and that he just needs to do something about it, then stay in bed as he changes diaper, takes apart crib to get it out the door, sets it up in the girls room and leaves the baby to cry it out while he returns to make gentle sushing noises to me, to help convince me that the baby will be quiet and we will all be sleeping in just a few minutes, which indeed we were

Someone once told me that he noticed that large families seem to have outstanding fathers. (that the mothers are outstanding goes without saying, I guess). I don't know if this is universally true, but I know that I could not continue to be so open and generous to new life in our marriage if it were not for the amazing support I get from my husband. He works hard in an office, week after week, and has chosen to spend his vacation week in a luxury- free, remote location with his family, caring for his wife, playing ball with his boys, cooking waffles and doing dishes. As we dance to jazz in the kitchen and take long walks to nowhere, I am reminded again and again of the truth of what his college roommate told me when we were newlyweds, "you are so lucky!"


Mary Alice's husband said...

I thought this was an excellent post.

Anonymous said...

This is great--both the post and the first comment :) You are both an inspiration!!

AWOL Mommy said...

HA. You two are amazing. And kudos to Mr. Mary Alice, Pack'n'Plays are no joke to assemble and disassemble.

Kat said...

Oh MA, the picture you paint of the baby's noises is one that we can all relate to, I think! I'm glad that it all worked out, and you know what, I think that dads are sometimes best at getting babies back to sleep in the middle of the night. Maria is sleeping through the night (until 4:30 or 5 a.m., but still, sleeping through!) these days, but when she does wake up, ET goes in to lay her back down and is much better at this than I would be! I love the comment about big families having outstanding fathers, I think you're right. I just wish that we all lived close by each other so that our husbands could be a source of support to each other!

B-Mama said...

Wonderful, beautiful... MA, you have a knack for weaving inspirational, emotional messages into your hilarious, down-to-earth stories. I just loved this one in the wake of having GG home for a month after our little J was born. I honestly wouldn't have made it without him!! He is amazing... Maybe that means we are set up to have a large family?! :)

I echo Kat's thought on wishing we all lived closer so that our hubbies could support one another!

Kate E. said...

That was hilarious, you do have a great husband and I love that he gently shushed you (I hope you didn't need swaddling and swaying too!)

As you know we travel way too much, and I think you will remember that the last time we traveled together I made Brendan put Jack in the bathroom. On our last trip he was in the dining room of the suite.

Your description of the whole evening was so painfully reminiscent it made my toes curl (which is what I would do as I lay in bed hoping he didn't hear me all those vacations before).

Have a great week, you guys deserve it!

Right Said Red said...

Very funny MA. I think it is great that you were so direct with Mr. MA! And go Mr. MA for springing into immediate action.

We have had so many vacations like this. We now resort to putting our little babies in the bathroom OR bringing a very loud noisy fan (I suggest a Honeywell).

Did the girls get any sleep?

texas mommy said...

Way to go Mr. MA! Dads do way more than we give them credit for, especially after working all day long!

texas mommy said...

Also...I think the farm sounds like a dream vacation (allergies aside!) Have a wonderful time!

Joanne said...

Ha, it is an excellent post. It makes me think how lucky I am. Even though we only have two, it sometimes feels like 20 and my husband is the most patient, kind, sweet, gentle thing. He is nice, in contrast with my lunacy. :)