Let sleeping dads lie

I threw back the bed covers.
I’d been up to Li’l Fatty three times in an hour and I was getting cranky.
I looked at Learner Dad, sound asleep and blissfully unaware half his family was awake.
I got up and gave Li’l Fatty his dummy before returning to bed.
Twenty minutes later I heard him again.
This time I threw back the covers AND turned on the lamp.
I looked at Learner Dad.
Nothing.
Again I went in and plugged the baby.
Ten minutes after that he grizzled again.
This time I threw back the covers, turned the lamp on AND said ‘f&%k’ quite loudly.
I got a faint snore in return.
“Nice for some, wish I could sleep through everything,” I muttered.
Funnily, that was all it took.
Learner Dad was suddenly very much awake and on his way to tend to his son.
Now to be fair, I must say two things: although Learner Dad could sleep on the back of a moving tractor, he is always more than willing to help out if I wake him; and secondly, we’re both pretty happy with our system of me working the night shift and him handling the early morning.
But, in the first couple of months, it wasn’t always that simple and occasionally Learner Dad was called on duty.
“Wake up honey, I’ve tried everything, it’s your turn,” I whispered, shaking him awake one night, when Li’l Fatty was still sleeping in our room.
“I think all you can do is rock him now.”
Bleary-eyed, Learner Dad walked around the bed, sat down by the cradle, and rocked it.
Five times.
He wasn’t being lazy, he wasn’t being smart.
He sincerely thought that was all he had to do.
“I could’ve done that!” I said. “You have to do it until he’s asleep.”
“He is asleep?” he queried.
“Not in a deep sleep,” I said. “He’ll just stir again unless you keep rocking him.”
And so he did but, of course, I stayed awake the whole time and probably should have just done it myself.
The next night I didn’t wake him gently.
I simply carried a screaming Li’l Fatty around to his father’s side of the bed and stood there until Learner Dad stirred.
Then I quickly moved away and said innocently: “Oh sorry, I was hoping he wouldn’t wake you.”
Weeks later, Li’l Fatty, who had then moved into the nursery, was again keeping me busy at night.
I eventually woke Learner Dad and sent him in to help.
Snap. I heard the nursery light go on.
“What up li’l fella?” I heard Learner Dad yell playfully at his son.
I rushed in to see he’d plucked him out of the cot and was blowing raspberries on his belly.
“Shhhhh, put him down,” I hissed, turning the light off.
“That’s just going to wake him more.”
Poor Learner Dad went back to bed wondering where he’d gone wrong.
Li’l Fatty went back to bed wondering what the heck had just happened.
And I went back to bed… and tried not to wake Learner Dad again.

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2 thoughts on “Let sleeping dads lie

  1. Oh the nights we have has just like these. I don’t know how many times I have fumed “don’t talk to him!!” or how many times I have found both dad and boy sitting in front of 2am soccer games fixated on the glaring screen because dad “just couldn’t settle him either”. You are right, best not to wake him.

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