You guys. I’m worried about my husband. I think he needs to go to the doctor. I’ve been worried about him for a while. Something’s up with his hearing and it’s like as soon as I gave birth to our first child, he’s had more and more difficulty hearing and understanding what I’m saying.
I made cupcakes for my one year old’s birthday party this weekend. On Friday night after the kids had gone to sleep, we were sitting on the couch relaxing watching TV.
“I’m going to make cupcakes for Jack’s birthday party on Sunday and then a small cake for him to smash.
“Sounds great!” He replied.
Saturday morning I went to the grocery store to get supplies for the party. As I was putting away the groceries I said, “I got this cute funfetti birthday cake mix for the cupcakes for tomorrow.”
“Cool!” He replied.
Saturday evening, my two year old “helped” me make the cupcakes. “Wow, you did such a great job! Show Daddy the picture I took of you making the cupcakes!”
“Great job, buddy!” my husband yelled from the other room as he played with the baby.
Sunday morning as we were packing up all of the stuff to go to the party, my husband was carrying things out and said in a surprised tone, “Oh wow, you made cupcakes! Great idea!”
It was if I had ever mentioned it to him before.
You can see why I am worried… his hearing is obviously failing him. More likely though, he’s just tuning out most of what I say to him. I get accused of nagging from time to time and maybe I do… but the bigger problem lies in the fact that I can’t ever be sure if I’m actually ever listened to or not. I know he hears me, but is he listening?
I listen to him, but most of the time I should probably bite my tongue before I reply.
“I’m so tired.” He will say. These three words can set me off almost instantaneously. I can feel the outrage bubbling up inside of me, ready to blow like a tea kettle that’s boiling over. My face gets hot and my palms start to sweat. I want to scream You’re so tired? You are SO tired? I’ve seen the sun rise every day this week. I got two non-consecutive hours of sleep last night and practically had to keep my eyelids open with a pair of toothpicks driving into work. The baby woke up twice and didn’t want to go to back to sleep. Just as I got the baby back to bed, our toddler woke up and climbed into bed with me. I slept on a quarter inch of the mattress all night in the guest room with a foot in my face, smelling like sour milk from the baby bottle that spilled and my arm fell asleep. My back hurts and I’m dragging ass. We should also consider investing in Dunkin Donuts stock because I’m pretty sure I’m solely keeping their business afloat with the number of turbo coffees I purchase each week in an attempt to feel somewhat human. DO NOT tell me how tired you are, because I can bet I am more tired than you are.
He probably is tired… he just doesn’t realize how badly I would kill for the eight hours of sleep he got the night before.
When I get up each morning, I can faintly hear the end of I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher playing in my head, clear as day. Each morning is Ground Hog Day… doesn’t matter if it’s Tuesday, Friday or Sunday morning. The same shit happened the night before, and the first thought that pops into my head is how long the night lasted. The hours between 11pm and 6am can feel like an eternity when you are woken up intermittently every 45 minutes. Someone, somewhere is playing a pretty good trick on me because just as my one year old finally started to randomly sleep through the night, my two year old and former sleep champ, decided to wake up multiple a times night. It’s been three years (including pregnancy insomnia) since I’ve woken up feeling “refreshed”, and I’m not even sure I would remember what that would feel like if I had the chance to experience it again.
So when my husband tells me how tired he is, there is a 50/50 chance that I just mumble “Yea, I know, me too.” Or he may get a full account of every waking moment of the evening before. Every little detail that he missed in the early morning hours, before the sun came up, while he was snoring in our big bed, alone. And it’s right around that time that I’m sure he starts to tune me out. Because believe me, he’s as tired of fighting about who got more sleep as I am, and he is just as tired of hearing about it as I am tired of living it.
He knows that when he sees my fiery eyes in the morning that it’s been a bad night. I will stare at him as he walks out to the kitchen, taunting him with my stare as to say “I dare you- I fucking dare you- tell me how tired you are. Please.” I’ve become a sleep monster. Lack of sleep will do that to you- you literally become a monster. It’s crazy; it’s like we’ll find all these ways to compare ourselves to our spouse to win the “who has it worse award”. It’s exhausting and it’s a constant battle. The bottom line is that whether he is listening to me complain about the night before or not, there really is no right answer. Nothing except three days worth of sleep is going to make me feel better, and in reality it’s not his fault that the kids were up all night.
We spend what little energy we have left over in the day consumed with anger and frustration over lack of sleep, lack of personal space, lack of personal time. Instead of coming together as a partners who work to make things easier for each other, we name the other one as the enemy. We tune each other out and distance ourselves when we need each other the most. It’s time to make a change. We don’t have control over the things that trigger our inner monsters: My toddler is still going to continue to throw a tantrum when I try to put his socks on and most likely, the baby will keep waking up over night. We don’t have control over the craziness, but we do however have control over our attitudes about it… so I’m going to have to work on that.
I’m going to try to shut down the sleep monster inside of me and kill what’s giving me fiery eyes. I’m going to stop daring him to piss me off and try to enjoy our downtime together instead of letting it be consumed by thoughts of what the other person has or hasn’t done that day. Maybe if I try to complain a little less, he will stop tuning me out. It’s worth a shot. Until then, you can find me sipping on my iced coffee, dreaming about a big long nap and making “surprise” cupcakes that my husband has never heard about.
PS. The cupcakes were a big hit