Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Getting Out of the House

            Michelle woke up in the middle of the night with a start and looked over at the crib. There was Celia standing at the railing, looking back at her! And she’s not so short anymore, so she could easily have flipped over the edge if she’d been feeling adventurous.
            Needless to say, the next thing on our “baby” agenda was to lower the crib mattress down a couple notches. Now she can’t get over anymore, but all four top front teeth are coming in at once and she’s grouchy about all the pain. I feel so bad for her, because I can see she’s in pain, but what do you do? A little baby-Tylenol. A lot of love. Earplugs all night.
            Yes, I finally broke down and used earplugs right from the get-go, before I fell asleep. Actually, Michelle urged me to do it. She said she was getting tired of the baby waking up all the time, and wants to train her to sleep through the night (agreed!), but that she doesn’t want the baby to wake me up so she goes to her right away. That’s the problem. If we had a good child’s room nearby, instead of that front office so far from our bedroom, I think that would work beautifully, but as it is the crib is in the same room as our bed, and that’s the challenge.
            I’m not sure how it went with baby-wakings last night, but I did sleep better with those earplugs. I didn’t sleep enough, but I did sleep through the crying. I didn’t sleep enough because I was out with some friends jamming till 11pm, and I was the Party-Pooper, calling it quits the earliest. They all looked at me like I was a wimp, but I said, “Baby’s gonna wake me up at 5:30am. And I’ve gotta work.” They all nodded in an attempt at understanding, but deep down I know they have no idea what it’s like because they’re all single.
            The dynamic of going out with the guys was interesting at home. Over the last few weeks Michelle had been complaining and comparing her and my activities. It felt lopsided to her, that I was going out, playing soccer, doing music, etc, and she was always home. Finally, in exasperation, I said to her, “Look! Nobody’s keeping you home except yourself! I don’t appreciate this comparison stuff. If you want to go out, either leave the baby with me, or call on one of the dozens of people who’ve volunteered to watch the baby. You’re not the victim here.”
            She nodded and agreed with me. That was a few days ago, and even though she seems to have come around to taking some initiative to care for herself, I still felt a tinge of burden from her that I was going out last night. And I can understand why. I don’t do this often, but I barely saw the baby after work; I came home, then went off to play soccer, rushed home for a quick shower and cooked up dinner, then dashed out the door again without taking the time to eat with Michelle and went to jam with the guys in preparation for this Sunday.
            But Michelle will get her chance tonight. She’s planning on exercising while I run through some Latin tunes with a different friend and simultaneously watch the baby with my house-mate Priciliano. Michelle also has all sorts of social times during the day. Take today for example; she’s going to the park for a picnic with a few friends who also have babies. As I sit here and type inside on a beautiful day, I think to myself that she’s got it pretty good.
            As I said, comparison isn’t helpful. I am happy for her that she’s getting out. The best thing we can both do is encourage each other to pursue what makes us happy and healthy, and try to balance in time with each other and the family as a whole. I think we’re doing pretty well, overall. After talking out all those issues last week, it seems like most aspects of our marriage have been healthier. Well, it’s also helped by something that changed in me last Sunday.
            At church we’ve been given extra time during the service to sit and listen to God. Every time I’ve felt a little more direction and encouragement to show my love more obviously to Michelle and Celia; to show them I care, to tell them I love them, to truly deep down appreciate them. I can’t believe that I actually lose track of that – how much I appreciate them. I start getting into the nitty gritty of life and forget how blessed I am to have Michelle and Celia in my life. It’s helpful to take that step back and appreciate them, and then to tell them.
            And I’ll tell you what, the sex life has greatly improved ever since I’ve done it. Yay! We’re all winners!

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