We started dreading waking up in the morning. Two young children, nonstop talking and attention-hungry jerks jumping on our bed at 6 am is...normal. Dear God. My wife, bless her terribly rational soul, decided that we cannot change them, nor stop them, so our only option was to change our shared pattern at night. I'm still shaking my head in disgust.
Our pattern hasn't been anything extraordinary. We put the kids to sleep around 7:30 pm, then catch up with each other on the couch. Usually my wife is telling me about her concerns regarding our children, her business or the need to find a new dentist and I am eagerly searching for something to watch, so we can avoid serious talk a little bit longer (if we are aiming for real resolutions, let's not play around with pretty excuses). If we are watching something together, it has to be a sitcom, a food competition or Bridgerton. Snack, ice cream and Tums all make most welcomed appearances. Inevitably my wife falls asleep 1 hour in, and I get to put on a dated movie (just polished off the Director's Cut of The Outsiders), or a proper television show with gratuitous...fortune. That will last another 2 hours, at which point I fall asleep as well. One of us wakes the other around 1 am.
Could it be better? Yes. Is it terrible? I don't think so. I think it's our kids' faults. The oldest is 5. Our night is filled with bathroom trips, scary dreams, little cold feet shocking us awake at 4:45 am and the occasional sensation of suffocation (courtesy of our overpriced memory foam mattress that has chosen not to acknowledge how much weight I have lost). However, as I have obviously conveyed, I am very growth-oriented. So, if my wife says it's time to grow up and change our habits, I'm really into it.
Here are the new rules:
1. No TV
2. No phones
3. Be in bed by 10:30 pm latest
Now, we started this in December, and I have to tell you, it's been a disaster. I still end up passing out after 1 am, and I've kept up with rule 1 and rule 2. But here are some of the consequences from those rules:
1. The house is spotless every night, because I am obsessively cleaning it. Once I start wiping down a counter, it's like a fix that can't be fixed. I need to see shine everywhere.
2. I am reading avidly. I have always loved books much more than I love people, but I had trained myself to stay cool and distant from them so as to keep their interest piqued. Well, they saw right through me once I started looking around the room. My wife is really happy about this one, as we have an agreement that any book not deemed a classic has be given away once I have completed its adventure. The collection is dwindling away. These nights are the worst, because I need to finish at just the right chapter or when the book is complete.
3. My wife is pregnant.
4. I'm writing again. This one really pisses me off, because it wakes my brain up more than anything else. I majored in screenwriting in college and didn't follow my dreams of going into film, because my dream did not account for my wife's first pregnancy (seeing the trend yet? How she's the root of all... valuable life experience?). She has been encouraging me ever since to get back into it, but I insisted no good would come of it. Since then I have been happily focused on wasting away when not expelling all energy to make my kids like me the most. Now, when I'm wrestling them into submission, I am also questioning and requestioning the possibility of returning to a career in writing or film.
Are you wondering if my wife got to spend more time with me discussing important matters? No, she did not. Any time I started voicing my opinion about a matter, after listening to her talk for a solid 20 minutes, she would inevitably fall asleep 4 minutes in. She claims it's a comfort thing with my voice.
So to recap, my wife is sleeping more, my wife cannot assist with the children anymore due to "morning" sickness, our house is pristine, my book collection is disappearing and I have regained the foolish aspirations of my youth. I feel like there's a message here, and I am not sure it's the right... hold that thought. My 5-year-old is thirsty.