Monday, April 30, 2012

Sleepful Nights

Kids will change you.

That's what people tell you when you're expecting a child.

For the most part those people are correct.  Your outlook on life will change.  Certain things just won't be as important as they once were.  You'll be forced to grow up in a hurry if you haven't already, and you'll face the most challenging yet rewarding experience of your life.

But it isn't a catch all.  It doesn't mean that everything about you will change.  In fact some aspects of your personality will only be augmented with the introduction to a child in your life.

For example, an entitled douche will only be more entitled and douchey about his or her kids.  Now they'll not only expect everything to be handed to them without working for it, but they'll also expect the same for their kids.  Someone that cares more about appearance will turn every day into their own little fashion show for the son or daughter that was born to be accessorized.  A hypochondriac who imagines illness will only fear (read: imagine) that his or her child will get sick at every possible moment.

I bring these examples up because, like everything else, I want to relate it back to myself.

Ever since my wife and I met, she has known that I'm a heavy sleeper.  I can sleep through just about anything.  Pretty sure that I could live next to an airport and never hear a plane landing in the middle of the night.  In fact my family used to live very close to train tracks when I was growing up.  The trains would come by throughout the night.  I of course slept with the window open and was never the wiser.

This knowledge of my sleeping habits hasn't stopped my wife from getting upset with me when I fail to jump out of bed in the middle of the night when the girls cry.

Don't get me wrong.  I care about their well-being.  It's my number one priority.  This just hasn't manifested itself into changing my REM cycle.

The thing is it is entirely out of my control.  I don't consciously avoid waking up.  I just don't wake up.  And I can't understand why that should get me in trouble.  I understand that my wife has earned sleep too, but it isn't like I'm willingly ignoring our daughters.  It isn't as if I'm punishing my wife and making her get up at night to tend to them.  Yet I have heard about it from the moment they were born that I need to start waking up in the middle of the night.  She doesn't hesitate to point out how she was yelling from their bedroom at 2am while I just slept.  I've even been laid with the guilt trip that if someone broke in and murdered my entire family that I'd probably sleep through it.  That isn't hyperbole.  This was something that my wife actually told me.

I can have the guilt of some worse-case scenario laid at my feet, but it isn't going to change who I am and how I sleep.  I just can't control it.  I wish I could if only so I could stop being made to feel bad about it.  But a fish has to swim.  A bird has to fly.  And I have to sleep.  And if twins can't change it, nothing will.

1 comment:

Becoming Supermommy said...

I'm pretty much the same way... except that if I'm awoken just a little bit (but not all the way), I talk in my sleep.

So if the girls wake up in the middle of the night, I'll demand that M go take care of it. And have no knowledge or memory of that.

When he had to get up for work at 4am, this was a particularly touchy subject. But... can't change the way I sleep, can I?