Up all night with a sick baby + 5A.M. call time for today’s shoot = sunglasses and juice.
(This post was written at 4:45A.M., so apologies in advance for any typos and/or general incoherence.)
Last night was a little rough.
It was one of those nights that every parent has once in awhile: our son was sick from about midnight on, which meant a constant stream of baths, bedding changes, pajama changes, carpet cleanings, water deliveries…you name it. Nights like these are terrible, mostly because you just want your child to feel better and fall back asleep, but also because there’s so much anxiety involved (the baby’s crying, the dogs are panicking, everyone’s exhausted). And in my experience, anyway, that anxiety can snowball on top of itself, creating friction between the parents that does nothing but make a miserable situation that much worse.
I remember the first time we had a night like this, not too long after we moved. Neither Kendrick or I had any idea what to do, really: let him lie down? Try to get him to stay awake until he feels better? Give him a bath…or just worry about cleaning him up once the sun rises? Because there’s so much to do when a child is sick in the middle of the night – logistical stuff like changing the sheets, but mostly just trying to figure out what he needs to feel better – and it can be very easy to take out your frustration and worry on the other parent: you’re not doing it right.
And the fact that it’s 4AM and you haven’t slept at all and you have to start getting ready for work soon doesn’t help. You might not fight, exactly…but you snap at each other. And it feels horrible.
But last night, something was different. We heard our son crying in that way that you know means something is actually wrong, and without even talking about what to do, we were in his room. I stripped the bed; Kendrick got Indy out of his PJs and ran a bath; I went downstairs for some water and medicine. It went on like that, over and over, all night long, and when our son finally relaxed and fell back asleep…
You know what we did?
We high fived. And gave each other a kiss, and said “good job,” and closed our eyes.
It was a bad night, but something about it wasn’t bad at all, exactly…because even at 3AM, ferrying towels up and down the stairs, it felt like we - all three of us – were on the same side. I’m so proud of my son for being so brave – because he was – but I’m also proud of us for getting through it like the partners we promised each other we’d be six and a half years ago. We’re not always perfect at that, but we’re working on it. Getting better. And I think that’s what matters.
Also: I think everyone in this house could really use a nap.