Top Five Things I hate at 5:00 am

The phrase sleeping through the night is a relative term.  As a parent, that line of when it’s acceptable to be woken up is dependent on the sleep pattern that your child has trained you in.  For us, until a few weeks ago, we got up at like 6:30ish.  Totally fine in isolation, but when put into context that this followed  1-3  wakings, varying in length  from 10 to 45 minutes, it was truly maddening.  So it should be a huge victory that our youngest now sleeps straight through.  It’s not. Because the world at 5 am looks vastly different to me than 6:30 does.  It’s dark, quiet, and soul sucking.  The only sound I hear is my sprinkler system rhythmically watering the various zones in our yard.  And when is the best time to water the lawn? That’s right, when it’s fucking dark out and no one is awake.  And so I wake up at 5:00 now when it’s my turn in the rotation, give or take 15 minutes on either side of that number.  I’ll admit it though, the other day he woke at 5:30, which netted a fist bump, extra milky, and cut my coffee consumption in half for the day.  How sad is it though that I’m celebrating sleeping till right at dawn.  But on normal days, when I do get up, there’s rage, and grogginess, but mostly hate.  And it’s not directed  at little B.  No, my scorn is channeled to other mortal enemies which make up my list of top 5 things I hate at 5 am.

The Sun:

As my friend Deepak said, spelling is important on this one, so I’m underlining the u above to eliminate any confusion.  If it were up to me in B’s room, forget darkening shades alone, I’d eliminate his tiny nightlight, the small beam emanating from the baby monitor, and any light that could dare pass through into his room from the hallway. But, we live in a republic and our supreme chancellor favors no blinds and so we compromise with lovely handmade curtains that are translucent and pretty much invite the sun in to have a fucking party.  So each morning I go in there hoping to shush and pat him on the back because obviously he doesn’t want to get up, but creeping in like a stealth ninja in the background is the aforementioned sun telling him it’s time to f with dada.  Yes, the sun is a tricky foe that I’ve yet to defeat, but I will not give up.

Exercising:

It’s more the concept on this one.  There’s a fleeting thought that runs through my head at night and then again each morning at 5 where I’m already in my workout gear, I grab the baby, gently place (chuck) him in the Bob, and just start running to see if he’ll go back to sleep.  There are several problems with this idea, starting with the fact that it’s still dark so I’d need reflectors, so there goes that seamless transfer.  More importantly, the last thing I want to do at 5 am, besides getting up, is run.  My mom by contrast is a machine.  For the first 18 years of my life she was up at 4:00 am and walked the boulevard in Providence with her friend Barbara.  Every freaking day, up at 4:00, with 3 kids at home.  The kicker is that my dad was somehow never woken up during that extended period she was gone.  Damn, I’d never even considered that until just now.  I’m sure it feels good to get the workout of the way blah blah blah.  You know what will feel better? My couch, where I’ll lay semi motionless from 5 to 6 while B watches Blues Clues and I fade in and out of consciousness.

Everyone in my house who’s sleeping:

There are times I hear a sound from upstairs at this hour, invariably the dog, and I start forming the outline of a smile/smirk thinking the suffering will be shared.  The boys roll down at like 6:30-7:00 and at that point, they’re off my shit list, but that means 90 minutes of hating prior to their descent.  And sorry to say honey, but I detest that you’re sleeping in (full disclosure, Emily and I have a great rotation in place so she goes through the same pain I do on her 5 am days).  And what’s worse is that I feel like you don’t even do it right.  I get angry with you that there’s no white noise shutting out the sounds coming from our first floor.  I know it’s irrational but truly, this is your only zen sleep time because moms are trained in the art of active listening, even while sleeping. Well guess what, they’re up and one of them has been awake long enough to have watched Blues Clues and two full cycles of Sportscenter and yet you refuse to shut it out.

That I went out last night:

On the rare occasion where we both go out together, such as for the killer 40th birthday party we attended last week, one of us invariably gets shafted the next day.  It’s all well and good that someone is watching the kids at night, but where’s the babysitting service that watches kids at 5 am.  Shit, I’d give time and a half for that action.  You know why there’s no Uber dark for early morning babysitting, it’s because the only people up at 5 am are parents who have kids with bad sleep hygiene or college kids who still haven’t gone to sleep yet.  But honestly, just throwing it out there, if someone is interested in a weekly 5 am gig, I’m open.  I’m looking at you Jyoti.  You said you wanted to be in the blog.  Tell Eric of 6 Oak Aged Arrogant Bastards fame that he has to be up with the girls because you have to be at the Roseman house for Blues Clues with Bennett.

Opening my right eye:

I don’t wear a patch or anything or have astigmatism, I just can’t fully commit to the day this early.  From the time I stumble into Bennett’s room at this time of night, let’s be real, it’s dark therefore still night, to the moment I finally relent at some point and brew that pot of coffee, I walk around or lie down or stand, with one eye closed, like an idiot.  The other day, after the aforementioned party we went to (shout out to Kevin and Danielle), my right eye remained shut from 5:10-8:25 at which point Emily mercifully came down.  Typically, that’s not how this scene plays out, but you know what, miracles do happen.  And on that Sunday, head hit pillow, white noise was blasting, and the next thing I knew it was 10:45.  Glorious.  But if that eye had been open, I would’ve been two coffees deep by the time 8:30 rolled around with no hope for a nap.  Emily, you were my hero that morning.

Top 5 Things I suck at as a dad

I’m not sure the timing of writing this post will give my wife comfort, as she’s away for 3 days at her friend’s wedding, which is the longest stretch, by like 60 hours, that she’s been solo since Bennett was born.  You see until 5:45 am on Friday morning, Emily was still nursing B a little, so prior to that there were clear time limitations placed on their separation and therefore my watching of the trio.  Obviously, I’ve got 3 kids, so I’m experienced as a parent, but, I’m still a dude, and so there are things that I kind of suck at, and that Emily really runs point on in our family.  You know, like life, and everything related to kids.  Anyway, day 2 is now in the books of this trip (not the night, which is kind of like a day in and of itself), and it got me reflecting on those differences between when I’m in charge and when Emily is.  So, here we go.

Losing to my kids:

At some point, they probably will overtake me in sports, games, whatever, but that time isn’t now, and it’s important for me to remind them who’s boss.  Now that Miles plays soccer, he’s got this little bit of swagger that I kind of like, but a reality check is in order when we’re playing in the backyard.  Dude, you’re 6 and I could crush you every time, but I won’t, I’ll let you score a couple goals, and maybe tie.  Never win, but sometimes tie. Apparently though, not everyone got the memo that you’re supposed to give them a chance.  Yup, I’m looking at you Laurie Burke.  Miles won’t even look at the Connect Four set since you thrashed him a few months back.  But, I understand where you’re coming from, see, just today we decided to play a game of Sequence (excellent game), which they both like to cheat at (Oliver especially).  Watch what happens in this round though (note how empty the board is meaning we just started).

Good Judgment:

I should preface this one by saying that my son now walks around the house singing the first two lines of the following song, which he learned courtesy of my wife.  Truly, she’s now corrected his inflection to boot because he hasn’t quite mastered the “I cannot lie” part.

Oh, and also of note is that he’s been spelling decently for about 8 months now, and you can guess who he learned the word “dick” from.  Those might be her only 2 judgment mistakes she’s made, whereas I average an f up at least once a day.  Frankly, I think I’ve fared quite well this weekend, because maybe it’s been my only time as the Default Parent.

I’m racking my brain for specific examples, but I think the material is just too vast to wade through.  Oh, here’s one, and damn did I get a lecture for this.  Three days ago, Miles was playing soccer and wanted mama to play and I decided it would be a good idea to shout out that he told me she sucked at soccer.  He denies he said that, and he may be right, but probably not good to teach him to be a dick like that.  In my head I would’ve taken it as motivation to show up this 6 year old, but Emily quit on the spot.  And I tried at various points this weekend to capture some poor judgment on film, like the boys catapulting over the chaise while one was lying on it or crazy speed racing down our hill on their scooters, but they were wholly intact.  So, the worst offense was that we rented Power Rangers from the library . . . which apparently is on our do not watch list (yeah, missed that memo). Kinda weak, but I’ll endeavor do to do better next time I’m flying solo.

Packing:

Like ever.  Snacks, proper clothes, diapers/wipes, change of clothes, pack and play, you know, the usual.  It’s like my computer science teacher said in my report card, “Mike cannot be depended on to do the right thing in any situation”. Ouch.  Look, I was really proud this weekend when I remembered sunscreen, face and body to boot for a jaunt at the park.  Well, I may have forgotten to apply it to Bennett, so we just stayed in the shade . . . on a 95 degree day . . . in a field with no trees.  Fuck, even Miles was like, dude, Bennett must’ve been running hard because his cheeks are red.  Yeah, that’s what it is buddy. D’oh!  So, again, here is another area I just leave to my wife and function as the mule on trips.  “I need you to carry this, place this behind this seat, this one needs to stay upfront with us, that one needs to be accessible, and don’t forget that it’s winter out so he needs a fucking coat”.  Yes, dear.

Dealing with tantrums/injuries:

So far, and tomorrow is a new day, we’re unscathed on this Lord of the Flies weekend.  But tantrums, well, those are a daily occurrence in the Roseman household and the way I handle it consists of the following methods:

  1. Threaten: Because let’s talk about what else you’re about to lose besides your shit right now.
  2. Try and rationalize: Again, we’re talking here and I’m trying to dissect the tantrum and create a teachable moment . . . at the worst possible time.
  3. Just stare: This is my favorite because at a certain point it means that Emily takes over and the tantrum will subside in a few minutes.

And don’t get me started on injuries.  Most of the time I’m convinced 10% is pain, 50% is wounded pride, and 40% is so they can cuddle mama.  We still make fun of Miles for the fact that when a leg would get hurt from a minor fall, he’d start limping and then forget which leg he was supposed to be limping on.  Dude, we’re on to you.

Making plans:

Oh, I dominate at making plans.  Shit, at breakfast, lunch and dinner are already spec’d out.  Vacations, plane connections, train times, that shit’s in my wheelhouse.  But plans that include kids, hi . . . no.  That’s not my domain.  And I know I’m not alone because when I ran this post by my buddies the other night, they all nodded in agreement.  It’s like our weekend comes and I’m of a vacuous mind.  I can plan post 7:30 pm if I’m going out or we’re going on a date, but in between the 7’s, I got nothin. And on those rare occasions where I do step it up in the plan department, it’s usually  because it involves something I want to do.  Like you know, kayak, which is awesome and includes kids, well, at least 2 of them, and poor mama and baby are at home again.  So, RSVP for a kids birthday party?  I think not.  Orchestrate a west meadow beach journey?  Not gonna happen.  But I’ll tag along . . . just don’t expect me to pack.  You know how I feel about that too.