England is gracious enough to grant its mothers an immense amount of maternity leave. In my case, 13 1/2 months. This would be 13 1/2 months of wonder and amazement at P's development, but also 13 1/2 months of very early mornings, very little sleep, lots of tears (hers and mine), and depression.
The Dude, as an educator, has 54 weeks off a year or some such, and has this week off for "Easter". Lucky for him, P is living large at nursery for most of the week, though she was off yesterday for something that we'll call inservice. At times like this, the understanding is that The Dude will get up with P, thus allowing me, the working stiff, to get all the sleep I can.
Yesterday morning, P decided that, much like the annoying chirping asshole bird outside our window, she would wake up for the day at 5.50am. The Dude tried to cajole her into sleeping again - bribing her with all manners of dummies, stuffed animals, and cigarettes. No deal. He came back into our bedroom to put on his sweatpants and t-shirt, grumbling, "That's my fucking day ruined, isn't it? Fucking sets the tone for the rest of the motherfucking day." Oh, the draaaaaama. Thankfully, the room was kind of dark and the duvet was covering my face, as my smile was ear to ear as I cuddled into the covers ready for a restful additional two hours of sleep.
I'm not a bitchfaced meanie of a wife, I swear. I had over a year of shit like this, yet the poor dear has one bloody day of it and he's ready to renounce parenthood. Now, I'm not one to think that the way to combat sexism against women is to then to trot out male stereotypes, but ladies, srsly, men don't always have the...wherewithal to cope with such things, do they?
Clearly The Dude has so soon forgotten the many months in which I was terrorised and taken hostage by that total mindfuck of a phenomenon entitled sleep regression, a phrase that still leads me to believe that eating dog hair and chasing it with a pint of bleach is a preferable experience. Fuck sleep regression and anything that resembles sleep regression. It's been almost a year now since P would wake up at 4.30 every.goddamn.morning, bright as a ray of sunshine and ready to start her day, yet it could have been yesterday. This lasted for about 4 months, and you can bet your ass The Dude nestled back into the covers when I would get up (every goddamn morning at 4.30am, did I mention that?), crying and in near hysterics. Guess who soldiered through all of this? Guess who just dealt with it and got on with life? Uh, yeah. That's what I thought.
I got a frantic email at 1.30pm in the afternoon yesterday as well. To paraphrase, "P won't sleep. Don't know what to do. She got up so early and needs to sleep. Am frustrated and just want the kid to sleep. Send help." I smiled to myself, and hit delete. Again, naptime? A luxury I was only occasionally afforded. Did I email The Dude at those times in a blind panic, wondering if this meant P would never sleep again?
Thirteen and a half months to his one day of sole child-rearing. Hardly seems balanced, does it? I'd almost feel sorry for the poor sap if he hadn't said in response to my pleas for him to shut the eff up already about the draaaaaama, "When are you going to stop lauding this thirteen months thing over me? That was ages ago now, surely there is a statute of limitations." Ahem. P was clinging to me at the time shouting "MIMMY, MIMMY!", and I totally should have used my spare leg to crotch punch him. Jerkface.