More Advice for The New Father

If, perchance, you are feeling giddy, new father, because your child has slept 12 hours every night for the past four days (and we’re talking about solid hours, no nighttime feedings), one should still retain one’s sense of duty and watchful attentiveness that normal fathers the world over are so noted for possessing. Life did not suddenly go back to normal.

I took a needed day of vacation yesterday to celebrate the birth of the nation referred to in some quarters as the United States. Both the ladies in the house went down for a morning nap. This was a moment of great rejoicing as my wife has had great difficulty in sleeping any stretch of time, even with the consecutive days of all night sleeping by the Frog Princess. I figured I’d just head downstairs and check some email and make a couple of calls. Downstairs is where I’m allowed to speak in my normal talking voice and won’t wake anybody up.

Upon making the calls and leaving the appropriate messages, I then decide to check some email on the ignored downstairs computer. Since the birth of Leta, we’ve ignored the desktop computers in the house, even though they used to be the primary computers for getting work done and storing the vast email archive that consists largely of messages with subject lines like “Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrre YYYYYYYYYYYYYou bBiiiiiiiiigggggg E nou f?” or “Approved!”

I also decided, as the house was quiet and all were sleeping, to fire up an iChat session or two with a couple of friends. Time passed merrily and all was right with the world. And hey, isn’t that iChat just a cute little program?

I heard some movement upstairs after awhile, and figured Heather had woken from her slumber, refreshed and ready for the day. I didn’t hear any Leta noise, nor Heather talking to Leta. I hear the sounds of a dishwasher being unloaded, albeit quietly. After some more time, Heather comes downstairs, toothbrush in mouth. I look up at her and say with excitement, “Leta’s been asleep for two hours!”

I’m met with a stare that tells me my logic is in orbit around Mars and that if I don’t get back to Earth pronto, I will be dead within seconds. At this point, everything blurs as the space-time continuum is thrown into a quantum warp and slows to -16x of normal and I glance at the clock on screen to verify my remark about it being two hours. Indeed, two hours have passed. Time snaps to normal as Heather responds, “she’s been up for 30 minutes. How would you know that she’s been asleep IF YOU DON’T HAVE A MONITOR DOWN HERE WITH YOU?”

Oops.

We can all laugh about this now, but people. As the lone wakeful person, it is your duty to secure a monitoring device and have it on your person AT ALL TIMES. Trust me. Don’t argue that you were about to defeat the boss on level 14 or that the dog advice you were giving was going to help a friend or that you need your time as well. Don’t argue at all.

Admit that it was a stupid thing to do and that you honestly let the time get away and admit that you’ll never do it again. Even if you felt that since the sleeping was going so well and all, and you figured that your better half was awake anyway, the no monitor thing was kind of a non-issue.

I hope that we have all learned with this little parable that the monitor thing is ALWAYS an issue. Most monitors have a belt clip for a reason and that reason is so that men, in a moment of rare clarity, can clip the monitor onto oneself and then not have to think about where the monitor is, or why one didn’t have one at the ready when the child decides to wake prematurely.

Epilogue: Leta in fact, is sleeping better than ever. Heather, not so much. My little no monitor thing didn’t help, either. I’m a terrible man and I’m here to apologize for all the other terrible men. We are terrible. We are working on it. Microsoft is reportedly doing some research on a block of code that will actually force a man’s brain to consider those around him. I’ve heard it’s delayed due to security issues, but until then, we can only work harder at thinking about being a father and remembering at all times the duties such a title has.

I am not angry with Heather. I am angry with myself for exhibiting some of my worst characteristics at a time when I should be more supportive.

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