To Sleep, To Dream
Let me tell you about my husband. He’s a generous, responsible man who loves his kids and has always changed diapers like a champ. He can also sleep through a baby crying with the best of them.
It doesn’t matter if the baby is merely whimpering or instead screaming bloody murder. My husband has the uncanny ability to completely ignore it and sleep peacefully while I attend to the situation. Seriously, he doesn’t even budge. I’m mystified by this ability, because sometimes I’ll jolt awake from the tiniest cough or sigh from one of my kids.
I’ve read some research on this phenomenon, and there are a few different theories. One theory is that women are simply programmed to wake at the smallest of sounds from a baby while men aren’t wired that way. Another study claims that the person who sleeps closest to the bedroom door is the one who will awaken when a child cries out in the middle of the night. For the record, I don’t buy that one because we switched positions and I was still the one getting up at night, I just had further to walk.
A friend of mine admitted to me that he doesn’t get up when the baby cries at night because he knows his wife will do it. Of course, he didn’t admit this to his wife (probably a smart move) but that makes a lot of sense to me. On the rare occasions when I am ‘off the clock’ at night – such as when I take medication that makes me sleepy and my husband has to respond to the kids if they wake up at night – then he does a relatively good job of getting up and attending to them. Every other night, though, he snoozes right through it all.
There is one exception to this rule. Ninety-nine percent of the time the kids will yell ‘Mommy!’ when they wake up in the middle of the night, but if one of them yells ‘Daddy!’ then my husband bolts out of bed and makes a mad dash to see what the matter is. Now I just need to figure out how to teach my kids to call to him first, and I’d probably get a lot more sleep.