Friday, July 11, 2008

Everything's Different Now

Before you have kids, people constantly tell you how having children will change everything -- a point that seems so obvious, that it has always baffled me that people deem it necessary to pass on this little nugget of wisdom. Of COURSE everything will change, as it should. This is precisely why we were so deliberate in determining whether and when to have a baby (although, the when got a little muddled). We wanted to be in a place financially, emotionally, intellectually and professionally where we were ready to take on a child. And we talked long and hard about what would change and how we would adapt to our new roles as parents. And, honestly, all of those changes were anticipated and planned for -- so our transition to parenthood has been relatively smooth (except the bit of the bumpy start in the NICU). But, there has been a change that I totally didn't expect, and I've determined this is what people mean when they say EVERYTHING will change. They aren't talking about just your relationships, career, finances, emotions, etc. They mean everything. Even what side of the bed you're willing to sleep on.

I have always slept on the left side of the bed. Always. It's been a point of contention over the last 12 years with Eric, who has insisted that it is unhealthy to have sides (ergonomically speaking). But, I was willing to risk a permanent crick in my neck in order to stay on my side of the bed. We tried to switch once, and I woke Eric up in the middle of the night and made him switch back with me. I couldn't sleep. There were no comfortable positions on his side of the bed!

But since Kai's arrival - I start out the night on Eric's side of the bed and at 2:30 (when my shift begins) I switch to my side. Eric and I have determined the best way to staff Kai through the night is to designate one of us to be responsible for getting up with her for half of the night. Eric takes the first shift - and gets up with Kai if necessary between 10 and 2:30. I am on deck from 2:30 on. This arrangement has worked fantastically well for getting at least 4.5 hours of sleep, and usually more (because she usually sleeps at least part of each shift, allowing the designated caregiver to sleep right along with her). But, because the co-sleeper is on my side of the bed, it only works if the person who is not on duty sleeps on the Eric side of the bed. At first I thought this arrangement would kill the whole plan - how would I ever sleep on that side of the bed? I'd just be tossing and turning until 2:30, when I got my side back. But, as it turns out, this isn't true. In fact, by being on the side of the bed furthest away from Kai, it helps me make the mental break as the one on duty - and so not only can I fall asleep (you can sleep anywhere with enough sleep deprivation) but I can even remain asleep when Kai wakes up and starts fussing, because I know it's not my shift.

So, it's true. Everything is different now.

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