The Agreement

In the middle of the night Mad Dog and I have the tacit agreement that he is the one who rises with the boys. Within a partnership you have all sorts of agreements to help you figure out who does what. This has worked out fairly well for us. Since I’m mostly in charge of the boys during the day, Mad Dog pitches in by answering their random calls at night. Of course this agreement has emerged over time. Initially, when they were newborns, I was on 24 hour duty because of breastfeeding (which I disliked with extreme intensity; not all the time, just 92% of the time).

Mad Dog is one of those enviable sleepers. He falls asleep seemingly instantaneously and manages to remain deeply asleep through almost anything. I, on the other hand, battle insomnia, the occasional night terror and am clearly a general mess when it comes to sleeping. That’s why it helps tremendously when Mad Dog gets up with the boys instead of me. For me the process of getting out of bed, walking around and becoming fully alert completely messes with my already neurotic sleeping patterns. For Mad Dog it’s a small trip and then he is back in bed quick to slumber.

Another agreement we have is to sleep with our window open (this is Mad Dog’s absolute preference and I mostly don’t mind). So, the other night, I am laying awake listening to a sleeping Mad Dog’s even, peaceful breathing and I am about to doze myself when our window-shade is caught by a sharp breeze and slams against our wall. We both are jolted completely awake. I’m frustrated because I had been listening to the incessant tap, tap, tapping of the shade against the wall for what seemed like hours. I had wanted to shut the window before but knew per our open-window agreement, I could not.

“Could you please shut the window?” I ask in a curt tone. I know for Mad Dog to get up in the chilly room won’t prevent him from returning quickly to a snoozing state. He doesn’t see it that way and we proceed to have an ugly verbal exchange. Soon, I have leapt from the bed and storm over to the shade, slam the window down and return to bed in a huff. Slumber then eluded me for several hours more.

In the light of day, I apologized to Mad Dog for my midnight rant but said I didn’t understand why he was so hostile. He said he couldn’t believe I would actually wake him up to shut the window. He understands he is supposed to get up with the boys but waking him to shut a window was a bit extreme on my part. I tried to explain that it was the wind and the noisy shade that woke him. I still don’t think he believes me. No matter how many ‘agreements’ you have within a marriage, you still are going to find that you disagree.

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