By MATTHEW SHERMAN
Before we had Elliott, my wife and I talked far more about the type of parents we were NOT going to be far more than we did about the type of parents we WOULD be. We had a tendency to be a bit pompous about it at times. “Oh, do you see what they’re doing with their baby? We’re NOT going to do that with our baby.”
My wife and I are not schedule people whatsoever. In the past year, we have eaten dinner as early as 3:45 and as late as 10:15. Before we had Elliott the time I showed up to work often correlated directly to how many decent videos VH1 happened to play consecutively or how long it took Sportscenter to get to a clip I had already seen the night before. So, needless to say, we knew we weren’t going to be sticklers about Elliott’s schedule. And we CERTAINLY weren’t going to adhere to a rigid sleep schedule.
Well, we’re at eight months and counting and Elliott is still not sleeping through the night. And, now more than ever, the time when Elliott is sleeping is precious time. “OK, I have 45 minutes to throw in a load of laundry, make two calls for work and maybe, just maybe, grab a shower.” If he happens to wake up early, it is nothing short of a tragedy. The other day I dropped a fork in the kitchen when Elliott was down and if I had been videotaped during that time I’m sure I would have looked like a silent movie star reacting to a telegram that brought horrific news. There was a silent expletive, hair grabbing and cringing as I anticipated a cry coming from down the hall.
The other day our dog heard a car door close outside while Elliott was napping. His ears instantly perked up. He was going to bark. Our eyes met and a brief but intense standoff ensued. His look said: “I know from experience that there’s only a 1% chance that the person who closed that door is coming into our house but how silly would I feel if he or she DID come into our house and I choose this ONE time not to bark at them first?” My look said: “Try it. Just try it. So help me dog if you bark you’re not getting the People magazine on the nose, we’re upgrading to the Lands End catalog.” I won.
A few weeks ago when a solicitor rang our doorbell during naptime I thought, only half-kiddingly after dealing with the 15 minutes of pure chaos that resulted from that one simple gesture, “I wonder what would have happened had I just opened the door, punched that guy selling siding in the face and then slammed it.”
So now we find ourselves nervously checking the time at the mall, fretting about plans that will keep us out until 8 p.m. and scheduling an entire day’s worth of activities around naps. I’m proud to say, however, that I still have no idea when I will be eating dinner each day.