Friday, 4 December 2009

Who's been sleeping in MY bed?

Strange thing, when you think about it, this bed-sharing malarky. Charlie's never been one for teddy bears in his cot. He'll take a bus to bed, or kiss his 'choo-choo' train goodnight and wave a fond (and individual) farewell to all of his toy cars. But soft, cute, fluffy, cuddly creatures have held no attraction for him. Until now.

Suddenly, and without explanation, he has started taking a bear to bed. And not just any old bear. George. Yes, George. Don't laugh. There are far stranger names for bears in our house. Like 'Spade' (Sally's favourite bear) or Roof. Another one of hers was known as Sponge from the moment he was unwrapped. And then there's Cuthbert. No, I can't explain that either. But here he is in bed with Charlie...

And now it's confession time. This isn't a sight I see very often. Because, I'm not 'tuned in' to Charlie's crying in the way that Sarah is. I read about this first on Emma's blog; CafeBebe blogged about it too on Wednesday. It seems that most men aren't too hot when it comes to hearing their offspring call out in the middle of the night, leaving their beleaguered partners to do the lion's share of the nocturnal soothing. There are all sorts of theories, from the inherent laziness of the male (I thought I'd better say that first) to the female's  hormonal responses to a child's cry, linked most obviously to feeding.

Lots of comments (from mums) confirmed the idea that women get up more than men. Many - while expressing some annoyance - said that they thought it was fair if their husbands were getting up for work in the morning. Some dads said they did most of the getting up in spite of getting up to go to work each morning.

Well here in Charlie Towers, as you know, roles are reversed. Sarah goes to work each day, and I don't. It's only fair that Charlie's mother gets a good night's sleep. Come eight o'clock she's in the car and driving twenty miles to work. My commute consists of coming down the stairs. By nine o'clock sharp Sarah's got to be performing in the classroom, teaching groups of eager schoolgirls, whereas I might well be in my dressing-gown still watching Milkshake. I could take the interrupted sleep more easily. I should be doing the night-shift.

But I don't. I sleep through all the coughing and the crying and the calling (which is almost always 'mummy'). Am I lazy? Is it that I lack the hormonal hair-trigger? Or is it any of the other theories?

Well, no. I have a simpler explanation. It is this: I'm knackered. Women's work (as someone else once said) is possibly the hardest work I've ever done. A day of entertaining Charlie, shopping, washing, cleaning, cooking and the rest of it and I'm worn out. I'm frequently in bed much earlier than Sarah. And in spite of getting up in the night, she's often awake before me in the morning. I sleep through Charlie's crying in the night because I'm sound asleep, dead to the world, and in the land of nod. It's as simple as that.

Which just leaves one unanswered question. How is it that so many stay-at-home mums manage all the stuff that I do every day yet still manage to get up several times each night?

That's easy. I'm not like them.

I'm a man.

Go easy on me.
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