This newfound parenthood has afforded me a simple luxury I haven’t had in some time, staying up into the wee hours. It’s 2:39AM now, and I’ll probably be up at least another hour before my shift is over. Late night feedings are hard only if you have to pull yourself out of bed in order to get them done. If on the other hand you don’t hit the sack until four, you not only get the feedings done lickity split but you also get time to yourself to enjoy the serenity and solitude that only nighttime can offer.
As a kid I would stay up all hours of the night during the summer months to watch television. With the exception of the four-to-five-o’clock hour I had a full schedule of shows I’d watch. Both Carson and Letterman were must-sees whether they were reruns or not. Alan Thicke used to have a show called In the Thicke of the Night. It wasn’t as funny as Johnny or Dave’s shows but viewing choices were slim at that time. Pat Robertson’s channel would let up on the prostheletizing during the witching hour and show old reruns of Burns and Allen and The Jack Benny Show. I loved those.
As a kid, my mother would share the nighttime quietude with me. OK, share isn’t really the right word for it. I suppose competed for nighttime quietude is more like it. White nights are best spent alone, and she really wasn’t fond of me encroaching on her peaceful alone time. Now I share the darkness with my angel of a daughter and demon of a cat. The baby is actually asleep now but that damn cat insists on choosing four in the morning as the ideal time to run top speed from one end of the house to the other and back again. He has a bathrobe sash that my wife gave him that he sometimes runs through the house with trying to attract my attention. He dives over furniture, darts past the sleeping dog, and leaps from the kitchen counter to the fridge to our ledge space, the sash dragging behind him like a snake. Occasionally he’ll drop it at my feet wanting me to throw it for him to fetch. I keep wanting him to curl up with me and the baby the way he does with me and my wife, but whenever my infant daughter cries or makes a noise the cat just stares at her loathingly with a look that seems to say I just hope they kept the receipt.
The downside of staying up all hours of the night is that eventually I will have to go to bed, and then only a few hours later I will have to wake up, groggy and tired after having gotten only a few hours rest. But I will take comfort in knowing that at the end of the day when my wife and daughter have fallen asleep, the glider in the nursery will be waiting for me once again. Until then goodnight stars; goodnight air. Goodnight noises everywhere.