At any given moment there’s a parent somewhere in the world mumbling expletives under his breath because his kid won’t fall asleep.
Two weeks ago I was that parent.
It wasn’t my first time being woken up, and staying up, with my son, but this particular time was more frustrating because my wife and I were on a trip for our five-year anniversary. To make things even worse was that we were staying in an old bed and breakfast, complete with squeaky floors and echoing rooms that probably weren’t approved by the National Baby Screaming Society. So not only were we not getting any sleep, I’m pretty sure the people across the hall from us weren’t getting any sleep either.
Up until that point here’s how our day had been going:
- Drive three hours to the mountains. Check.
- Grab some coffee and walk around an old bookstore. Check.
- Talk to a guy on the street who looked suspiciously like Billy Graham. Check. (If this guy wasn’t a Billy Graham impersonator for a living he missed his calling).
- See some hippies playing cool music on the street. Check.
- Grab some dinner and watch an episode of Mad Men on Netflix. Check.
I even got a parking ticket in downtown Asheville for an expired meter and the ticket turned out to be just a warning. That’s how good the day had been.
But back to the crying… it was about 3 a.m. and Levi had been awake for over two hours. We tried everything we could, but we were done. So I told my wife we had to leave. I hadn’t slept all night and she had only slept a couple of hours at that point.
On the way home, my wife and I played a game of “Would you rather?” to keep me awake. It’s where you present two scenarios, usually bad, and make the other person decide on which they would prefer. My favorite scenario of the night came from my wife:
Would you rather go around having the smell of vomit in your nose all of the time, or would you rather taste mushrooms every time you ate food?
I hate mushrooms. That’s why she said it, but I made the wise choice and picked the shrooms. We played the game almost the entire way back home, with my wife coming in and out of consciousness. It wasn’t the anniversary weekend we had planned. Not even close. We basically drove three hours from our home to have a cup of coffee and watch an episode of Mad Men. Yeah anniversary!
Sometimes our kids ruin our plans, and it’s frustrating and inconvenient. But our plans aren’t always so great anyways. My wife and I had fun playing that dumb game in the car, maybe more fun than we would have had if we kept to our schedule. My son ruined our plans, and then made something much more memorable in the process. The next time it happens, hopefully I’ll remember that the outcome might be even better than what I had originally planned. And even if it’s not, at least I don’t have to walk around smelling vomit all of the time.
Chris Neiger is a brand spankin’ new dad, writer and felt-tip pen collector extraordinaire (I’ll let you decide which one’s not true). He blogs about being a new dad, faith, and life in general at ChristopherNeiger.com.