Last night, just as I was falling asleep, unconfirmed reports came from the kids’ room that the dog had peed all over Max’s bed. A reconnaissance scout was sent to the hot zone to investigate, and promptly brought word that the rumor was, in fact, true. The dog had peed with extreme prejudice. My five-year-old’s blanket, sheet, and mattress were all drenched in a smell so foul I wanted to take it straight out to the alley and leave it there. (The blanket, the sheet, the mattress, and the dog.) I grumbled at the dog, shooed her from his bed, and that was that.
“Where are you going?” Sarah asked.
What do you mean? Back to bed.
“You’re going to let your son sleep all night in dog piss?” Sarah asked.
I looked over at Max, snoring heartily in his Jango Fett costume, oblivious to the ocean of urine at the other end of his bed.
Sarah just looked at me.
Come on. The kid’s asleep. Throw a towel over the spot and let’s go back to bed.
Two minutes later, I was holding Max, begging him not to wake up, never for a second wondering how he’d managed to fall asleep in the 100 percent polyester jumpsuit of a Mandalorian bounty hunter, while Sarah changed the sheets under him. The dog, embarrassed and depressed by the whole scene, absconded to her hairy little mat in the dining room.
A few hours later—around 4 a.m.—Sarah woke to find Max, naked as a bee, standing at her side of the bed and holding his Jango Fett costume.
He had gotten up to go pee in the middle of the night, no doubt influenced by the Lower Wacker Drive stank at the other end of the bed, and needed help getting his costume back on. She helped him out, and the two of them said good night. None of this registered with me at the other end of the bed. I was so out I don’t remember it happening, and had to be told about it this morning at breakfast.
Why do I feel the need to mention these anecdotes, rather than, say, the pregnancy-updatey stuff like the fact that we’re entering the third trimester and the fetus is now 2 pounds and 14 inches long, i.e., large enough that my wife’s bulbous mid-section knocked over a bowl of Crispix without her even realizing it? Because these nocturnal misadventures are far more relevant to my future. After seven years of sacrificing sleep for the sake of the little ones—and, more recently, further altering my sleep schedule to accommodate my canine’s fickle intestinal urges—I am finished.
I need sleep. But I am about to extend the sleepless phase of my life, and in five years, even if Hannah and Max are staying in their beds through the night, and the World’s Dumbest Dog figures out how to hold it in until morning, whoever it is in my wife’s belly will be keeping us up—most likely wearing that Jango Fett costume.
Photograph: Courtesy of Jeff Ruby