Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Guest Post: The Living* Dead, by Father Earthly (aka Smellyhippy)

Night of The Living Dead
(* and the Living is touch and go)

Our daughter - Girl Earthly as she is known on these pages - is an insomniac. Our daughter wants to explore this amazing new world and isn't going to let a piffling thing called nighttime get in the way. Our daughter is teething. Our daughter suffers from indigestion, particularly after dark. Our daughter is struggling with separation anxiety. Our daughter is the most effective torture device since the Chinese Water device.

There's only one of those statements I can say with certainty is true. No matter what the genuine reasons for it, my wife and I, in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention, are being systematically reduced to quivering nervous wrecks. Yesterday I confessed to kidnapping Shergar.

Now everybody knows that children cause sleepness nights. After all, it's an all too common theme in all those Hollywood films, depicted in some comedic way as a perfectly attired couple appear at the door of their perfect nursery with perfectly dishevelled hair to show how tired they are. Believe me, it's not just the hair that doesn't get styled - I have to force myself to remember to put on a pair of trousers. I couldn't begin to tell you what style, cloth, or even colour they are. It's only by a process of elimination that I know they're mine - everybody else's would be too small. As to whether they go with the rest of my clothes, I couldn't say. I'm not even sure if I am wearing any other clothes. And I couldn't care less.

The list of things I couldn't care less about includes:

  • Whether I'm wearing clothes or not
  • Whether I've shaved this week or not
  • Whether I smell like a sewer or not
  • Being pleasant to people at work
  • Work
  • Eating healthily
  • Eating
These last two are huge for me. I've always had a healthy appetite, and I love to cook. Even now cooking is my escape. I'm an oxymoronical vegetarian Northener, so my dishes tend towards the hearty side - butternut squash lasagne, fagioli e veggie salsiccia, sweet potato, leek & brie pie with roast new potatoes - but these days I'm struggling to care whether I eat tofu & green vegetable green Thai curry with egg noodles and vegetable spring rolls or a Chicken & Mushroom Pot Noodle. God forbid my wife leaves me and the kids, for I'll go from being just "overweight" to "unable to fit through the bow doors". Importantly, the only thing that keeps me cooking good, wholesome(-ish) meals every night is a desire to see Mama Earthly get some nutrition into her. She's not only got the sleepness nights destroying her body, but Girl Earthly is a most voracious breastfeeder. While this has its benefits, it is also draining Mama Earthly of any vestiges of energy she may have left. And I see it as one of my responsibilities to refuel her every day, and that's not going to happen if I plonk down a hula hoop sandwich and a Mars bar.

Our household has been fractious recently, to say the least, with both of us unable to communicate to the best of our abilities through the fog of debilitating exhaustion. But, despite that, we're still both able to support each other in our basic needs. We are, in essence, each other's pacesetter, taking the strain when one is flagging, egging each other on through one more day (and night!). Sometimes this causes one of us to snap at the other, but our love for each other always wins through. That, and our shared camaraderie facing up to the common enemy!

There's more to it than that though. Helping somebody else, even somebody I'm contractually obligated to help (oh, I'll pay for that comment!), makes me feel good. Therefore, by cooking Mama Earthly a healthy meal I'm also helping myself. So I implore you; if you and your partner are suffering from a demonically light-sleeping offspring, find something, anything, that will assist your partner in their basic needs and stick to it religiously. They'll appreciate it, you'll appreciate it, and in turn baby will appreciate it. No matter how hard it is to find the energy and enthusiasm, you'll all benefit in the end. And if that doesn't convince you, remember this - Life may be excruciatingly painful now, but it will only be multiples worse if your partner slips into a coma brought on by exhaustion!

Thanks Father Earthly for ending on that backhanded positive note ;) And yes, you are rather wonderful and I would never cope without you.

You can find more of Father Earthly's musings (when he finds a spare moment or so) over on his blog. Do pop by and give him some love and encouragement :)

Plus, don't forget about our fabulous giveaway of gorgeous Green People goodies. Entry closes Friday so get in quick!

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