Very recently, it occurred to me that after Edith falls asleep at night, I could actually leave the room and continue to be up for awhile.
I don’t know why it took me so long to realize this. It just did not occur to me to separate myself from her by an entire room. When I first did it, I felt hesitant and tentative, cautious. I left my bedroom door wide open and I returned often to peer through the dark at her from the doorway, sometimes using my phone light to slowly slide over her until I could see that she was breathing, as if I were the narrator of The Tell-Tale Heart. I only stayed away for 30 minutes at most. But gradually, I got used to my new untethered freedom, and now I think nothing of fully leaving the bedroom for two hours at a stretch! It’s wild.
Unfortunately, this has enabled me to gradually get, as the kids say, back on my bullshit — my own particular brand of bullshit being drinking wine and watching TV until much later than I ought to be up. I don’t watch TV when Edith is awake, because they say you should not have screens or even background TV noise around babies until they are two years old, so watching it very quietly at night while she’s sleeping feels illicit, like the opposite of quietly watching something you shouldn’t be as a child while your parents are sleeping. Between it being the end of the day with all of my caretaking responsibilities done and no one actively sucking on me or grabbing at my hair, and the fact that my mom and I are currently house-hunting which is stressful, I really collapse into this newly reclaimed window of evening relaxation.
But I am increasingly shorting myself on much needed sleep when I only just got back the ability to sleep for long stretches at night. Every day I wake up and say, tonight I will get into bed when Edith goes to sleep, read for an hour, and then fall asleep myself. And every evening, I think “haha nope!” and repeat the previous evening’s mistakes.
So far, I have enjoyed Ted Lasso, Mythic Quest, the final season of Shrill, Hacks, and Mare of Easttown, and I am now watching The Righteous Gemstones, with the result that I sing “Misbehavin” to Edith all day.
That all stops tonight, though. I’m going to sleep.