In the early days, sleep was a luxury. At least twice during the night, the baby would make his presence felt at a decibel level almost beyond human endurance. Laura would always wake first, but in fairness, Ben would eventually wake too.
“Shall I give him his bottle?” he’d ask.
“He’s finished it.”
“Shall I ‘burp’ him?”
“Done.” she’d reply. Ben would roll over and be asleep before she could say anything else, leaving her to deal with the less attractive task of nappy-changing.
At last, the night came when Jason didn’t wake up for the 2 am feed. At 6 am, Laura woke in a panic, realising that dawn was breaking and she’d slept for 7 hours. The crib was empty. She raced downstairs, her heart pounding.
She stood in the doorway of the living-room and surveyed the chaos, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Relief made her opt for laughter. Ben opened his eyes and shushed her, pointing at the baby, asleep on the floor beside him.
“Why is he wearing a tea-towel?” Laura whispered as they moved towards the kitchen.
“I couldn’t work the nappies,” Ben waved an arm at a pile of discarded disposable nappies. Some had parted company with their adhesive tapes; others had contrived to fall to pieces and leak their filling over the carpet. “I gave up and tied that around him.”
“What’s that?” Laura pointed at the slimy yellow stain on Ben’s pyjama top.
“Don’t ask,” he said. “A man’s got to have some dignity left.”
Half an hour later, with Jason wearing a nappy and back in his cot, Laura and Ben sat in bed drinking tea.
“I did my best, love”
“I know you did, and I’m very proud of you.”
“I’m glad it’s Saturday.”
“So am I.” Laura placed her empty cup on the bedside table and snuggled down to go back to sleep. Ben stroked her arm.
“I know what would really help you relax,” he said.
Needless to say, he didn’t.