During the newborn stage, new parents resort to all manner of fun and games to keep themselves amused during this difficult time. One of our personal favorites is called Midnight Chicken, also known as Who Will Blink First? It goes something like this: It’s 3:00 a.m. The baby is awake (again) and crying (again). You are both awake. You both hear her. But nobody moves. Women are tacitly calling in their chit (Surely he knows it’s his turn this time?), but men, the masters of this game, simply play dead (maybe they throw in a little snoring). They can’t hear the crying because they are sound asleep. Who will cave in and get up first? Needless to say, it’s usually Mom.
There’s also a higher level of play called Advanced Midnight Chicken: You nudge your spouse when the baby would cry and say, ‘Hey, you’re up. I got her last time.’ But there really wasn’t a last time. The baby had been asleep all along, but the sucker doesn’t know it. So don’t get too comfortable there in the bed, Daddy-O.
How do you put an end to the midnight shenanigans? It’s entirely straightforward: you have to have a system. Dad does all feeds up till midnight, Mom (goes to bed early and) gets everything after. Or whatever suits your sleeping schedule. If Mom is a night owl, Dad can catch the early A.M. shift. Don’t duke it out, Divide and Conquer.
*Illustration by Larry Martin