Lesson 85: Listen to your wife

My husband has a hard time remembering things. Or maybe he has a hard time listening. Perhaps it’s a combination of the two, I don’t know. I’ve been told it’s a fairly common husband trait but I’ve nothing to compare him to–he’s the only husband I’ve ever had. I hope he’s the only husband I will ever have, but there’s a chance that he may be wife-shopping after he reads this.

To backtrack a little, we have two recent additions to our family. On April 1, our twin boys joined our family. They’re precious and lovely–and they eat like little monsters. At almost 5-months-old, they’re still nursing every 2-3 hours each. I also pump some and keep a small supply in case I want to leave them with their daddy or a sitter. So that means, more times than not, I either have a baby or a pump attached to my boobs. If you add the hours to date, I’ve nursed them for about 16 days (hi friends! That’s why you rarely see me!). That doesn’t even include the time I’ve spent pumping. My milk, as any mom who’s ever nursed or tried to nurse knows, is precious to me.

Along with constant feedings comes a lack of sleep. I’m so tired all the time, and I’ve taken to drinking several cups of coffee a day. In an effort to cut back on my sugar intake, I’ve starting mixing regular coffee creamer with unsweetened almond milk. If you add a bit of vanilla, pumpkin, or coconut extract to it, it’s very good! I convinced my husband to try it and now he drinks it too. If you open our fridge, it’s always sitting on the top shelf. He never knows what flavor I’m going to surprise him with, but he always knows where it is: I keep it in a glass bottle on the top shelf of the fridge.

Have I mentioned what a wonderful daddy my sweet husband is? He’s not like those fathers you hear about who don’t want to play with their kids or take on any of the responsibilities. He’s very hands-on and involved. In addition, once a week when he comes home from work, he takes over with all three children while I leave the house for a few hours by myself. It’s usually just to go to the grocery store, but it’s time away from spit-up and crying and being touched. I need that time alone to recharge and he understands that. So it’s without complaint each week on my “night off” that he comes home from work and takes over. Because I pump some, there’s always a big bottle of milk in the refrigerator for him to make bottles for the boys. I don’t have to give him instructions; he knows where the milk is: on the bottom shelf of the fridge.

Without fail, this is how our refrigerator is organized. I’ve told my dear husband many, many times, “Dear husband, the coffee creamer is on the top shelf. The breastmilk is on the bottom shelf. I will always, always keep these bottles separate this way. Please. Do not feed coffee creamer to the babies.”

And on other occasions, “Dear husband, do you remember that the coffee creamer is on the top shelf? This bottle right here is the creamer. Please. Do not feed creamer to the babies.”

And other times, “Dear husband, this bottle on the bottom shelf is breastmilk. This is for the babies. The bottle on the top shelf is the coffee creamer. Please. Do not feed creamer to the babies.”

In fairness, I’ve never clarified to him that he should never pour breastmilk into his coffee. Regardless, I’ve been so clear about this. So very, very clear. For instance, I bet you, a person who does not live in our house, could tell me right now where I keep our coffee creamer. Right?

But my husband, he has a hard time remembering things. Or listening…probably both. Hands down, it’s what causes the most arguments in our marriage: he doesn’t listen to me, and I go nuts. I don’t know how to fix this problem, it’s something we’ve struggled with for years. But what I do know is, this morning, we were out of coffee creamer. And when I opened the refrigerator and realized this, I yelled from the kitchen to the other room where my husband was, “Aww man! We’re out of creamer!” To which he replied, “no we’re not. It’s on the bottom shelf…”

He trails off a bit as he walks into the kitchen and sees me holding the glass bottle in my hand. He says to me, “that is coffee creamer, right?” I looked at the bottle, I looked at him. In my mind I’m thinking, “That asshole wasted my breastmilk! Doesn’t he know how hard I work for this stuff? My God, why doesn’t he ever listen to me?!” As I pictured him dumping my precious milk into his stupid coffee, I could feel the anger rising. But in that instant, I chose to avoid an argument. After all, why cry over spilled milk? The damage was already done.

So I looked at him sweetly and said, “Yup. Sure is.” And then I kissed him goodbye and sent him off to work.

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