March 7, 2011

One Midnight Sandwich=Spiral of Disaster

It’s 2330. Kids and wife are down for the night. You’re working in a separate room--stomach grumbles. Despite the mantra of “no snacking after 2000” you devise your plan.
Quietly navigating the hallway, avoiding the floorboards that project loud creaks and give away your skulking, you slowly approach the kitchen. So far, so good.

Once in the kitchen, you carefully pry open the refrigerator door in the dark. This loyal appliance only utters a quiet, authoritative thwup sound as the door's seal opens. In slow motion, you take out the ham, margarine, cheese, placing them with care on the cutting board next to the sink.

You stop. It’s dark, quiet. No movement, no noise except the loud thrushing of your own heart as you listen intently for any sounds coming from the nearby bedroom that contains your sleeping family. Nothing, nary a peep. Almost there—Snackville ahead.

Deliberately, you pull out of the loaf of bread, opening the plastic bag to draw out a slice, when the loud crackling sound of the cellophane jars you into acute hyper-vigilance. You immediately cease all motion, even breathing.

Seconds pass. Maybe, could be OK…
Then a low sob of indignation comes from the bedroom:
Wa? waaaaaaaaaaa….

You hear the rustle of blankets when your diligent wife rolls over and utters soothing sounds in an effort to tamp out this spreading brush fire of consciousness. Amid this distraction, you abandon all the sandwich fixings, shut the fridge, and scuttle back down the hall. You sit, hoping, praying the Little One will forgive this nighttime transgression.

The baby’s retort: WwwwaaaaaAAAAAH!

Oh s--t. No no no no no no! But the cries grow louder, gaining force as a midnight crying tsunami.

Ten minutes later, your ashen-faced, groggy – yet visibly angry – spouse tramps down the hall and deposits your red-faced and non-soothed infant in your lap.

“You did it. You deal with it,” she rightfully spits out at you, and you manfully scoop the proffered child into your arms.

“Not a problem,” you say, confidently. “I’ll be back shortly with the sleeping tot.”

An exhausting 90 minutes later, you recall the howling, the lull of the dwindling whimpers, then the din of resurgent, amplified screaming, followed by the second bottle of the milk at 0100 which finally gets your ten-month-old back to sleep.

No sandwich ever created is worth this. It’s not quite Dante’s nine circles of hell, but you have learned your lesson: snacking after 2000 is bad for your (mental) health.

- Fin -

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