Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ask Lydia and Kate! (#2) - The Marriage Refs

Dear Lydia and Kate,

I was hoping you could weigh in on a long-running argument we have in my household (ala The Marriage Ref).

We have a Great Dane (almost 2 years old), a Baby (almost 1 year old), and part-time twins, (6 years old). Baby wakes up between 4:30 and 5:30 am for a diaper change and a bottle. Usually around that time, the dog scratches on the back door b/c she needs to go out. Of course, I’m the one who usually gets up with Baby but once in a while, my BF can be woken from his slumber (an elbow to the spine usually does the trick) to trod into Baby’s room and change his diaper.

He’ll even feed him his bottle but only b/c I get up, go downstairs and fix it (which usually requires washing the bottle first b/c, let’s face it, why would any bottles be clean?) and many times he’ll even get Baby to go back to sleep but then I’ll have to put Baby back in his crib. So on those occasions when BF ‘takes care’ of Baby, when the dog scratches on the back door, who should then get up and let her out?



Dear A,

It's so easy.  You sleepy.  He get uppy.  The end and you're welcome.


If only it were that easy.  But you know what?  It is.  Your problem can be solved with one word: bacon.  There's also a second option and that is lovin'.  But frankly, at five o-clock in the morning - every morning - even Angelina Jolie is going to opt for the bacon.  So, that's what we're sticking with.  Also, if there are religious considerations, please substitute all future references to bacon with the words "deli-counter rare roast beef" or "Kosher breakfast meat of your choice". 

We love dogs.  We know dogs.  And between the two of us, we've had three husbands (but curiously, only two dogs) and been married twenty years - so we also know husbands.  And you know what both husbands and dogs adore and can't resist early in the morning?  B-A-C-O-N.

Here's what we suggest.  You're going to be getting up all the time anyway, right?  When you very quietly get up to take care of the baby - sprinkle a little bacon on your boyfriend's face while he's sleeping.  Let the Great Dane take care of the rest.  There is one potential problem - your dog could get punched in the head.  It's a little off-putting to be woken by a Great Dane vigorously licking one's face at 4:30 in the morning.  Your boyfriend may be just a teensy bit grouchy.  But probably just the first morning.  Or the first week.  But whatever. 

So, your boyfriend has to take care of the dog because the dog will basically insist on it.  And for the first week or two, reward him by making him breakfast every morning - bacon, eggs and toast/biscuits.  As a way of saying "Thanks honey for being so awesome and considerate and letting the dog out."  We understand that cooking a full breakfast in the morning is a huge pain in the arse but consider that: 1) you are actually cooking it in order to purloin a slice or two of the breakfast bacon for your late night nefarious plans and 2) you also get to eat the breakfast and yummmm.  Also, cooking it for breakfast masks the smell of bacon in the house (which men and dogs immedietely pick up on).  Otherwise, your boyfriend will be all like: "Why does the house smell like bacon?  Are we having bacon? I love bacon..."

Next step: after both the dog and the boyfriend have been trained to wake up together and the boyfriend and the dog have been rewarded with bacon, start using verbal cues to achieve the next desired behavior change: "Since you're up anyway, honey..." and "while you're up with the dog, would you mind...."

The key is to do this gradually.  Let him know how much you appreciate him.  Do nice things for him like bringing him a cold beer and saying "Good Boy".  Show him how less prone to being a Raging B you are when you don't have to get up every single morning to care for his baby and his dog.  After the first time he gets up and takes care of both the dog and the baby entirely on his own, you may have to reward him with both bacon AND lovin'.  Though after a good night's sleep you may actually have a little, bitty bit of your mojo back. 

Keep up the cold beer, bacon and periodic lovin' and you will be sleeping through the night in no time.  We call this operant conditioning and it works like a muthafunker.

You're welcome. Again.

xo, Kate and Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. I couldn't resist a comment on this post.

    We have six dogs. I would consider four of them my husband's, especially since he bought them and they are the ones that get up two to three times a night.

    One of the biggest "lies" in our marriage is that I sleep through them waking up and demanding to go out. (It would be like me being able to sleep through a freight train rumbling past our house.)

    This is my philosophy on the whole thing. Since they are "his" dogs and I was the one to get up with our four children when they were babies since I breastfeed them all, it's HIS turn to get up with the dogs.

  2. Oh, wise Kate and Lydia, please tell me where to send the t-boxes as thanks for your amazingly spot-on advice and a great laugh.

  3. Can you cook bacon in a crockpot...because you could get a crockpot with a timer...that way you wouldn't have to get up to get the bacon laid out for the plan! (Sounds like a good idea for an infomercial product...The Bacon Alarm). I wonder if they have Bacon Essential Oil out there somewhere.

  4. if we lived in WA State, we could add bacon beer to the above training schedule

  5. jb: bacon essential oil -- LOL

  6. You wouldn't even have to cook the bacon. A dog, and some men, will eat it raw.

  7. My solution to this problem was installing a dog door. (had the hubby do the instalation of course)
    I just can't figure out how one gets 6 week old twins on a part-time basis??? Sounds complicated.

  8. You could have your husband take care of the dog, your boyfriend take care of the baby...

  9. I also "pretend" I'm asleep while the dogs raise a racket to go out at night. I got up for years with babies, I'm tired. On that note I've also made it my policy never to be the first responder to kid barf. You know, mom! I just puked in my bed! My husband jumps up and runs. I slowly get up and gather clean up gear. He still hasn't figured out why he always gets barfed on and I don't...hmmmm.

  10. Awesome ladies! A, you could always keep a tightly sealed jar of bacon fat near the bed and just smear it on his face...sort of like essential oil of bacon only more greasy! As for the dog, DOG DOOR! Have one, love it!

  11. Excellent advice...I'd just use that Quickie Bacon that cooks in the microwave in like 15 seconds or something but still has that Oh so tantalizing aroma! WTG ladies on another very entertaining post!

  12. mmm. bacon.
    p.s. i also "pretend" sleep.
    works okay.

  13. First off, if he gets up with the baby, HE also makes the bottle. I think your best bet there is to make sure before bed you prepare one and put it in the fridge. You know that you will be tired, but not as tired at you are at 4:30, plus it will be easier for the BF to give the bottle to the baby.
    Second, if he is already up, HE gets the dog!!!
    Sheesh, man are so dense.

  14. Pet doors don't work so well for cats. They sometimes bring "presents" back through. Ick!

  15. Can you just use your finger to dot/smear bacon grease on the hubby? Gently, oh so gently. Cuz he might notice bacon crumbling and raining down...and if that is not good, can you use the ready-made bacon bits meant for caesar salad?




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