Aside from the fact that nearly all of our attention is fixated on our little bundle of joy, Brian's and my communication is clearly in need of help. I find this so interesting since pre-kids, we were seriously the model of How to Communicate Effectively with Your Partner. No really, look it up in the dictionary; you'll find our pictures.
I'm not trying to brag here, but if you put a therapist and a litigator in the same room, you're going to get some stuff accomplished. I handled the emotional direction of the conversation and Brian would skillfully navigate through complex logical issues. One thing I was so proud of between the two of us is that we, given a certain amount of time, could pretty much resolve any issue. And resolve it well. Differences aside, I would say we were on the same page about 90% of the time. And when we weren't discussing something, we were able to pick up on the other person's idea fairly quickly and run with it.
(And, just in case you are not familiar with studies that look for factors that contribute to successful marriage (and the work of John Gottman), please know that it's really the degree of resolution between a couple that predicts future happiness, not the number of conflicts between the two. Does that make sense? So if a couple has one big blow-out a year but get no resolution to the problem [i.e. they both walk away still mad, resentful, and like the other person did not hear them], they are much more at risk for future unhappiness than the couple that argues weekly but argues with a purpose (i.e. finding a solution to the problem) and both parties walk away feeling as though the problem has been resolved.)
(Look, you just learned something today.)
Anyways, so as I was saying, I would be lying if I didn't say that communication has seriously changed in our relationship. But what I think is so funny is that it changed not in the way I expected, at all. I mean, yes, we don't nearly have time for a 3+ hour discussion on a problem like we did pre-Scotty. And yes, we are more tired and more cranky (um...me), but aside from working through differences, it's actually the content of our communication pattern that has changed, regardless of if we are in an argument or just talking through our day. It's Not that we are arguing or disagreeing more, it's that we just simply communicate on a whole different level now.
Let me give you an example.
The night we went to Joel Robuchon, there was a lull in the conversation. Just a normal dip. The waiter had just set our newest course in front of us. We had both taken a bite. And then, out of nowhere and without thinking, I blew a raspberry at Brian.
In the middle of Joel Robuchon.
I think we were both surprised.
And so was the waiter. And so was the snooty french couple sitting next to us, who made faces and turned in the other direction.
Unfazed, I just kind of shrugged and said, "Sorry...we have a baby at home."
And I'm not the only one guilty of regressing to baby behavior, either. That same night, as we were waiting for the valet, Brian was rubbing my back. Well, at least I thought he was. But then I realized he would make a circle...another circle...and then two hard pats.
After this happened twice, I finally looked up at him and asked, "Are you trying to burp me?" He shrugged sheepishly. "Sorry," he said. "Habit."
See? This is what I'm talking about. Hang out with a six-month old and you will revert back to baby behaviors. Or you get so used to caring for the baby that you can't control when your parenting skills will rear their ugly heads. Like, in the middle of Joel Robuchon when you blow a raspberry at your partner.
Also, reading too many board books does weird things to your head. Brian and I will be out together, sans baby, and one of us will point to a bird and say, "Bird. Bird. Say it with me...BIRD." Or "Truck." Or "Tiger."
Lion. Penguin. Fish. (clearly, we've been working on animals recently).
We'll be sitting on the touch and Brian will point to my foot. "Toe," he'll say slowly. "Good boy," I tell him. "You're such a good boy." He grins.
One of our favorite series of books is the 'That's Not My..." series. They are books that you can touch while reading, and it's like, "That's not my dinosaur! His teeth are too bumpy. [touch the bumpy teeth.] That's not my dinosaur! His flippers are too slippery [touch the slippery fins]," etc. You get the drift. Well, recently I found the "That's not my train!" book and Brian and I love reading it to Scotty. (And yes, all of the books end happily with the reader finding their train/dinosaur/monkey/what have you).
So the other morning, I was playing with Scott on the rug when I noticed Brian emptying in the dishwasher. Before I could even think, I blurted out, "That's not my husband! He's doing some chores!" Brian scowled but we both giggled a little.
Sadly, this change in communication is not limited to just between Brian and I, nor is it limited to verbal communication. A few weeks ago, a friend and I went out for drinks and dessert, sans children. When the waitress came to check on our table, she asked if we were done with our mountain of chocolate lava. I held up both hands and shook them. "All done," I told her, waving my hands. "All done."
So, it's clear that board books, burping, raspberries, and baby sign language definitely will bend one's brain. Take, for example, a recent phone call between Brian and I.
B: [picks up phone] Hello?
K: Hi sweetie. Bad news. We lost Spot.
B: What? Are you serious?
K: Yes. We can't find him anywhere. He didn't eat his supper.
B: Well, is he behind the door?
B: Is he inside the clock?
B: Is he in the piano?
B: Is he under the stairs?
B: Is he in the closet?
B: Is he under the bed?
B: Is he in the box?
K: No...Oh, wait! I think I see him. He's under the rug.
B: [waits patiently]
K: He's in the basket!
B: Good boy, Spot. Good boy.
Is it date night yet?
(and thank you to all of the authors I shameless quoted in this blog. They include: Eric Hill, Fiona Watt, and Rachel Wells. Please don't sue me.)