I am a bellydancer, and my spy novel writing partner, Holmes, is a man with experience in intelligence and covert operations. Together, we are The Romance Doctors. As representatives of romantic archetypes, we are Romance Authorities and have the right to dispense Valentine’s Day whenever, wherever, and to whomever we see fit. Last week, we announced an upcoming Valentine’s Day to be held on Labor Day, which will now be called Labor of Love Day. We invited you to send us your questions so that we might help you enjoy the romance of the season. Last week, we solved your hussy conundrums. This week, we take a look at nookie time, snoring, and really close family weddings.
image from gardenerisgone.com
Jenny Hansen asks, “What are the most successful ways to get in nookie time when you have a child under 4? Help!”
My hubby and I recently celebrated 17 years of marital bliss. We attribute 15 of those years – the years since we’ve had children – to an arcane practice that is deeply rooted our Southern/Midwestern blood. It is a practice that is often considered abusive these days, particularly by children, but I will hold hard and fast to my belief that it makes all the difference for a marriage. And if Mommy and Daddy aren’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
That arcane, abusive practice is something we call “bedtime.” From the time our children were ten months old, bedtime was 8 p.m. If the kids weren’t tired, so what? They could be awake in their beds. It certainly didn’t hurt them to have a bit of down time. Eventually, they’d get bored and go to sleep.
The rule was that they went down at 8 and, except for bathroom runs, stayed in their rooms until 6 a.m. Over time, that slipped back to 8:30 p.m., and now, in their teens, they voluntarily go to bed around 10 during the week because they’re tired. But now that they’re teens, we can just go in our room and lock our door. Trust me. They know they don’t want to know.
I’m guessing you don’t already have that 8 p.m. bedtime so it could take a bit of effort at first. I recommend that, at 7:45 p.m. sharp, you give a bath, read a book, sing a song, or whatever it is you do that signals it’s time to sleep. Then put him or her to bed and walk out. No one gets to follow. And leave a sippy cup of water in the room so they have no excuse to come out for a drink. If screaming ensues, and you know he/she is physically unharmed, put in your earplugs and ride it out. Fits are no fun without an audience.
Remember, sleep is a habit, and with kids, twice of anything is a habit. Become unapologetic bedtime fascists, as is your parental right, and I bet that you’ll have some nice, quiet nookie time every evening within a week or two. I honestly don’t think my hubby and I could have survived without it.
image from life123.com
Your other option is that you could invite Holmes and his wife to come babysit for you while you rent a hotel room.
Please let me know how it goes.
Sorry Jenny, my wife and I no longer have young children so we are a bit busy attending to something more important than your celibacy at the moment, and I haven’t time to answer you. . . . Hahahahaha. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Ok. My wife went shopping so I can answer you before she gets home to this quiet house full of comfortable furniture.
If you join an Eskimo tribe you can just do whatever you do without regard to who is in the igloo with you two. Apparently, that works all right in Eskimo culture.
On the serious side, psychologists say that it is best to let children know at a young age that Mom and Dad need to spend time alone with the bedroom door locked. When the toddler wants to know why, you explain that moms and dads need to have time outs together to help them behave better and help them be better moms and dads. They can understand mom and dad needing a hug because they need hugs as well. Then, you need to both agree on priorities and not waste time.
One trick that my wife and I used was to never let the kids use a TV except when we needed first aid. We would then pop in a Magic School Bus video or something similar. Since it was not available to them all day long, they tried not to waste their opportunity by engaging mom or dad. Dumbo and that crazy Ms. Frizzle will forever be my heroes.
Keep him or her busy and active to suit your schedules. To the degree that it is practical, don’t encourage naps except at times when you two can use their naptime meaningfully. Disconnect the phone. You are there, he is there, and the baby is safely asleep. Everyone else can get in line and might or might not get a call back. All friends and family must understand that unannounced visits are forbidden. That reminds me, I still haven’t reconnected our doorbell. I probably should. . . . Nah, I’ll leave it like it is.
My wife and I were very lucky in that my father was available, and his priority in life was playing with his grandchildren. If you have someone trustworthy who wants to be with the baby, use the time wisely. The seemingly nice lady next door, that family that you met at church last month, or the aunt with three adult children in rehab are not candidates for being alone with your children.
If you have a trustworthy sibling with children nearby, do kid swap times. You and hubby get all the kids for a play session for a few hours then they get all the kids for a few hours.
Have Piper and her husband visit and take the kids out all day.
I hope that helps. If not, enjoy that kid, because you won’t be having another one of him or her.
Susie Lindau asks, “What do you do when you have been happily married for 24 years and your husband begins to snore so loud that the dogs start barking at the neighbor’s house?”
That’s a tough one, Susie. Not to be insensitive, but it was tough to quit laughing long enough to answer your question. I’m guessing the crux of the problem is that all of this ruckus is keeping you awake. My only question is, are the dogs keeping you awake, or is your husband?
If the dogs are keeping you awake, talk to your neighbors and politely ask them to keep the dogs inside at night. If they refuse, call the police. Don’t worry that it’s your husband’s raucous concerto that gets them going in the first place. Barking dogs are a police matter. Snoring is not. So your neighbors can’t call the police on your husband in return. At least not for that.
image from dogtopics.com
If it’s your husband keeping you awake, I find a sharp jab to the ribs with an elbow often prompts my husband to roll over, and usually the snoring stops. Also, some Breathe Right strips might help him out at night. They have worked for other people I know.
You know, from your description of loud snoring and barking dogs, I’m getting the impression that you and I might be neighbors. . . . Hmmm. . . . Please email me and lets sort this out before you call the police on those dogs.
Wait until the neighbors are asleep then use a crossbow on the dogs. If you’re squeamish about crossbows, just wake him up and politely demand sex every time he snores. He might not quit snoring, but it will bother you a lot less.
Have your husband checked by a doctor. He may have sleep apnea or other issues. He may not be getting enough oxygen at night. Often times the problem can be cured. The sooner he talks to his doctor about it the better.
And David Walker had a question for us that comes up surprisingly often in the Ozarks, and in several oil-laden desert countries. “A friend from Arkansas wants to know which side of the aisle the grandparents should sit on when he and his cousin get married.”
I have the perfect solution for that delicate issue. They should simply get married at the local Waffle House.
image from Waffle House Wedding
Well David, if your pal needs outside help over something that trivial, he’s probably not ready for marriage. Even cousins need a certain amount of maturity to make a relationship last. Tell him to sample a few more cousins before he inks the deal. Maybe he’ll work up the nerve to date a few people that don’t have his grandparents.
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We sincerely appreciate all of your questions, and we will continue answering them until we have spread all of the requested romantic cheer. Keep in mind that Labor of Love day is this coming Monday. Take a moment to show your loved ones you care with a Labor of Love, because, after all, love is something that we do.
What advice do you have for Jenny, Susie, and David? What are your questions for The Romance Doctors?
Piper Bayard–The Pale Writer of the Apocalypse
Holmes–Student of Sex, C4, and Hollow Points
image from Waffle House Wedding