I’ve been lying to my husband.
Recently, our 8-month-old’s been waking up every night around midnight. Maybe she’s teething, or sick, or having bad dreams about her little lamby. Who knows. But one of us has to get up, check if she has a fever, administer the nasty-ass tylenol, and get her back to sleep.
I’ve been the willing volunteer. “I don’t mind,” I say in a half-asleep haze. But by 6 a.m., when little Miss Sunshine is up again, it’s apparent I did mind. I’m grumpy, tired and resentful that my other half slept so soundly when I not only woke up, but only fell back to sleep around 3 am.
Being transparent and eager to catalog my frustrations, I explained to my husband what was up. My stated preference, or what I said, was that I didn’t mind getting up. My “revealed preference”, or what I meant, was that I did mind getting up.
So far, so good. He said he would be happy to get up. And that night he did.
But here’s the rub: I woke up anyways. And when he came back to bed at 12:02, I asked her whether Miss Tess was hot, if she went back down okay, and whether we shouldn’t add another blanket. He glared at me and went back to sleep.
Turns out my revealed preference was my stated preference after all. I wanted to be the one to get up so I could know she was okay. And then I wanted to sleep until noon. Which isn’t really about preferences, but about fantasy.