The Pirate and I tend to have the same fight whenever we get too tired. It always starts out that the Pirate infringes somehow on my space. And I react badly and it becomes a giant, tear-filled fight that lasts for a long time, regardless of the fact that both of us recognize that we're tired.
I need some sort of gauge that shows how tired I am and how engaged in a given process I am. It seems like the more tired I am, the more I retreat into myself. The Pirate is just the opposite. He needs a gauge to show how in need of contact he is. The more tired he is, the more he needs physical contact and reassurance. This is a volatile combination, and one we're still trying hard to work out.
Part of my dilemma is my ingrained belief that his need for contact, for reassurance is more "normal" than my need for solitude and isolation. Part of it is that I always tend to feel that mere physical presence isn't enough. I feel that if someone wants to touch me, I have to be interacting with them in some way.
I guess I need to take a lesson from my children. They are not shy about coming to me and saying "Mommy, I need snuggles." And they crawl into my lap and don't require that I put down my book or stop watching my movie. They just want to be touching mommy, and that's okay - we have that worked out.
We'll figure it all out someday. We have time.