Most people know when you decide to dive into the parenthood pool, one of the biggest sacrifices you’re going to make is sleep. You just have to hint to the fact that you have a new baby at home and someone is always Johnny-on-the-spot with some sort of smart-ass sleep deprivation remark. “Ya gettin’ any Z’s, Pops?” The answer is yes. I am getting sleep. But it’s in fragments. Of broken, one-eye-open sleep. Those wonderful trysts into that deep R.E.M. dream world are few and far between these days. But the good news is you just do it and rarely do you have time to stop and think about it. I equate it to being on vacation or working on a film set. Yes, those are extremely dissimilar experiences from building tiny humans, but they both usually involve getting very little sleep and there’s always this perpetual adrenalin that just mysteriously keeps you going.
How bad can a single night get? Here’s a timeline from a 4-hour span that took place less than a week ago. It was just far too outlandish not to share. Enjoy…
2:45AM: Sam starts fidgeting. He’s been struggling with some constipation so his nights have been somewhat restless.
3:15AM: We bring Sam into bed with us.
4:00AM: That plan isn’t going so well. I make a bottle and try rocking him in the glider.
4:25AM: Sam is almost asleep and in walks Ben – he has a fever.
4:40AM: Mom gives Ben some Advil and takes him back to his room.
4:45AM: I continue to rock a very uncomfortable Sam.
5:10AM: Mom finally gets Ben to sleep with an extended back rub and Sam is back in his crib. YES! Time for rest!!!
Not so fast…
5:40AM: Sam is up again. But this time it’s more than likely for good. Ugh. There’s one thing when your baby wakes up and you check the time and think, “Okay…I can get him down and get another 45 minutes in if I’m lucky. LET’S DO THIS!” Then there’s those other times when you think, “Oh, fuck me, this is it isn’t it?”
And then you cry.
5:50AM: Sam decides he’s finished with this constipation crap and the painful straining commences. Kim and I leap into amateur EMT mode. Lights on. Wipes and fresh diapers at the ready. It’s almost 6AM and we’ve been up since 3 — LET’S GET SOME POOP OUT! #duh
6:00AM: While pushing, Sam pees all over the bed. The bed is stripped. Yep, we’re definitely not getting more sleep.
6:10AM: Finally, the turtle’s head pokes out and we’re off to the races. It’s at this moment, when my wife says to me, “We may need to use our fingers.” “WHAT?” “Here, I’ll show you.” “Wait, whoa-whoa-WHOA…ARE YOU SERIOUS?” Sure enough, we used our fingers. Well…Kim used her fingers and I sat there agape at the splendor.
By the way, neither of us ever envisioned the above on our wedding day.
6:15AM: Ben walks into our bedroom and up to the side of the bed, right where the his little brother’s ass surgery is taking place. “I don’t feel good.”, he whines. We both look at him and now with the assistance of electric lighting, can see that he has a bad case of pink eye.
“Wait, what are you guys doing to Sam?”
6:16AM: We give up.
When we spoke to the doctor on the phone a couple hours later and described our morning’s events (with less details obviously), she responded, “Ahhh, just living the dream.”
Then I drove to her office and strangled her.
Yes, when you’re a new parent, kiss quality sleep goodbye. What seems to have the makings of a good night’s slumber can downward spiral very quickly. But that’s just part of the mission. Teaching someone how to live is not supposed to be easy.
On the upside, the mornings make it very difficult to complain.
Now, where did I put my coffee?