I told myself I wouldn’t write a post about lack of sleep. So cliché. Every parent who talked with us before or after her birth had at least one of these two pieces of advice, if not both :
Enjoy every moment because it goes by so fast
Get your sleep now (before) / Sleep when she sleeps (after)
I know every parent knows about the sleep issue. I suppose I could justify this post by saying that I’m informing our non-parent readers, but no amount of words really can prepare you for it. A few years ago we went to the Grand Canyon with a friend of ours. I can tell you about it, I can post a picture of it, but nothing can prepare you for the shear enormity and beauty of it until you actually go and see it yourself. Parenting, and lack of sleep are a Grand Canyon of life.
I resisted writing about sleep, until I realized that if I’m truly documenting the first days of her life, I would be remiss omitting it. Besides all the moments with her, sleep has had the most affect on everything in the last month.
I’ve come up with five levels of sleep deprivation; Kids on Sugar, Zombie, Falling Down, Smashing Pumpkins Fan and Grandpa.
Kids on Sugar – You ever see kids hopped up on sugar? They run around like crazy and when they crash, they crash hard. This is the highest level sleep deprivation. When the baby cries, you wake up really fast, and are moving around like crazy, making bottles, changing diapers, rocking her back to sleep, etc. Then, when you lie your head down, you’re out.
Zombie – Pretty self explanatory. You go through the motions. Daylight bothers you. Your face sags. You’re wearing the same clothes as yesterday and don’t care. You grunt.
Falling Down – Not literally. I’m actually referencing the movie Falling Down. You have the same temperament as Michael Douglas’s character. It makes perfect sense to start shooting the ceiling of McDonald’s with an Uzi because you arrived there five minutes after 10:30. You arrived late because you had to change a diaper and feed the baby, and now they are telling you that you can’t get breakfast. The sleep deprivation has turned off the rational part of your brain.
Smashing Pumpkins Fan – Or you could call this Gen Xer. You’re technically awake and alive, but your general response to everything is “meh” or “whatever”. This stage is super awesome when both parents are in it.
“What would you like to do for dinner?”
“I don’t know”
“How about you pick up something”
” Fine. What do you want?”
Grandpa – The last stage, the stage you’ll probably be in for years. You function normally in everything…except sitting in a recliner. A recliner will automatically make you nap.
I’ve passed through all these phases up to Smashing Pumpkin Fan, where I am currently. Once she begins to sleep through the night I’ll gently drift into Grandpa mode. Kids on Sugar and Falling Down are the worst. Zombie is OK because your brain isn’t working well enough to know that you’re tired.
In case you’re wondering, no I did not shoot up a McDonalds. No, my Falling Down irrational moments were on the road. I would become irate at those “inconsiderate” drivers who would not signal their lane changes with their turn signal. This was a crime worthy of months, if not years in jail.
I started to write a post on God’s plan when it came to the first month of baby. There are so many things during the birth and first few days that happen that point to divine intervention, but I always got stuck on the sleep. I mean, what sense does it make to have zombies taking care of infants those first few days? Why make everything in life harder by making parents sleepy? Perhaps that’s the point though. I like to do many things during a day, but those first couple of weeks of tiredness really squelched that. Instead, all my waking effort went into baby care. Perhaps it was God’s little reminder that I can’t be selfish and pamper myself. You have a bigger responsibility now. You will have only enough strength to do what is necessary.
Now that I’m past the worst (knock on wood), I can start adding things back into my life. Writing posts. Reading a book. Getting a haircut (this mop top is killing me!) I’m first going to start with the most important activity I can think of. I’m going to take a nap.