Someone recently mentioned how their baby has slept through the night since they were born and my immediate reaction was not “oh, how lucky”, or “what a fantastic situation for them, I’m so happy for my friend!” but rather, BULLSHIT. BULL. SHIT. LIARRRRRRR. You lying liarton, with the LIES! Admit that you get up fifteen times a night and you’re running on fumes and No-Doz, ADMIT IT NOW BEFORE I CAMP OUTSIDE YOUR HOME AT 3 AM WITH CAMERA AT THE READY.

If I take a moment to physically slap the crazy out of my head, I know she’s not lying, because why would she? It’s just that my recent experience has been so drastically different it’s hard for me to wrap my brain around an alternate reality. Even though Riley, bless his little suspicious soul, slept beautifully through the night starting at eight weeks or so—giving me the horrible misconception that I had somehow engineered that behavior and could repeat it with a second child, ha ha ha ha HAAAAAAA—my memories of those blissfully interruption-free nights have long been erased by a certain toddler I will refer to as Shmylan, the one that required a soul-sucking amount of sleep training to stop blatting in hourly intervals starting at midnight, who at 17 months of age is still prone to waking up the entire household because he has, for instance, managed to wedge the top of his head too firmly against the crib wall and would very much like someone to help him get repositioned, thanks.

It seems like there were many months when some protective chemical was being produced in my body and my first thought upon hearing Dylan cry was not, in fact, I WILL BLUDGEON HIM WITH A SALAD SPOON, but that has definitely changed now. I mean, okay, I don’t really want to bludgeon my child with a salad spoon (maybe a soup ladle?), but now instead of just getting out of bed to Deal With It, those occasional wee-hour wakeup calls suck the life right out of my body. Like those ghosty motherfuckers in that one Harry Potter movie. Or being exposed to Spencer Pratt.

(That’s the problem.)

(Who got that? Aw yeah, Joel McHale in the HIZZOUSE.)

Thankfully, he’s sleeping through most nights now (and it only took us a year and a half! HA HA HA OH MY GOD), but if it wasn’t abundantly clear to me that I am All Done having children, the sleep thing drives the point home like an adrenaline syringe forcefully plunged through the breastbone. Every night we have to get up and tend to Sir Thigh Roll, I feel just a tiny bit less capable of dealing with it than the time before. If most activities have the rewarding outcome of increasing your skills the more they are repeated, this, for me, is the polar opposite. A year ago I could get up at 3 AM and feed the baby while performing a Viennese waltz, maybe using the other hand to solve a Rubik’s Cube, now it’s all I can do just to heave my carcass out from underneath the blanket.

For the last two nights, the creature waking me up at 1, 2, and 3:26 AM hasn’t been the toddler, or even the blessedly dependable preschooler—instead, it’s Dog. Dog has some kind of Lingering Digestive Issue and has taken to whimpering frantically at the back door in varying intervals throughout the night. We can’t leave her outside, because she has circus peanuts where her brains should be and will bark constantly at invisible squirrels all night, so our only recourse is to get up, let her out, wait for her to do her business, then let her back in, all the while staring blearily out at the porch-lit patio surface, where on Saturday night I saw a spider the size of a fucking BUICK.

Early Sunday morning I had let the dog out, let the dog in, patted Dylan back to sleep, then got out of bed again to let the yowling cat inside, and as I crawled back into bed, roughly jostling JB in the process (because I don’t like to suffer alone), I thought, this never really ends, does it? There will always be midnight barfings or fevers, and pets with various demands, and someday I’ll be lying there staring at the ceiling while my ears strain for the sound of my drunken teenager’s return. Why didn’t I appreciate sleep when it was mine, all mine? If I could give one piece of advice to young folks today, as I wave my cane around in the air, it’s this: GET MORE SLEEP, because one day, it will be FUCKED FOREVER.

Unless, of course, your baby sleeps through the night from birth.

Comments

105 Responses to “Advice for young people”

  1. mojavi at simple things on July 28th, 2009 9:17 pm

    ohh yeah that was why//

  2. taren on August 9th, 2009 3:15 am

    a joel mchale reference… you just became my new favorite person. you see, most people blab on and on about their babies and i just can’t read it no matter how much i try, because i don’t care. however, i would read about your babies all the day long.

    that’s a compliment. a really weird compliment.

  3. Operation Pink Herring on August 13th, 2009 8:51 am

    As a chronic insomniac, let me just say AMEN. You people who can sleep, you have no idea how lucky you are. Assholes.

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