Monday, September 10, 2012

Taking a day off from parenting


Well, not a whole day off. And I'm still parenting. A little bit. I'm working myself up to taking her to the park for a few hours. But until we leave around 10:30 or so, I'm not gonna be winning any daddy awards.

At 2:00 a.m. I asked her why she was awake, and she said, "I dunno." I pressed her, and she offered, "One cow coming in? Take my play house away?" It's the only reason she ever gives now for waking up suddenly. Damn scapegoat cows.

How many times of being woken up in the night does it take for you to give up on the next day? How many hours of lost sleep does it take before you lose your will to "make today the first day of the rest of your life!" I like to think I'm a pretty good dad . . . but sleep-deprived parenting does not put me at my best.

Also, I'm kind of a wuss, because my sicky wife is sleep deprived almost every single day of her life. She's a hero, I tell you. A real American hero.

22 comments:

  1. I can barely function if I get a total of 6 hours of broken sleep. I can summon the willpower to be polite on 7 hours of interrupted sleep, but I am only nice on 8-9 hours. I'm really not great at this whole parenting on no sleep thing

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    1. When she was a newborn, I could just sort of stumble around with her on my shoulder, jiggling her, singing mindlessly, even watch TV every once in a while. But now she doesn't just want to be held, rocked, cuddled, fed. She wants to be ENTERTAINED. THAT is the hardest part, I think. Putting on a show when you just need something that takes no mental energy.

      And does it boggle your mind that Lindsay can go weeks without getting more than 5-6 hours on average, and some nights close to nothing? I'm glad she's still with us, but I don't know how she does it.

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    2. Wow, when you put it that way, my life sounds terrible.

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    3. I have all the sympathy in the world for someone who sleeps poorly through mostly no fault of their own. Which leaves all the ire for people who deliberately (if thoughtlessly) sabotage their own sleep.

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    4. That's my husband. He quite often sits up late playing games on his iPad or watching crap movies before stumbling to bed at 2am. Then he gets grumpy when the kids are awake four hours later. Even though I've been up in the night two or three times in the meantime. That said he's had to start getting up at night too, recently, as they have synchronised their wakings and I can't be in two rooms at once!

      Both times, when I was breastfeeding, his job at nighttime was nappy changing. If I'd had a really bad night I'd muse, loudly, "I wonder if you need a clean NAPPY?" just to watch him leap out of bed. Cruel, but funny. Except he wouldn't even remember it in the morning - he could change nappies in his sleep!

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    5. writer mummy, you clearly have a cruel streak. warranted, though, it sounds like.

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  2. After 25 months of sleep deprivation, I am almost inured. I sleep in blocks of 3 hours. But I still get Daddy to take Atilla when I am not inured. Daddy is great.

    In other news, Atilla and I learned some female monkeys are delibrately promiscuous so there are two caring daddys to look after each twin when the mum has had enough.

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    1. If "almost inured" is a pseudonym for "nearly dead," then I totally get you. I think some people can really push themselves through lack of sleep - my wife is one of these. She's also one who stays safe while driving tired. I, on the other hand, know that when I'm tired, I am no longer alert, or safe. I don't push through lack of sleep so well. Also, I get really grumpy. Which is why it's so ironic that I'm the one to do all nights and get up every morning with Addison. Must be God's funny way of correcting my frailties.

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  3. This post is my life. As neither of my kids is a great sleeper and both seem to manage to have energy for a 14 hour day (6am to 8pm) even after a broken night, the TV is my other parent. They regularly watch two hours of TV in the morning. Thankfully their Dad and I are both pretty brainy, so hopefully they can afford to lose a few grey cells. I remember reading a rant over on Crappy Pictures (in the comments I might add) saying parents were evil for putting their kids in front of the TV and turning them stupid. I guessed it was written by someone who hadn't had to function on an average of 4-6 hours' broken sleep for 3 or 4 years.... Bring on school, apparently they sleep then.

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    1. I hear you. We're really trying to get her to read as early as possible, though, so that in a couple years she'll be able to veg out with a book instead of the TV. In the meantime, we try to limit TV, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

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    2. I think in our heads we try to limit her TV, but in practice we're more like, "Oh, you've only watched "Toy Story" twice this week? One more time couldn't hurt!"

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    3. Well, in MY head, wifey, it's more like, "I didn't turn the TV on for her once yesterday. So today I need a serious break. Here's a movie, kid."

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  4. just found your blog- love your style and I adore the comic at the top of this post.

    You sound like a great dad and husband to me, for what it's worth!

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    1. Management, I am the BEST dad and husband. Except for when I'm not. Like when I write posts like this. But thanks for the kind words!

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  5. I look forward to sleeping well again. I also look forward to when my two become teenagers and think that they will get to sleep in late. Ha! Early wake up calls, here come Mommy and Daddy. I figure I can torture them a little before they go off and get married and have their own babies. I might even help them out so they can sleep. My kids are very lucky to have a mom like me.

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    1. Oh, definitely. I'm going to be pranking my kids until I'm too old to consume anything by Ensure.

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  6. I've gone through the same conundrum as your cartoon at least three or four times per day, er week, alright, maybe it's closer to a few times a month. Seriously, sometimes you need a break as a parent. Isn't that why Dora was invented in the first place?

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    1. Dora was invented to ask silly questions and then stare out the screen at you with a Children of the Corn look in her eyes. Creepy.

      I always think of a big round of TV watching as a way for me prep for a big dry spell. It helps me to steel myself and plow through the next couple days with playgrounds and the pet store and shopping trips oh my.

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  7. You are funny and honest. No one who is a parent can say it's easy. Keep going. Rewards may be small today, but they get bigger and better. You just have to realize it after they come. I can say this from "5 kids" experience. It's all worth it. Keep these post coming. :-))

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  8. Neal - I'm loving both of your blogs!

    My daughter has a similar scheme going in the middle of the night. Her response is usually, "I miss my friends!" and if she just saw them, "I miss my other friends." I thought I would give anything for her to give a different damn answer until the other day we read to her before bed, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," and she woke up saying, "I don't want a really, really, really big pancake and donut to come into my house!" I just about lost my will to live at that point.

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    1. Yeah, it's creepy and surreal the kinds of things that pop into their heads when they're in that panicked and woozy just-woke-up moment.

      Also, what kind of crazy is she? Of course I want a really big Donut to come into my house!

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