They invade in the middle of the night, immediately getting past all of your defenses. But they’re not sneaky cat burglars, there to steal your jewels and cash before slipping soundlessly into the night. No, these thieves steal your sleep, and they do it as loudly as possible.
I’m, of course, talking about your babies.
I’ve noticed that when my little one wakes me in the middle of the night and refuses to go back to sleep, I experience a string of emotions — call them stages, if you will –during my long, fruitless battle against sleep deprivation. I daresay many other parents do, too. Here, in my non-expert opinion, are the Seven Stages of Parental Sleep Deprivation.
Stage 1: Disorientation
Inevitably, the baby’s cries jolt you from a pleasant dream about, say, Channing Tatum teaching you to play water polo. Your first reaction: “Why is Channing Tatum sobbing? Don’t cry, Channing! I can do better!”
Stage 2: Denial
Just because the baby’s crying doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get up. He might stop on his own in just a couple of minutes and you’ll be in the clear, right? (WRONG.)
Step 3: Anger
You get up and trudge to the baby’s room, stewing over the fact that Mr. 12-Hours-of-Sleep-Per-Day is trying to deprive you of your own five or six precious hours in Slumberland. The nerve of some babies!
Step 4: Determination
You know what? Maybe this won’t be so bad. You can handle it quickly – get him changed, give him a drink, rock him a little bit and wham, bam, thank you ma’am, he’ll be back to bed and so will you. You’re going to be all over this like white on rice cereal.
Step 5: Anger, again
It’s not working. This is when the swearing begins.
Step 6: Resignation
You will spend all night trying to rock this baby back to sleep. You will spend all month trying to rock this baby back to sleep. You will spend all year trying to rock this baby back to sleep. You’ll grow old and gray and he’ll be ready for college, and you will STILL be trying to rock him back to sleep.
Stage 7: Sleep
At some point, maybe two to four hours after the Resignation stage, the baby will finally fall back asleep. You’ll race to your bed, eager to return to Channing and his water polo Speedos. Alas, you never hit that dream state because five minutes later, your alarm goes off and it’s time to start the day.
This is when the swearing resumes.