I found that the craziest thing about the weeks spent with a newborn baby is not the much-bemoaned exhaustion itself, but the long mental game we have to play during the days when we're not getting sleep. I mean, I thought I knew what it's like to get no sleep before having a baby, but sadly (or happily? Depends on how you look at it) I was ill-informed. Previously, if I stayed up most of the night for a ~super important~ reason (like studying for finals, enjoying the last night of summer camp, going to a fraternity dance, watching a Sex And The City marathon, mainlining a YA novel, etc.), there was at least a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a nap, or the chance to go to bed early the next day. But when there’s a baby? There’s no light. There's not even a tunnel. There’s, like, a hint that maybe someday, years from now, you’ll get sleep again. But it’s more of a dull glimmer, or like a depressing neon flicker on an old sign that’s buzzing and half burnt-out already.
If nothing else (watch me grasp at a silver lining here, guys; It's gonna be so endearingly sad), at least the sleep deprivation is a rite of passage for new parents. You made it! You’ve crossed one of many parenting thresholds! Congratulations! Now, let’s laugh at some of the crazy ish that came out of mouths when we were in the thick of it.
Something Unnecessarily Grouchy, Like, "No, I Do NOT Want Homemade Spaghetti For Dinner, How DARE You?"
The only time I’m grumpier than when I’m hungry is when I’m sleep-deprived. Actually wait, scratch that: Sleep deprivation and hunger is a deadly combination (but thankfully that’s rare these days now that my once-newborn is a toddler). Anyway, my point is that I can’t be held completely responsible for the things that come out of my mouth when I’m going on day four of three hours of sleep per night.
Something Completely Absurd About How You’ll Keep Trying To Rest, Like, “I Think I’ll Go to Bed Early Tonight.”
It’s almost inevitable. Every day that I actually head to bed early is a day that my son will decide to show us who’s boss by waking up before dawn. You would think that by now I’d have learned, but the only time I am foggy enough to think that maybe I can get control of my sleep is when I’m already tragically behind on it.
Something Impossibly Hopeful About Your Child’s Sleep Patterns, Like, “Maybe He’ll Sleep in Tomorrow.”
This one’s just silly. He sleeps in so rarely that, in between, I typically forget it’s even a possibility.
Something About The Passage Of Time, Like, “What Day Is It Again?”
Actually, wait, never mind. It doesn’t matter what day it is because my days are pretty much planned for me until he’s in kindergarten.
Something Completely Bogus, Like, “I’ll Just Watch This One Video Of A Hedgehog Eating A Taco Before Getting Some Stuff Done.”
There is no such thing as a "this one" of hedgehog video. Hedgehog videos are meant to be consumed by the dozens and dozens, making you feel like you’ve gone down a rabbit hole of time travel and woken up two hours later, satisfied yet confused as to how you got there.
This is me not talking at all, because my brain has become mush and my inner monologue has descended into tones of "hurr durr da durr doo da."
Something That Makes You Stop And Assess Your Parenting Progress, Like, “What Time Did I Last Change A Diaper?
If you have to stop and really think about it, it’s probably been too long.
Something Completely Nonsensical, Like, "Could You Please Hand Me A Bojangle? He Looks Tired."
Strangely enough, your partner, or really, anyone who's spent any time with you or a newborn will immediately know what you mean. Right, a bojangle, totally, here it is.
Something About Your Physical State, Like, “I’m So Tired I Couldn't Even Stay Awake To See Coldplay Perform At The Superbowl Again."
Because it's important that those in your vicinity realize that there's "tired," there's "exhausted," and then there's your current state.
Something About Caffeine, Like, "If We Are Out Of K-Cups, I Will Cry And Then Immediately Die."
I considered telling my barista they should just rename "venti" to "I have a newborn at home," but I kept it to myself because I didn't think it would fit on the menu board.
Something About Your Physical Appearance, Like, "There's A Reason They Call It "Beauty Rest" And Not "Beauty Stay-Up-All-Night.""
And no, you're not fishing for compliments. By this stage, we're pretty much beyond compliments. We pretty much don't care what you think of us or the massive bags under our eyes at all. What, like we want someone to be attracted to us right now? Because we want them to have sex with us? And get us pregnant again? So we can do this sleepless nightmare again? No thank you good day sir.
Something That Turns Out To Be A Bogus Attempt At Pumping Yourself Up, Like, "Sleep? Psh. Who Needs Sleep? It's Not Like Every Other Person On The Planet, Ever, Has Required It To Function."
Wasn't there a quote floating around Pinterest about "Believe In Yourself, Because You're Not Going To Sleep Tonight, Either"? Yeah. That.
Something In Which You Admit Total And Complete Defeat, Like, "Hold All My Calls, I'm Done."
Sometimes, it's a sign of true strength to admit when you need help. Or, to admit when you just need to lay on the floor for a minute.