O: Will you just stay and rub and jostle me for a few more hours? Just a few more hours and that's it.
When you first have a baby, everyone asks how you are sleeping. Is he or she making it through the night? How often are you getting up for feedings? No one talks about how nearly four years later, you still might be sleeping in two to three hour stretches. How, unless you live in Bruce Wayne's manor house, tiny human #1 is inevitably waking up tinier human #2 and visa versa, like some never-ending ouroboros, consuming its own tail.
We are so exhausted, we regularly have text conversations like the one below, usually while one of us is patting a tiny tushy. WARNING: the text below contains content that is not rated for some viewers. It not only uses foul language, but it also makes a passing reference to the act that got us into this mess. Scroll at your own risk.
Nobody talks about what happens to your brain somewhere around year three, how you forget things, basic things, like how old you are (I've added an extra year to my age for nearly all of the last calendar year), how you will count five hours where you don't get out of bed as a "good night," how even when everything else is really pretty wonderful, it can start to feel like nothing is working.
I'm here to tell you, the fatigue factor is a real thing. It is hard. It is unreasonable. It can feel untenable. Starting your day on two and a half hours of sleep and ending it lying in bed filled with anxiety about when the next wake-up will be, is not a recipe for a good night.
Someday, we will sleep until we feel like getting up. Someday, we will be dragging their cranky teenaged butts out of bed to do something enriching, whether they like it or not. Someday, we will be well rested. Today is not that day. To all of the other sleep-deprived parents out there, I salute you. Keep your chin up, your pillow fluffed, and your back to the door, because maybe, this time, they'll go back to sleep on their own. Maybe.