Wednesday, February 16, 2005


We need more words for tired

You know that old myth about how the Inuit have more than 50 words for snow? (My apologies, BTW, for the less than politically correct link, but Uncle Cecil has long held a soft spot in my heart.) Well, I think it's about time we came up with some new words to express the idea of tired. I got 49 entries from Roget’s online thesaurus, and none of them come close to what I'm feeling these days.

When I talk to my childless friends and they say they are tired, it is increasingly difficult for me to restrain my rolling eyeballs. You do not, my friend, know the meaning of the word tired. I had no idea there was an entire universe of experience beyond what I conventionally (read: pre-parenthood) understood tired to mean. I am coming off of a state of sleep deprivation incurred while my darling son woke on the average every three hours for ELEVEN SOLID MONTHS -- and that's on the average, mind you, some nights it was more like hourly -- and I can tell you that unless you've been there, you don't know from tired. And if you have been there, hats off to you my comrade! Come join me in this little corner of cyberspace and we'll take a nap together.

Now I'm the first to admit, I'm a bit of a suck when it comes to sleep. I'd be happy with nine hours, can make do with eight hours, am cranky and unmanageable with seven, and anything less than that just gets messy. I thought I had the parental sleep deprivation thing conquered with my first son... sure, we had to do the midnight feedings for the first couple of months, and there were days when we got up before the sun. In general, though, he slept a good twelve hours a night from about four months old, bless his little heart. And then came baby #2, who would wake up in the middle of the night because he was lonely, and would fall right back to sleep -- as long as I was holding his hand. How do you say no to someone who only wants to hold your hand? That's a good part of the reason why I kept him in a cradle at my bedside until he was eight months old and so big I had to cram him into it with a shoe-horn... at least I could stay in bed and keep him company at the same time. I also learned to nurse him in bed in pretty short order, as a baby who starts out at 10 lbs needs a lot of calories to make it through the dark hours, or so he insisted.

I'm happy to report that after suffering through a month of intermittent 'cry it out' with him, I think we have finally established a decent night-time routine. Well, decent inasmuch as I can cope at work with six hours of sleep if I have to. Now, if we can just eliminate the 5 am feeding, followed closely by the 5:45 am stumble through my morning ablutions, we might have a serviceable routine. Ah, how I remember fondly the days I used to need an alarm clock to wake me up...