In a shocking revelation, Chris Ryan discovers that babies sabotage their parents’ sleep.
“I would kill a man for eight hours’ sleep.”
As far as breakfast table conversation goes it wasn’t the most pleasant topic but I was knackered.
It’s been months since I’ve had a proper night’s sleep. There was a time when our kid slept from 10 until 6. I tried not to be smug – I knew it was luck more than parenting – but oh, I was smug. Now I’m being given a tough lesson in humility.
At around six months the kid decided he wasn’t into sleeping through the night. He’s up after midnight and again before the sun has risen. Wide awake and ready to rumble, he starts bashing his cot and yelling excitedly. Before he wakes everyone in our block of flats I take the bright-eyed boy on a pre-dawn stroll.
A part of me enjoys that time. The streets are empty, the park still. Fog lies across a cricket oval where a pair of white-faced herons hunt for grubs in the soil. We watch as light slowly creeps into the day.
By 7am we’re in a cafe and I’m having the first of four to five coffees for the day. The baby conducts a silent orchestra with my teaspoon. He flashes his three-teeth smile to the Spanish barista as she makes coffee and bounces up and down when he spots a dog tied up outside the shop.
It seems a pity that the he won’t remember these hours we spend together and I find myself feeling nostalgic for a time that’s not yet past, if pre-emptive nostalgia can be a thing.
But I’m also bloody tired.
Things wouldn’t be so bad if I slept when the kid does during the day. I’m usually out pushing the pram when he nods off and lying down on a park bench for a nap wouldn’t be a good look – though I’ve come close.
At night when the kid surrenders to sleep I’m tired yet wired, jacked up with caffeine. I’ll have a couple of drinks or do some exercise to wind down. It’s almost midnight when I finally go to bed and it’s usually within minutes rather than hours that I’m back up again.
It’s got to a point where I hear the cries from the kid’s room even when he’s sound asleep. In fact, I think that’s him right now. Okay, it’s definitely not, but I’m so f#$king tired I can’t be bothered coming up with a better ending.
Geez, I miss sleeping.