It’s a place where toddlerisms make sense but not much else, where everything is all at once a bit too dull, and a bit too bright, you forget your own name, why you are standing in front of the fridge and even why you went into the kitchen in the first place. Welcome to the wonderful world of sleep deprivation, one which is home to many, many parenting residents at some point.
Funny things happen to your brain, I think, when you’re sleep deprived. You lose a lot of logic, and reason, and filters, and all of those sensible things you need to function properly. And on that note, I’m sure a sensible list of this ilk would include driving or operating heavy machinery. But as I don’t do either of those…here’s some alternative suggestions of what NOT to do when you’re really sleep deprived:
Online shopping at 3am. I’m not sure what it is, about 3am. But it’s the time of the nightfeed when I suddenly decide I want something completely random and absolutely have to have it. I often open my phone browser in the morning to many tabs worth of ridiculous ASOS searches, hunts for obscure Swedish home wares and random baby-related life changers. Luckily, I can’t see my credit card details in the dark or I’m sure I’d be making many walks of shame to the post office to return my regret-deliveries.
Get an earworm of doom – Of course, you can’t really help this – that’s the very nature of an earworm, you don’t get to pick it – but when you’re tired they seem to be amplified by 50000 at least, echoing round and round your weary head. Earworms seem to be particularly active in the middle of the night, probably because there’s no other distracting noise. I had odd snippets of the Frozen soundtrack in my head for most of the winter, or this, the ultimate in annoying theme tunes. Once you hear it, there is no escape. Sorry. ToooDAY we met…our LOVEly pet.
Develop wildly inappropriate crushes. I think a bit of inappropriate crushing is great – it gets you through the day, doesn’t it? But when you’re sleep deprived and not your…normal self…. Find yourself squinting at Topsy and Tim’s dad’s boyish charms and thinking, hmm, maaaaybe? (No! But Kerry’s dad Carson the fireman, on the other hand). Finding Ben and Andy’s laddish link bants endearing? Going ‘awww’ at the way they’re holding baby Evangeline? Step away from CBeebies! It’s just the lack of sleep. Really.
Have any big, inspiring ideas… In what an annoying business bingo buzzword brainstorm would term ‘blue sky thinking’, I often get many spectacularly outstanding ideas in the middle of the night. And then? I forget all about them in the morning. I’ve taken to writing some of them down, but to be honest, it doesn’t really help when your notes consist of ‘fgfgfdg fgfgfg blue green.’
Read The Paper Dolls by Gruffalo-lady Julia Donaldson
- Me, in the shop: Oh, another Julia Donaldson book? Looks lovely. Can’t go wrong with this
- Eliza, later, during bedtime reading: Are you crying mummy? …
- Me: *sniff* No!
Oh, where do I start? Breathtakingly beautiful book but SO VERY SAD when you’re running on about three hours sleep over one week. The mean brother, the kind old granny in the memory, the way the little girl grows up and has her own child in the turn of a page, the merciless nature of time and the circle of life. Oh my. No, you’re in denial about the passing of time, YOU, you future kind old granny. Actually, to be fair this would probably bring a tear to my eye after a month of sleepy Sundays.
What *to* do when you’re sleep deprived: Be kind to yourself / Remember you’re not alone and most parents go through it, most babies don’t sleep through at six months or even a year / Know that there are positive biological reasons why your baby wakes a lot, especially if they’re breastfed / Don’t count the hours of sleep you’ve (not) had, as it’ll just make you feel rubbish / Eat the cake x.