Sleep deprivation smells of poo. Sometimes quite literally.
My littlest man has been hit by those pesky autumnal viruses that all kids get when they start school. You know the ones that linger for weeks and cause all your carefully constructed routines to be shot to pieces, especially the sleep ones.
It’s been weeks since we put him down in his cot and he’s slept until the morning. Weeks I tell you (well maybe a week).
With three kids, I’ve been here and got the tee-shirt. I know it passes and what feels like the end of the world is soon forgotten. Soon to be replaced by more serious fretting i.e. who I’d go out with if Tom Hardy and Jamie Dornan both asked. You’d think with all this worldly (ahem) experience I’d be equipped with all the tools to knuckle down and get through the blip. Alas not.
Instead here is my list of how NOT to win at surviving sleep deprivation.
1. Watch loads of scary films
There was this frightening video going around Facebook a few weeks ago where this daft bint sees a figure every time she turns her light off. Yet she still goes to bed instead of running screaming into the street. She hides under her covers until she thinks she’s safe and obvs that’s when the demon pops out. I was all Big Deal O’Neil about it until that night when I was going up the stairs to bed and my daughter popped out of the shadows on her way to the loo. I totally screamed the house down and woke everyone up (which was the definition of winning at sleep deprivation).
Add in the ITV drama Midwinter of the Spirit (more demons) and the ghost book The Ice Twins that I’ve just read, and you’ll understand that when someone shouts Mamma from down the landing it ain’t me getting up to soothe them. You are on your own lad. As for going downstairs in the dark for Calpol… well what’s a bit of pain amongst friends. Character building.
2. Go and get smashed with your mates
You might think you are big and clever clinking glasses in the pub, avoiding any evening shenanigans, but you’ve got to go home at some point (I’m sorry but you do; okay have one more for the road Mrs Wembley). If you think getting woke up at 4.30am is bad on a normal day – try it with five glasses of wine, and three Bailey’s churning in your system. You’ll want to be taking your chances with the demon than a wailing over-tired, nappy-filled child. You’ve more chance of ignoring the demon and they probably smell nicer.
3. Let them sleep in the day
There is no better thing than when they are so shattered that they fall asleep on your lap in the middle of Iggle fricking Piggle falling of a cliff (you wish). That is unless you’ve left the TV remote control on the other side of the room, you’ve not been the loo for a few hours and every time you breathe out too exuberantly they grizzle and moan in your arms. What should be a chance to cat nap together in blissful bonding, will actually be a painful, torturous experience (due to bladder pain and the fact you’ve pressed ‘play all shows’ on the TIVO box; only 33 more In the Night Gardens to go).
It is really hard to occupy your brain when stuck on the sofa for an hour. If you are lucky enough to have your phone to hand you can flick through Facebook for a bit, then Twitter but it’s a bit slowing moving at 11am. All the juicy geg is after the watershed. You have to resort to entertaining yourself by giving your teacher husband minute-by-minute updates of your day along the really interesting lines of “I need a wee”, “Kitkats or Breakaways?”, “Shall we paint the skirting board in the kitchen on Saturday or Sunday?”, “I still need a wee”, “Do you think Iggle Piggle could take on George from Rainbow?”,. “Can you die from not weeing?” He can’t actually reply as he is in the classroom. But it’s fun watching him crack and eventually text back: “I am trying to teach the glorious f**kin revolution here you crackpot“.
And of course the icing on the cake is that when they do wake they are like a pre-menstrual woman doing the ironing – all hot and bothered. You’ll long for bedtime, but you know what you blew that. NO ONE is going to bed until 1am and then only to play the Firework app on your iPad for three hours.
4. Be an A-hole
There are lots of ways you can be an A-hole when you are sleep deprived. You can moan to everyone at every opportunity that you’ve had no sleep. Be self-absorbed at every turn – your mouth may say stuff like ‘awh your cat died’ but your face says ‘did I tell you I’ve had no sleep’. You can snarl at all the shiny smiley people on the school run who bounce too much. Maybe mutter swear words under your breath at slow old people in the supermarket. Not answer the phone as you can’t be arsed talking to anyone. Eat all the chocolate in the house. And the Nik Naks. Thing is you won’t really care as it is great being an A-hole when you’ve had no sleep. Only thing that makes it worthwhile. For the record though it is husbands that are A-holes, not you, if they refuse to be all Buffy and check everywhere is demon-free before you do your turn at 4am. Man alive so selfish.
5. Try and figure out why they are waking up
Ironically this will keep you awake at night while they SLEEPING! You’ll eventually climb into bed and you’ll run through a checklist of what went wrong determined not to be so stupid ever again. Was it that new lamp? Should you have put socks on him? Should you have allowed that 16th episode of In the Night Garden? Was he too hot or too cold. Was it too bright or too dark? Did he hate his musical mobile or want it on again? This is absolutely the way to madness. I’ll save you time and effort. YOU WILL NEVER KNOW. NEVER EVER. Honestly you’ll have more chance of cracking the Bletchley code again
So there you go. If you avoid these things you may just survive your current bout of sleep deprivation intact. I am just off to bed myself. First I am going to turn every single light on at full wattage and scream at every coat, teddy, book case lurking in corners. Then I’ll go in his room 23 times to put the extra blanket on and off. Tonight I know the boy will totally sleep through.