Catch Up on Your Sleep

Long before Kaia was born, a common refrain we heard from many friends who’d bravely endured the path we were about to un was, “Catch up on your sleep now, you’ll need it.”

I’d generally respond with a polite, ‘Oh yes, you can bet I’m banking the hours away’ or some other nonsense…all the while telling myself, along with Bec’s help, I was sure we’d be fine.

I’d managed to survive four years of college. Even two summers of salmon fishing in Alaska. I reasoned I had a firm grasp of sleep deprivation.

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t naïve enough to believe there wouldn’t be isolated ‘trying moments’. But I did so under the assumption—this one very misguided—that newborns primarily only did three things: EAT, SLEEP and SHIT.

In the end it seemed someone forgot to tell Kaia with the girl only managing two out of three on that list. A batting average of .666 was pretty good on the diamond, yes, but for mommy and daddy, sleep’s absence on that list would prove a major point of contention.

Now, let me be clear on something; I’m not sitting here today complaining our daughter woke up two, three, four or even five times a night.

No, thanks to a still medically vague explanation revolving around gas build-up in a new born’s tummy known as colic, our little one would only sleep for stretches of 45 minutes. And this, only AFTER having spent the previous 45 minutes trying everything from incense candles to ancient Buddhist chants and Black Magic Voodoo to get the girl to shut her eyes.

This would go on for three…and…a…half…months. Not exactly the sort of ‘trying moment’ I had in mind.

I realize there’s a time and place for everything; including sleep deprivation. The military and medical fields utilize such torturous means to see how a person responds in the sort of stressful situations lack of sleep caters to.

But with Navy SEAL Training, candidates are given the opportunity to quit. Step forward, ring a bell and the pain stops. How simple.

As for medical internships, pharmaceutical ‘self-medicated’ relief is merely a locked cabinet away. All in the name of research, of course.

Ethics aside, for each endeavour, the choice to stay or go is there.

But this was parenting. Our decision had been made for us and no matter where either of us looked, no get out of jail free card was forthcoming. Dig in and fight the good battle was our only option. That is, until I’d decide working away from home at a mine camp on a two week on, one week off rotation was a good idea.

To this day, I still don’t know how I came to that conclusion.


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