We Are Tired
There are no other words for it. Just tired. You could add in cranky and short-tempered if you want, but I think that first simple, declarative sentence covers it.
If you have kids at home, I know I’m preaching to the choir. If you don’t–or you’ve forgot–you may need an explanation.
It’s not just the sleep. Our girl sleeps now more than she has before (though not consistently, so we’re still no stranger to 3am cries we can’t quite get to the root of), and she goes to bed at an hour that allows us a moments of calm before we’re carried off into our separate couch naps–the sort of naps that replace a full REM cycle for parents.
Allow me to describe the lifecycle of a proper parental couchnap:
- One parent places their feet on the others lap, usually pulling a blanket up to their chin, in full repose.
- The other parent, with those feet in their respective lap, makes sure said feet are covered, places their own feet on an ottoman, in full recline, and pretends to watch TV.
- Much channel flipping ensues, as the currently awake/reclined parent is disallowed from watching any shared shows on the DVR.
- Cut to an indeterminate amount of time later. The parent in repose stirs awake and moves feet to stretch. The parent in recline then rushes awake and bats at the things (cats? muskrats? small dogs?) moving across his/her lap. This same reclined parent then attempts to move their own legs, slowly realizing they’ve fallen completely asleep due locked knees.
- Both parents now struggle to wake, snores and drool turning to grunts and gulps of water; the TV is still on and remarkably, both parents realize they dreamt about shiplap and kitchen remodels, as they just subconsciously watched a ton of Fixer Upper, and now, sleep slowly replaced with cognitive function, the realization dawns that $175k gets you a parking space here, not a 2500 sq.ft home and remodel.
Wait, where was I?
Tired, that’s right. Tired.
It’s not just sleep. Or the quality of sleep. Or home prices in Waco, Texas. Sometimes it’s the unadulterated sameness of every…single…day.
We wake, a girl crawling between us thrashing us about the head and shoulders with “hugs” owing more to professional wrestling than affection.
We walk downstairs and start coffee, staring blankly at the Playmobile figures strewn across the main room.
Coffee in hand and girl bouncing between a couch and a table, dropping new stuffed animals and books in her wake, we consider the morning and the when and how of getting a girl to daycare and two parents off to separate workplaces (one by car, the other by bus) with our clothing maybe mostly free of tiny-tot snot and milk stains. The plan is often the same, but new wrinkles (Morning meeting! Dentist! Overslept!) throw enough monkey wrenches into our mix that we have to think about it.
Now begins the baby-fighting portion of our day. These are the moments we spend cajoling a small child to eat food that’s not straight from a pouch, or donning clothing that is distinctly not-pajamas. There is back-arching, body-rolling, shouting, crying, and the occasional near-naked sprint through the hallway to punctuate these moments of joy.
The child is fed. Clothed. Coated, hatted, mittened, and ready.
The dreaded car seat is next, followed by tears at daycare** and a parent or two dejectedly driving back home or to work or the bus stop
- **About our tiny child. She knows of what she does. She cries in our arms at daycare, then we hand her to Alli or Jessi, the sainted daycare owners, who talk to her for approx. 3.2 seconds, creating smiles where mom and dad created tears. Then as we leave, waiving through the window, that dear child laughs at us, knowing her act has created the exact situation she intended: hugs, attention, joy.
Now, reverse the order and change the concept of “daycare” with “crib,” only with louder cries at food plus maybe the whole family taking a bath, even as the child is the only one to enter the tub, and you have a good guess at the evening portion of our day.
Just add wine, mix, and repeat.** Try again the next day.
**But wait, there are smiles, and laughs, and giggles and even hugs from a small child in here, too. What, you thought we were masochists?