Sleep deprivation; we’ve all been there.
It’s 5am (or some equally ridiculous time) and things haven’t started well. You’re lying foetal in your bed and wondering how on earth you can be expected to deliver a passable impression of a grown-up today.
You feel like a subject in a clinical trial that you don’t recall signing up for, about to trade your sanity for some meaningful data about how sleep deprivation affects the brain.
The reason you’re awake is, of course, your kids.
Maybe there was a nightmare, or a bum needing wiping; truth is, you can’t remember. They’re all a blur and it doesn’t matter anyway.
You’re tired, and grumpy, and coffee just isn’t going to cut it.
You need something extra.
You need the good stuff.
Unfortunately you gave all that up in your twenties.
You’re going to have to make do with your kids. After all, they created this mental health crisis, so they’ll have to solve it.
You need them to appear at your bedside and give you a reason not to resent them for the rest of the day.
The alternative is not ideal.
It involves you sleepwalking through another day at the office, or wherever you work, assuming you can still hold down a job, or even remember who employs you, and blaming your children for your semi-literate incoherence and your inability to finish a simple task.
Resenting work because it makes the life-affirming joy of parenting difficult is perfectly natural. Resenting your kids because they make the drudgery of another day at work difficult is tragic.
What’s it going to be?
Let’s get back to you, foetal, in your bed.
The youngest boy appears, and tugs at your ear. You know he’s about to ask you a question, because he’s a small boy and he’s opening his mouth.
You look at him. He has the ruffled hair and the thoughtful mischief of a cute three year old.
So far so good.
Now, if he can just deliver one of those lines that kids do, that melt your heart strings and tug on your hormones, he might just save the day.
He might just snap you far enough out of the fog so that you hate work, but not your kids; the balance tipped the right way, the kind of equation you can work with.
“Daddy,” he says, “I’ve decided what my nickname is.”
“Oh right, that’s good,” I say. It better be good, I think. “What is it son?”
“Hot cock! It’s hot cock. So I’m going to need you to call me hot cock now”
I can feel the bed silently shaking next to me. My wife has heard the news and seems to approve.
(Image: via pixabay)