There’s more to the sleep deprivation you experience as a new parent than just the actual number of hours you have sheared from your typical routine.
It’s more than just the fact that those cruelly limited hours are rarely, if ever, consecutively logged.
For someone like me, it’s that a two- to three-hour window of an opportunity, can be cut cruelly in half (or more) by a vivid dream involving your newly expanded family, and the newly activated biological instincts you have to see your genes persevere.
A vivid dream that starts off and progresses pleasantly enough, but that just involves a turn that goes horribly horribly wrong.
The setting. A long, tall shotgun-style house/cabin, situated in some sort of non-traditional wildlife preserve.
A casual unpacking of your bags in your room toward the back with its two adjacent large windows overlooking some sort of unused penned area.
Only it’s not unused. There’s the biggest freaking python you’ve ever seen starting to poke its head towards your window from some Outback bushes you must’ve seen in a tv spot.
Only now you’re mistaken. It’s a pine green lizard moving slowly toward the window.
Only now it’s not alone. There’s another more dinosaur-looking creature with it.
That’s cool. Never seen one of those before. Why don’t you get your camera.
Wow. These two animals don’t seem to like each other much. <Shutter-click>. And now they’re getting aggressive with each other. <Shutter-click>. <Shutter-click>.
And now that your partner has left the room to join some of the other tourists at the front of the house, it’s just you.
And your camera. And the dinosaur tapping its bony nasal protrusion against the single-paned glass.
But where’d that mid-sized elephant come from? And what’s she got against this dinosaur, too?
And who designed this pen anyway?
Ewww. Hope that elephant doesn’t know that that window is an utterly useless barrier.
Oh. No worries. She’s just curious. Let’s start shooting some video.
But that other tourist who just walked in shouldn’t be so close to the glass.
No. He really shouldn’t be in front of the glass like that. It’s pissing the elephant off. And she indeed knows about the glass…
… and so on.
Until you see the elephant shatter the glass and force its way into the opening, intent on tearing the place apart.
And you’re running 30-40 yards for the front door, screaming, “The Elephant is in the house! The Elephant is in the house!!! Get out!! Everybody get out!!”
And you’re standing in the doorway, watching the elephant charge out of that back room.
And there’s panic everywhere. Except on the face of your 2.5 year old son, who is standing 10-feet away amidst the chaos, smiling, oblivious to the danger.
And you dart out to pick up your child, whom the pachyderm has zeroed in on.
And you’ve got him, but it’s gonna be too late as you’re stumbling backwards for the door!
And the last vivid image that you have, is of that massive, rough trunk snatching your boy from you!
And you wake up with a gasp like some bad tv cliche.
And that’s what new parent sleep deprivation can be like. Hope you enjoyed that 87 minutes of sleep. Don’t bother with the other 93, sucka!
Good luck with the day! ;)