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Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

That's not a zombie; it's a sleep-deprived parent

Every night when I go to bed I have no idea whom I will wake up with in the morning. Neither does my husband.

The only thing I can bank on is that I'm going to wake up with a blonde. No, there's not a lot of hard partying going on in our lives, but there are a lot of hard nights.

This past weekend has been especially rough because my daughter has croup. In fact, I wrote this entire column in my head at 3 a.m., listening to her cough. We were propped up in bed, the window was wide open, and the humidifier was on standby.

My husband had just finished the graveyard daddy shift. He'd rushed our daughter out onto the front porch several times to rescue her from coughing spasms. Thank goodness our doctor told us that cold air helps croup.

If only there was a solution like that for sleep deprivation. Oh, wait … I think there is an answer, but I just can't remember it because I'm so tired. What is this column about again?

Maybe you've already guessed this, but after four nights of sick-bed sleep, things are really starting to fall apart around here.

There are leaves on the grass, laundry on the floor and thermometers all over the house.

When I finally made it to the grocery store, I came back with six types of cookies, two tubs of ice cream and chocolate milk. But I forgot to buy anything for dinner!

Thank goodness my kids are usually good sleepers. There's nothing like illness to make me remember how rough life was before they learned to sleep through the night.

That first week of parenthood was a real shock to the system. I remember staring at my newborn son thinking, "Holy cradle cap! How will I survive?"

I also remember thinking, "Why didn't anyone tell me how hard this would be?" like a blathering idiot.

Of course, lots of people had told me it would be hard. I just didn't get it.

But have you ever tried telling brand new parents-to-be about their impending sleep-deprived doom?

Usually, they respond with something stupid like: "We're going to sleep when the baby sleeps." Then you, the wise one, have to bite your tongue.

By the time my daughter came around, I at least knew what to expect. That didn't stop me from wanting to throttle my husband every morning while he drank caffeinated coffee. As the designated milker, I was stuck with decaf.

Thankfully I am no longer a soldier in La Leche League. I can drink as much coffee as I want to this morning. It's just too bad that the imbecile who went grocery shopping forgot coffee filters.

Did I forget to tell you that sleep deprivation makes me cranky? Maybe I should have mentioned that earlier.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.blog.com.
Story tags » Parenting

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