My only child is now 4 ½, and has therefore been sleeping through the night for some time. This does not, however, mean that I have forgotten the years of sleep deprivation. Looking back, it is both funny and terrifying how many things I did with no sleep. Like drive a motor vehicle. And perform brain surgery. And forget that I am not a brain surgeon.
I still remember trying my hardest to focus on something and being so tired that the synapses were just not firing correctly. For instance, once I was reading about developmental milestones in a baby book that noted a baby should be able to flip over “both ways” at a certain age. Rather than reading this in the rational way (stomach-to-back and back-to-stomach), the only scenario I could envision in my exhausted-beyond-comprehension head was stomach-to-back and then head-over-heels (like a somersault). I read that passage again and again trying to make sense of it and wondering why my baby was so developmentally stunted that she had not yet figured out how to do a somersault at two months of age.
Also in the sleep deprivation hall of fame were the incident where Tim told me that he wanted to take care of the business end of the nanny and the time we received a bunch of hand me down clothes and baby gear from some exceptionally generous friends. Among the things they gave us was a portable crib. One day, while our infant was napping, my husband and I set this thing up. As we opened it, a white piece of material with elastic on the sides flew out. Again, since we hadn't slept more than a couple of hours at a stretch, we were absolutely certain that these were some large granny panties. Please realize that NOT FOR ONE SECOND did we question what underpants would be doing in a pack ‘n play that our friends has given us.
But it gets better.
My husband actually went to the garage, got some grill tongs, and picked up the offending panties at arms length, which he promptly flung into the outside garbage can.
We never spoke of it again.
Until, of course, we went on vacation and had to buy a crib sheet for the pack ‘n play...a white crib sheet with elastic on the sides…