Some people fantasize about hitting it rich. Others fantasize about being famous or falling in love or going on a trip to some exotic, far-off destination. I fantasize about sleeping—long, uninterrupted, sleeping-for-more-than-two-hours-in-a-row sleeping.
Since my daughter was born in September, the longest I’ve slept in one continuous stretch is two and a half, maybe three hours, max. Sometimes it’s even less than that. Have you ever tried to function on two hours’ sleep? Your brain knows it needs more sleep to function and, therefore, it rebels against you. This can make it difficult to perform even the simplest of tasks like dressing yourself or remembering your wife’s name.
Recently I’ve found myself remembering “great sleeps” of my past. I didn’t even know it was possible to recall a particular “sleep” before my baby was born. Now these vivid memories of splendid slumber are coming back to me in waves. It’s like I was in some accident and suffered Great Sleeps Amnesia (GSA), only to recall these memorable siestas many years later.
For example, the other night I was rocking my daughter while watching TV when something sparked an old childhood memory. One time when I was at my friend Donnie’s house during the winter we were supposed to sleep on the pullout couch in the living room. It was chilly that night, however, and we decided it would be much more comfortable to sleep in the heated twin waterbeds up in his bedroom.
So we went upstairs and kicked his little brother out of his own bed, sending him to sleep on the floor in his sister’s room (sorry Tim). We then enjoyed a blissful night’s sleep, each one of us snug in the comfort of our very own heated waterbed.
That was twenty-some years ago and I had never really given much thought to it since. But this is the kind of stuff you daydream about when you’re a new parent—prolonged, satisfying, uninterrupted slumber. As I sat there holding my daughter the other night, I could almost feel the comforting warmth of that waterbed and it made me smile.
I was suddenly brought back to reality, however, as my daughter projectile-vomited in my eye.
My older sister has two kids—one four years old, the other almost two. As she held my daughter for the first time, she said she didn’t remember her kids ever being “so tiny.” It wasn’t the first time I’ve heard a parent say this. The reason you don’t remember your kids ever being “so tiny” is because, due to sleep deprivation, your brain was only functioning at maybe 25-percent capacity at the time and your long-term memory was temporarily shut down. Basically, you were a zombie.
I’d love to share more “great sleeps” stories with you; however, my daughter just dozed off and they say that when your baby sleeps, you should try to catch a few winks yourself. So if you’ll excuse me, I must take advantage of this brief respite to…Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.