Sleep rx

I had my first good night’s sleep in a long time last night. That doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment, but it is. I was so tired and so worn out, that it devolved into an Ouroboros of insomnia where my mind was going too fast and my heart raced too much that the thing I wanted most eluded me in a vicious cycle.

It hadn’t been that bad since when the kids were newborns. I used to literally keep track of the hours I’d slept just so I can tell myself in the morning if the night was “good enough” or not. Of course, I was spending more time awake than actually asleep and came to actively dread going to bed, but that’s a different thing.

Lying there, wigging out, I used to think about what if people had literal switches where you could turn them off instantly like a machine. There wouldn’t be a gradual process, just click and you’re out; guaranteeing rest.

I could have definitely used such an augment over the weekend. Also, in a home where I’m typically fighting with my munchkins to go to sleep, I’ve definitely thought about the implications of installing such a switch in them would be too.

When they were baby-babies, I posed myself a philosophical question on a near nightly basis. What if babies had an off switch? But here’s the catch, it was literally an off switch. They weren’t going to sleep like my later sleep-starved thought, but were ceasing to be for however long they were off. Turn them back on again and they were technically alive once more. They wouldn’t grow while off and if you wanted to help your kid sleep, they’d need to be in the “on” position. Follow me so far? OK that wasn’t the question. That’s just the rhetoric.

My philosophical question was: In a world where we could turn newborns off with a switch, how “old” would they actually be? How much longer would that newborn state be preserved?

I guarantee you that after trying to be responsible with such a system, I’d cave in like a week and start trading off nights. One night of sleep for me. One night of sleep for them. My kids might just now be clearing their first “birthday” instead of the two plus years old they actually are.

Sleep and I have always had a weird relationship. My wife loves it. It feels good. It empowers her and she needs like 10 hours every night just to feel normal.

Me? I hate sleep. I think it’s such a waste of time. We spend a third of our lives (well, not me. No now, apparently) asleep and doing nothing. If I could give up sleep without consequences, I’d do so in a heartbeat.

Think of it this way. If someone lived to be 60 years old, then 20 years – 20 years – of that person’s life are spent just lying there. If you gave me the choice of a place to shut down or 20 years of stuff, I’ll take the stuff, please.

I’d always wanted to write a story about a character who’s only superpower was that he didn’t have to sleep. He wouldn’t necessarily be punching bad guys, but he’d be a well-read, artistic, and pretty productive dude.

One of these days I still may write that story.

The flip side to all of this is just because you have more time doesn’t mean you’re more productive. Hell, it could mean the opposite because there’s no rush. What if instead of the most cultured and interesting person, not having to sleep made the most boring and sluggish? Instead of practicing art or a new language with his spare time, he just binge-watched Netflix.

Maybe that’s the story I should be writing …

There and Back Again … Again

It’s been a while!

I’ve been out of work on paternity leave for the past month. My wife and I received a pair of beautiful babies on August 7th. One born 6 lbs 3 oz., the other 5 lbs 12 oz.. Since then, they’ve both put on some weight, but they’re still pretty tiny and I know I’m a little biased here, but I think they’re pretty friggin adorable. Ask me again at 3 am when they’ve been screaming all night and I may change my mind.

Anyway, I knew it wouldn’t be a vacation, but I prepared my “dad bag” full of all sorts of personal entertainment just in case: books, 3DS, netbook, journal, music, etc. I figured I’d have at least some time to do something fun. I mean it’s an entire month! A friend of mine did nothing but play Final Fantasy XIV when he had his second kid. I was pretty excited to do the same.

I did none of those things.

I spent most of the month on the couch holding a baby and waiting for the next shoe to drop in terms of diapers or feedings or just plain crankiness. We’ve had our fair share of scares. One of them has a bad case of acid reflux that landed us in the hospital overnight for observation. So it’s been a hectic month. It’s become somewhat easier now that the little dragons are big enough to fit in baby carriers. Seriously, whoever invented the moby wrap – or patented it for mass production or whatever – is a godsend! Getting my hands back after losing them for weeks has been the greatest victory in the world. Now I can hold a baby and make a sandwich at the same time!

My wife and I tried handling it in shifts to allow the other one some sleeping time, but it soon became apparent that such a tactic was impossible. When babies outnumber adults, the adult loses. So we adopted the team mentality. We sleep together. We take care of babies together. It’s made things a hell of a lot easier but as you can imagine, the system isn’t perfect. It pretty much breaks down now that I’m back to work. Without outside help both at night and during the day, neither of us would be able to function anymore.

Things are as routine as they can get right now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s tough work, but we’re managing. If anything, I think we’re kind of good at it. If we had one kid, we’d be handling this like a pair of stone cold bosses. Seriously, what’s the big deal with your one kid, people? Suck it up.

There are plenty of things I want to talk about, but I’ll save them for future posts. The next one being about coming back to work on a 3/4 finished novel and what that’s taking after having an entire month away from the keyboard. I’d get into it now, but honestly, I’m just too tired.

I hear that clears up in 4-5 years …