Sleep deprivation is synonymous with parenthood. Its a cliche but cliches don't materialize out of the ether. There are different types of sleep deprivation that come with being a parent. Everyone knows about the newborn phase, that's a given. Its the later phases and ages that sneak up on you in ways you never imagined.
Newborn: You don't even know how bad it is because you are in a continuous fog of semi-consciousness. You are seemingly awake and functioning but its a facade. When Heidi was 3 weeks old and had been up about 8 million times the night before I had to drop something off at Mike's office. Someone there said...I swear to you...for realsies, "You look so refreshed! She must be sleeping well." My jaw dropped. Either she was flat out lying to my face or I'm a really good faker.
When you only have a newborn it sometimes seems worse because you don't have as much to do and you can dwell on how much sleep you are not getting. When you have two and three kids its a whole other ball game. You don't have the luxury of counting hours you aren't logging. You still have to make sure everyone is dressed and off to school, or practice and make sure they have food. See, babies are easy like that. You make their food without any real effort but older kids you actually have to buy stuff, prepare it and cut it up. Then clean it up. Sheesh! I think you are just so busy living life that you don't have time to notice that you are tired. If you stop moving you will surely fall over and sleep through the car pool lane at school. This is why when Heidi was a month old I repainted our living room. Yeah, I was still achy for surgery and I was on a ladder painting. What was I thinking? Oh that's right, that my living room looks fantabulous now. Take that sleep!
Older babies: If you are lucky they sleep all night. Its glorious because you can get uninterrupted sleep and wake at your own will and not with a start that comes from a baby's cry. But the down side to this phase is that its fleeting. Just when you get used to semi-regular sleep they get an ear infection, a tooth, a cold, learn to roll over, a growth spurt or they just decide they like waking at 12, 2, 3, 5 and 6:48 just for fun. When they wake up, even just once, you are ruined. You try desperately to get them back to sleep at all costs. Then you are WIDE awake and start thinking, I need to fall asleep right. now. in order to get 6 hrs of sleep. Right. now. Do it! Fall asleep. AHHHH I'm going to be soooo tired tomorrow. It seems somehow worse to actually get sleep then have them wake up once a night for a week. You got a taste of what it can be and you want more. Its like Tantalus its so close but you just can't reach it.
Toddlers: Hopefully by now they sleep and sleep all night. If not, I'm so so sorry. Go to a sleep clinic. Seriously, they should be able to sleep by now. But toddlers do wake up for random reasons. They have a bad dream, they move to a big bed and fall out, they decide they want to 'watch sumptin' at 4 am or they just canNOT find that stuffed animal that they NEED right now. These are important things that lurch you into consciousness and make it hard to fall back asleep. Or if you are like I was last night...I fell back asleep but dreamed about getting Colin back into bed and then Raph kept waking him up. So you are asleep but your dreams are tormented by kid sleeplessness and you wake up exhausted! Oh and Heidi slept all night and Colin woke up twice. ::thud:: These wakings are surprising and if you aren't used to it they can make your morning miserable.
Can you even see him under that mess of blankets and babies?
Early risers: Raph falls under this category now. He just wakes up early. Doesn't matter when he goes to bed, what he did the day before or how dark it is outside he wakes up at 6am, give or take. Oh and when there is a time change he gets up at 5 am just for shits and giggles. Early risers don't just wake up and then wake you up. They do it with flair. They stand 2 mm from your face and stare at you until you nearly have a coronary and smack them in the head in self defense. WHY!? Why must they terrify you into consciousness? That's totally unnecessary. I gentle nudge or a "Mommy?" would suffice. If he doesn't terrify you he will repeatedly poke your forehead. Really? That's just annoying and not a way to start off the day. Piss off Mommy and Daddy at 6am on a Saturday they will NOT make pancakes.
Just being ruined by kids: I am now officially ruined by kids. I fall asleep on the couch by 9pm. I rarely finish a movie, even a really good movie and sometimes I don't even make it past the opening credits. Or, even worse is that I fall asleep at 5 minutes before Lost is over. Every. single. time. The last 5 minutes is when they answer all the questions and leave you with 18 more. Its really important!
I've been woken up at 6am (roughly) for the last 6 years so it is virtually impossible for me to sleep late. Mike and I went on vacation last year. We had a glorious week at the beach and a room to ourselves. We played all day, stayed up late with new beach friends and fell into bed in the wee hours of the morning only to wake at 7am. That's it. My max was 7:30 but I was really awake by 7. Hey, at least we made the most of the breakfast buffet and the Bloody Mary bar. We ALWAYS had the pool bed we wanted and were the first ones up every day.
I'm sure there are other phases that I have not reached. Like when you have a teenager out past curfew or a kid you have to beat out of bed every morning for school. Figures, just when they start sleeping is when you actually want them to get up.
Sleep, she's an elusive bitch. When you think you can have her, she's just out of your reach. Damn that Tantalus. He just had to have some ambrosia.