A baby sleeps on their mother as she looks off


I Am So Tired

Apr 6, 2017

Fun fact: The machine that washes your clothes is called a “washing machine.”

You already know that, of course. And so do I. Or at least I did, until last week. After eight months of broken sleep, I could not remember those two simple words, no matter how hard I tried to recall them.

"Can you get the clothes from the... uh... from the... in the basement?" I asked my husband, searching my brain for the elusive phrase.
"The dryer?" he asked, trying to decipher my thought process.
"No," I said, still grasping, "the… other one." (He got the laundry. I made a cup of coffee.)

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It's not the first time that the effects of my ongoing sleep deprivation have made themselves known. I should pause here and assure you that it's not a dangerous level of sleep deprivation, or the kind of thing that requires medical attention. I'm still perfectly capable of caring for myself and two small children every day, as long as I don't have to operate any heavy machinery. It's a level of sleep deprivation that any mom with a baby who wakes every two to three hours each night will find familiar, though.

The source of this sleeplessness is a blue-eyed bundle of absolute joy, who happens to like snoozing on me more than sleeping in his own bed.

On a good day, it's barely noticeable. On days where I've only had three or four hours of broken sleep the night before, things get a little foggy. I forget words. I put the pepper grinder in the fridge. I buy a blue ukulele from Amazon at 3 a.m. because it’s half price, and I’ve always wanted to play the ukulele. You know, the usual stuff that tired people do.

The source of this sleeplessness is a blue-eyed bundle of absolute joy, who happens to like snoozing on me more than sleeping in his own bed. (I’ve decided to take this as a compliment and will be adding “more comfortable than an IKEA mattress” to my list of positive qualities.) The sound of his cry jolts me awake every few hours, all night long. And as I hold him close in a cozy chair, he drifts gently back to sleep with a tiny hand wrapped around my finger. Then I sit for a few extra minutes, listening to the steady sound of his breathing, wishing that I could keep him this little for just a while longer.

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It goes by so fast, you see. Even when the days and nights stretch so far into each other that you start to forget what day it is, or what to call the machine that washes your clothes. One minute, you’re singing your baby to sleep in the middle of the night, and the next, you’re filling out kindergarten registration papers, wondering where the time has gone.

I won’t lie to you — I miss the feeling of a good night’s rest. But like so many stages of parenting, I know that this one is only temporary. Soon, my sweet boy will begin to sleep through the night. Soon, he’ll be happy to nap in his bed instead of snuggled close to me. I know that I’ll have plenty of time to sleep in the months and years to come. But for now, I’ll take the midnight lullabies and 3 a.m. snuggles. Then I’ll pour myself a cup of coffee, put the pepper in the fridge and learn to play a blue ukulele.

Article Author Alicia McAuley
Alicia McAuley

Read more from Alicia here.

Alicia McAuley is a freelance writer, editor and all-around web nerd who never met a pop culture reference she didn't like. The former editor of a parenting website, these days she shares a home office in the suburbs with her husband, two adorable boys, and two lazy cats. You can find her cracking jokes on Twitter @aliciamcauley and pinning projects for her to-do list on Pinterest.

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