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Dear Baby Sam, will you let me get some sleep... please

PUBLISHED: 07:46 28 February 2018

A very tired Chris McGuire....

A very tired Chris McGuire....

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Chris McGuire - The Out Of Depth Dad - loves being a parent. He’d like it even more if he got some sleep...

Sadly, it wasn’t the first time it had happened.

Shaking my head, I took the (unopened) tins of beans from the fridge. I then went over to the cupboard, where tinned goods in our kitchen traditionally reside, and removed the (now curdled) milk from the shelf. As I tipped the milk down the sink, I couldn’t help but think that sleep deprivation is a strange thing.

If you’re a new parent, I really don’t need to tell you about sleep deprivation. To be honest, I’m surprised you’ve enough energy to read this.

WOULD WRITING IN CAPITALS HELP HOLD YOUR ATTENTION?

Probably not.

To the uninitiated, most new parents – of which I am one – don’t get anywhere near the amount of sleep that they actually need. Babies, it would seem, have been placed on the planet as part of some giant celestial prank – a prolonged period of hellish exhaustion to squeeze the last drops of youthfulness from us as we begin the long bleary-eyed descent to… well, you get the idea.

This lack of sleep leaves us doing the strangest things, like mixing up milk and beans when unpacking shopping. It doesn’t end there: I poured ground coffee directly into my electric kettle the other day (not a good idea) and even, horror of horrors, recently found myself eating a Pot Noodle (other disappointing cup-based noodle products are also available).

There was a time, not very long ago, when my ambitions were big. I used to fantasise about winning the lottery, being the next James Bond or even filling a swimming pool with custard, then eating it all (I like custard). These days (if I ever got to sleep) I’d dream about getting some more sleep.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps…” that’s what they say.

It’s a good idea, although not particularly practical. It overlooks the minor detail that a new parent’s entire life takes place while the child is in the Land of Nod. You find yourself compiling long lists of things to achieve in this blessed time. I need to trim my toenails – I’ll do it when the baby sleeps. I need to cook dinner – I’ll do it when the baby sleeps. I need to pay the mortgage – I’ll do it when the baby sleeps. My son’s naps usually last around 45 minutes, so it doesn’t leave much time for my own visits to Bedfordshire.

Recently I found myself spontaneously laughing out loud. I was busily trying to cajole my son into having a little nap and he, the little rascal, was having none of it. As I clucked and shushed, sighed and rocked, it occurred to me that if there is a God, she must have a sense of humour. The irony of someone totally without sleep, desperately trying to get a well-slept child to do the one thing the parent would give the earth for, well, it made me giggle.

Sadly the giggling didn’t have a soporific effect – on Sam, at least. Instead he just giggled back at me. The first time your baby laughs is a sweet thing. It’s a moment you remember, something to cherish. Yet, hearing the same laughter just a few weeks later, when all you want them to do is snore, is THE MOST FRUSTRATING THING EVER!

I fell into a day dream the other day, just after I poured the yoghurty-milk down the drain. In the dream Sam was a teenager and I was outside his bedroom door, at 7am, with a (hugely loud) marching band!

Revenge, you see, is a lot like milk – best served cold.

For more go to outofdepthdad.wordpress.com or @Outofdepth_dad on Twitter.

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