I had insomnia in my mid twenties, and that’s the actual, clinical, real life Edward Norton in fight club insomnia, not the kind where people just update their Facebook status because they’re up past 2am on a Tuesday-insomnia, big difference. A combination of bad life choices regarding money and women, coupled with a crushing realisation that life was going to be a lot harder than I’d imagined left my mind constantly & consistently wired, so I would regularly go 4 or 5 days without sleep (my record standing at 6). As my X-Box had gone down with a case of ‘Red Ring of Death’, I would regularly fill the long empty night hours reading books that I thought would make me more interesting at dinner parties, long winded reads like The Art of War or A Brief History of Time, which might as well have been written in Japanese if I’m honest. I even read the Quran. I also found myself spending several hours trying to move objects with my mind one evening, but the less said about that the better.
The point is, I thought I knew tired.
The thing with insomnia is that you are wired, so you don’t actually feel tired (that rhythms and everything). You almost develop a hypersensitivity that keeps you alert and almost on-guard 24/7. Having a newborn baby doesn’t offer any mercy in the hypersensitivity department, no alertness, no sugar-rush like skip to my step. Instead I walk around my office with my mouth open, baffled when someone asks me a question about anything work related.
I’ve also become a bit of a danger to myself, having stepped out in front of traffic 4 times in 3 months, purely because I’ve forgotten to look left and right like I was taught 33 years ago.
I’ve forgotten my PIN number.
I can’t “do maths”.
I struggle remembering words when I’m describing something, which leads to me shouting out unhelpful old man gibberish like “you know, thingy”.
I regularly forget what day it is (which is still one up on Aims who doesn’t have a clue).
I’ve even started doing the middle aged thing where I can’t get my own kids names the right way round “don’t do that Dahlia, DAMMIT…I mean Faith”.
Writing this blog has taken over a week, and I’m positive a smarter person than me will be able to tear it to shreds on the grammatical front. Too tired to write a blog about tiredness, oh the irony!
When you’re expecting, fully fledged parents who have already earned their stripes will doom-monger about all the different rubbish bits you can expect from your precious little miracle, as he/she kamikazes into your life and changes everything forever. Child Birth, dirty nappies, the cost of childcare – all of the negatives flow naturally out of the mouths of the subconsciously bitter parent, and start to strike fear into the hearts of the expecting couple. It’s not because anyone wants to ruin your pregnancy, or keep you awake at night, it’s just a right of passage. A way of saying ‘look at us, we are survivors’. I went full circle at the weekend, as I found myself giving “advice” to two sets of dear friends who are expecting their first child, and one of the things I waffled on about after a few too many gins was tiredness.
As with all of my blogs, this is written from a mans perspective, as we are usually the unsung heroes of parenting. But on this occasion, I have to say, Aims is an absolute rock. She does the majority of the night things (feed/burp/change/repeat) during the week, as I’ve still got to get up and go to work. She never complains and always seems fresh faced and ready for a full day of fun in the morning. I take my turn at the weekends and then I am open mouthed for days. Sure, Aims still has her moments where she’ll get tetchy at me for being too fabulous, but in comparison she copes with it better than I ever possibly could. There’s no way I could do it without her, and I should probably tell her that more often.
Just like the insomnia of my younger days, newborn tired isn’t permanent, and at least this experience let’s me wake up to that face. Dahlia is almost 3 months old now, and to be fair, she’s the almost perfect baby. Routines are firmly in place and the fatigue is slowly easing off. But that doesn’t stop me daydreaming about being asleep. In fact, I could probably go a nap around about now…..