Hi! <Waves>

Funny and honest tales from a made-to-work Dad of three, wobbling, graying, and laughing his way through parenthood. Armed to the teeth with Nerf guns, full of pie, fighting a chocolate addiction, but genuinely honoured to be at least half of Team Parents (yay!).

21 April 2016

Sympathy for the Tired Dad (or the lack of it)...

A friend said this morning…
That he, now has more sympathy for Dads when they say they are tired (as he had his own child).
Wasn't he sympathetic before?
What part of me looking exhausted and walking into walls all day, didn't invoke sympathy? Does he hate me?
Did he think that was just me, and that's how I behave when not in a pub?
The swine!
Oh hang on... pre-children I was the same. Oh yeah...

It's a weird one for men.
Until you have kids, you probably don't really care about them. Or know about them. Or think about them. They are something that happens to others.
Kind of like giving up smoking, or exercising. Until it happens...
Which is pretty weird when you think about it. Why don't we?
We were all kids at some point.

Men (I know) don't tend to talk about children and the impact they can have on your life in the future. Even after they've had their own.
Claiming you are tired and didn't get any sleep is normally ignored. As the person you are telling invariably was out drinking until 5am last night and got up fine that morning:
What's the big problem? Don't be such a wuss.

But it's not the same.
It's not one night of no-sleep that mushes up your mind.
It's day after day of it, for years, that does it...

Anyway, let's stop that. It’s dumb. Start talking, share the pain, so we can all be ready for it.
For my part, I present a reference guide for non-Dad's on what that new Dad in your life is going through.
So you can be more sympathetic (ha ha as if)...

Day 1: She's, he's, it's a miracle!
The world has never been so beautiful. It has never made so much sense. I am one with the universe and at peace.
I'll sleep later when less awesome stuff is going on.

Sleep status: None, but who cares

(We offer this lion cub as a sacrifice… Oh wait wrong speech….)

Week 1: Virility is my bitch
An overwhelming sense of pride may manifest.
Look what I made! I made this. Me! This tiny baby is here because I was involved.
No one else has ever made anything so beautiful!
<Does dance>
Yeah, you can touch me if you like, yeah! BABY MAKER!
<Shows off guns> BEST BABY EVER!!!

Sleep status: Bits and bobs, but I am tough, I don't need sleep

Month 1: What the hell does everyone moan about? This is easy!
Baby is attached to Mum.
You're there helping all you can, but you’re getting some sleep.
What's the big problem? Why do people go on and on about this baby lark, really... it's very simple.
Change nappy... nappy changed
Feed baby... baby fed
<Tiny baby cries with tiny voice>
There there <Does one pat>
<Baby goes back to sleep for hours, without fuss>
HELL I'm not even tired!
<Is beaten by exhausted wife>

Sleep status: Not much sleep, but sleep tank is plenty full. I'll catch up later... Ooooo Die Hard is on...

Month 3: Actually I'm quite tired now
Mum and baby are no longer so attached. Dad is turfed out of bed during the night.
Bottles may have been introduced. Work now expects you to work, at work. -Gits.-
You return home, not as the man work done for the day and needing rest, but now as the family relief column (!).

I feel like I haven't slept properly in years
Mate: 'It's only been 3 months?'
Yeah but it FEELS like three years
Mate: 'Oh...'
Mate: '... Just imagine how it's going to feel in another three months'

Sleep status: Sleep tank light is now flashing. Really need to catch up soon.

That little baby that used to take five minutes to go sleep? That laid still and went to sleep?
That's baby's gone.
It's been replaced by a moving time vampire. Sucking hours out of your sleep every night, at all times.
So often in fact, you start forgetting how much sleep you're not getting.

[Spent three hours coaxing baby back to sleep and is finally sneakily out]
<Lorry steams past house making a right racket>
<Bricks it the baby will wake>
<Baby stays asleep>
<Wipes brow and whispers> phew
Baby: 'WAHHHHHHH' (* 'I heard something! ARGHGH!')

Sleep status: Sleep tank is now empty. But found reserve tank in leg (?) manage to keep running on that. Damn the consequences.

Year 1: Beautiful fun
Your mini-me or mini-her now means everything to you.
And you spoil them, indulge them, and generally live for them. Face it.
And it's bliss. You play all the time and have the best time ever. May these happy days never end.
Physically you are now being taxed as well. Throwing babies about looks awesome, and is. But it is still exhausting. You carry everything you can to help. You've muscles and want to use them.
At the same time, every, EVERY, illness in the world arrives at your door to make a sleepless, fatigue driven, muscles broken, illness party. yay.
Sleep is now what bastards do.

Sleep status: There needs to be new word for when you're this tired. Sleepageddon? Exhausetdead? Slombied? (I like Slombie!)

(Despite wanting to be the Fonz soooo much, I realise, now, I was Ralph Mouth Richie Cunningham... Meh)

Year 2: No more happy days
The armies of illnesses continue to break any recovery sleep you may be getting. Sanity is starting to become an issue.
And about now work gets harder and you need more money. Car explodes. Roof gives up. Boiler does the world's longest death scene. Ketchup is empty. yay.
Oh and baby has become a fussy bugger wilful.

But if you don't want the red plate, your favourite plate... or the yellow plate, yesterday's favourite plate... or the green plate, because we ONLY HAVE THREE plates... THEN WHICH plate do you want???
Child2: <Takes red plate>
Your favourite? I knew it... <Regrets comment instantly>
Child2: <Throws red plate at you and breaks down in angry, angry tears>
<Thinks of happy place>

Sleep status: Ow wall. Ow door. Ow floor. Must sleep... I just need seven years... Zzz <Sleeps on stairs>

Year3: 'This town ain't big enough for us both'
Yes it is
Year3: 'No it isn't' <Takes off shoes to annoy>
Yes it is, it has to be
Year3: 'No it isn't' <Drops stuff on floor, same theme>
Look look... lets not argue about something so silly.. Let's just have fun! OK?
Year3: 'I wasn't arguing' <Picks nose and wipes it on wall, because ARGHGH>
No no. I'm not doing that... We are not arguing about if we're arguing. No way.
Year3: '...' <More nose picking, kicks own feet>
Year3: '... you were...'
<Explodes and is remembered fondly>

Sleep status: Sleep? What's that? Can you use it in a sentence. It rings bells...

Year 4+:
A good night sleep is now killer. Your body has adjusted to tiny bits of sleep. So when you finally get some rest, it hurts. Then the next night you can't sleep.
Then you go out thinking the worst is over, and you can cope.
Later, at 4am still drunk, hiccuping and swaying in the moonlight, as Year4 pats your back, back, it all seems worth it. Even if it's going to take another hour to finally convince them that being naked will just get them cold.
You realise the worst is probably done....

… but still sleep deprived and forgetting what has gone before (really it does that), you suggest another child would be cool. You would like the set, or a spare.
You lucky idiot.

Sleep status: Accepted that sleep is long, long gone, a distant memory and just enjoy a house full of loonies children.