This week Chris and Everett have both had a mild cold. Everett has coughing fits, which wake him up, so he is getting less sleep than normal, and as a result he is really tired at 7am when it’s time to wake up for school (he missed one day of school this week). He has been waking up at night, sometimes from coughing and sometimes from bad dreams, and when this happens he wants one of us to check on him. Chris has been getting up, then spending the rest of the night in Everett’s room. This has made Chris extra tired. So today we all overslept and Chris took Everett to school in the car. During the ride Chris was drinking from a travel mug.

“Dada, why do you drink coffee?”

“Well, drinking coffee is not a nice habit. It gives you terrible breath, and ideally we wouldn’t need it if we got enough rest. But we don’t, so we drink coffee to wake up and stay alert. The reason we don’t get enough rest is because we are awake all day, and during the night the babies are awake. And we tell them ‘Babies, it’s the middle of the night, so go back to sleep!’, and the babies say ‘What’s the middle of the night? We don’t know what you are talking about. It’s party time!’ ”

“Dada, Tell that story again, but this time make it funnier!”

This story makes it sound like Chris isn’t getting much sleep, which is true, but no matter how little he sleeps Melissa is sleeping less because she gets up to feed the babies a few times a night. They are now on sort of a schedule: they go to bed around the same time Everett does. For a while Chris was feeding them a bottle between 11-12pm, but this wasn’t really getting us any extra sleep, so now we just leave them alone until they wake up between midnight and 1am. Then another feeding in the middle of the night, and another at dawn. Gwen has been known to sleep from midnight to dawn on occasion. When we wake up in the morning there are usually one or two babies in bed with us.

Our experience over the past couple months has been like swimming in the surf. Tiredness comes and goes, and just when we think we have gotten into a rhythm, an inexorable wave of sleepiness picks us up for a few minutes and then sets us back down. For Melissa this happens in mid-afternoon. For Chris it happens around the children’s bedtime. It is the most intense sleep either of us has experienced in a long time. It is also completely disorienting, as in: Where am I? Where are the children? How long have I been here?

Are there parents that don’t drink coffee? There must be, and it would be interesting to hear their coping strategies.

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One thought on “Coffee

  1. Pretty soon, Everett will be wide awake and ready to go at 7…but only on the weekends and summertime. My sleepy time was always between 2:30 and 3:30; still is.

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