In GITMO with Elmo (The sleep deprived contest)

I am heading into the middle of my second year as a stay at home parent, and I am getting comfortable with my role as universal kleenex, vomit target, and bodily function disposal device. I enjoy having the chance to play with my kids and help them develop their own unique personalities. I believe I am getting good at helping them understand the world. Most of my days are good, or even great.

However, the sleep deprivation coupled with the increased need for patience and cheerfulness is wrecking havoc on my system. I am so tired by the time the afternoon comes around that I am desperate for sleep and quiet. Instead, my afternoons usually consist of playtime with singing, chatting, questing, and crying children. I have to come up with creative ways to entertain said children, assist them with their homework, and begin to prepare for dinner. It is loud and interactive, it requires great patience, and it in no way resembles sleep.

I told my father last night, I am in GITMO, with Elmo. I am being subjected to repeated and intense sleep deprivation, much like I might experience if I were being questioned in violation of the Geneva Convention. However, I am required, in this sleep deprived state, to be cheerful, and inventive, and energetic, much like Elmo.

Now I agree that actually being in GITMO with Elmo would be much worse than what I experience. In fact, it would likely be much worse than anything I am ever likely to experience.

Regardless, it is a challenge to grasp and cling to my creativity and patience when I am woken at all hours of the night, every night, for months, with no pattern or schedule in sight. It is the biggest challenge of my life to stay cheery, and restrain myself from snapping at my kids, when I am more tired than I have ever been.

So, in honor of the sleeplessness experienced by all new parents, I propose a new contest! The winner will receive a $50 SpaFinder gift certificate, good at over 4000 spas. Go get a massage, or a facial, and try to regain your sense of peace!

How do you enter? Simply leave a comment (with a contact email) sharing your own sleepless story below this post! Any story of sleeplessness will do. You need not have children, your children can be grown, you can have thirty children, any story will enter you for the prize.

I will place all the contact emails in a hat on the 14th of December, and will pluck out one lucky winner! (Okay, Monkey will pluck out one lucky winner, she loves having the power to award a prize.)

Good luck and I look forward to hearing your stories!

7 thoughts on “In GITMO with Elmo (The sleep deprived contest)”

  1. Dear Darling Daughter,
    I could SO win this contest if it weren’t for the fact that those MANY sleepless nights orchestrated by you and your rotten brother destroyed my memories of the experiences. All I can recall of those challenging times is the sensation of moving and functioning while encased in thickened, gelatinous air that blurred my vision and slowed my thoughts. (And you thought it was just because I was lame. If I were cruel, I would cut loose with a Nelson-laugh, but I’m not, so I won’t.)
    You’ll look back on all this and swear quietly & inventively to yourself. Promise.

  2. Lol! I think that counts as an entry mom, I am certainly not about to disqualify you for being to tired to remember anything.
    (What contest did I say I was hosting?)

  3. I actually have one that is funny about my husband and sleep deprivation. When our first child was a newborn, when she would awaken at night to be fed, my husband would always get her, change the diaper, then bring her to me for nursing. During a particularly sleep deprived period, I was nursing and I hear my husband (whom I thought was back to sleep) start saying, “shhh it’s ok, it’s ok.” and I look over and he is lying there eyes closed, but apparently dreaming that he is comforting the baby because he is making rocking and pattig motions with his hands. I am afraid my laughter woke him…it was really funny at the time and rather sweet too. Hope you get some sleep soon!

  4. I just survived a weekend in Chicago (alone!) with less than 5 hours of sleep per night. It wasn’t children waking me up… but my aloneness. Seems I can’t sleep well without my honey to snuggle with. I’d wake up 1.5~2 hours before the alarm it was pointless to set each of the 3 mornings I was there. And then had to find a way to stay awake in 8 hour days of class! With no coffee to boot!

    Makes the days of my kids waking me up every 3 hours seem almost enjoyable in comparison! 😉

  5. Hatchet told me to come here and enter the contest. 🙂

    Hmmm… well I can probably count the number of times BOTH boys have slept through the night during the last 3 years on one hand. Sure, individually they have each done it 10-15 times maybe with most of those being in the last year. But both at the same time? Not as much. I’m pretty used to it now and I can go back to sleep pretty quickly after they climb into bed with me. They know now, that I don’t do much during the night.

    When they were babies I remember tandem nursing in the middle of the night (many nights especially early on) sitting propped up in bed with my nursing pillow around me, both boys on the nursing pillow and I would doze off and my head would fall forward and I’d be slumped over them and then eventually I’d wake up, find them asleep on the pillow and I’d carefully move them to the bed and throw the pillow off the bed and lie down between them for blissful horizontal sleep for however long until they woke up again.

    Wow those days were so crazy.

  6. Okay, okay! Ready?

    I hadn’t slept longer than 1.5 hours for the last 3 months of the pregnancy, so I thought I was prepared for when the twins would be born and how little sleep I’d be getting.

    I was wrong.

    Turns out that when you get slightly more sleep – 30 minutes to an hour – your body freaks out and craves it like a heroin addict. “Just a little more! Just a wee little bit more! Come on! I can take it!” When the twins slept for 3 hours together I felt like I’d had worlds of sleep! I got up in the morning and ran around like I was fully rested.

    Then they dared to tempt me with 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. This was a big mistake.

    Now, when they wake up to nurse at night, instead of coming fully awake to nurse (OMG! The babies need me! Sproing!) I roll over to the awake and hungry one, latch them on and then pass out. You’re keeping me from sleeping! Nurse faster, hungry one!

    Nowadays, all I want in life is 4 hours of sleep. Four more hours. The trick is that they BOTH have to agree to sleep for 4 hours. Together.

    Pass the Benadryl.

  7. I remember getting less than 4 hours of sleep in law school on some nights. I definitely got less thank 4 hours during finals time in college.


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