Dear Father Hood: is it okay to punch parents who boast about their kid sleeping through the night?
No, violence is never the answer. You are, however, perfectly entitled to bitch about them behind their backs, adopt a smarmy voice when doing an impression of them and make a wish for them to experience seven nights of your pain when blowing out your birthday candles.
If this sounds vindictive, it’s because it is. And why shouldn’t it be? To repeat: their baby sleeps through the night. No 11.30pm, 12,05am, 1.17am, 2,32am, 3am, 3.25am, 4.15am, 5.00am or 5.30am wake up calls. Just one long, uninterrupted trip to snoozeville. That’s sensational, incredible, wonderful, magnificent, life-changing. When parents sleep this long there is no dirty nappy that can wipe the smile off their face, no projectile vomit that can darken their mood, no baby vs car seat battle that can dampen their spirits. I know because I’ve tasted this ‘kip straight through the night parental crack’ twice in my first nine months as a dad.
Each time I awoke with a spring in my step, a song in my heart and a set of completely unrealistic expectations in my head. We’d only gone and done it. After months of pain, the barricades had been broken, the siege had been lifted and the screams had been quietened. The energy-sapping war of 2016 was over and life was sublime. Ten hours sleep!!! I Whatsapped my parents, I texted my mates, I posted on Facebook, I considered getting T-shirts made. I must have been so annoying, but I didn’t care. I was on the other side of the insomnia fence and the grass was so green it was glorious.
What happened next? You guessed it. After little more than 24 hours in daddy heaven, a tiny, but extremely powerful set of lungs piped up, woke me up and deposited me back in the land of sleep deprivation, where I appear to be doomed to stay for all of eternity (or at least until baby stops teething). It’s a dark and unforgiving place where the only things I’ve found to pass the time are the songs I sing to my child, the surprisingly watchable sport of Ski Flying and the hope that all the kids of the fathers who’ve been boasting about getting a full night’s sleep have opened cans of 3am whoop ass over their gloating faces. I appreciate this is not big, clever or nice. But sleep deprived early morning bitterness is like a parental Vietnam. Unless you were there, you wouldn’t understand.