Here comes reason No. 1,456 demonstrating how the human aging process is proof that there is some kind of higher force guiding the world, and it is hilarious and maybe also a little mean.
We’re talking about sleep and pee here, and how they conspire to make life just a little bit worse for everyone as they age, but in a particularly ironic way for parents.
When parents have babies, their sleep patterns are absolutely annihilated for years. That era was long enough ago for me that I’ve blocked most of it out, but I do remember coming to work some morning so tired from the baby battles of the night before that my sleep-deprived brain felt fuzzy, like it was slowly being buzzed from the inside by a tiny microwave.
There are many things that force new parents to get up in the middle of the night. For the first few months, particularly with first-born children, you’ll just randomly wake up every hour or so and play a quick game of “Is my baby still breathing?”
And those newborns sure do like to cry and scream at all hours. What are you, a baby?! Sometimes those screams are just “hey, what’s up everybody!” screams, but often they are the sounding of the pee-alarm, a call letting you know it’s time for joy of a 2 a.m. changing. Those of you who haven’t ever had the pleasure of doing that chore may not know that it comes with added hazard, particularly from baby boys.
You’d think that a baby that has just woken up because of a wet diaper would be, you know, done peeing for a little bit. But if you think that way, you may just earn yourself a surprise splash in the face. In fact, you soon learn that a recently filled diaper does nothing to stop a little baby boy from digging a little deeper and coming up with some more spray the moment his diaper comes off and he’s free and clean in the cool midnight air. All of a sudden it’s whipping around like an unattended firehose. Take cover!
They even have a cute baby accessory known as a Pee-pee Teepee. They’re little cloth covers that you pop on the little guy’s little guy to try to keep it contained even if he goes back into writhing hydra mode. I say try to contain, because my recollection of the Pee-pee Teepee is that trying to block pee with one of those was about as effective as trying to block a river with shoehorn.
This type of late-night behaviour goes on for some long years, interspersed with more fun stuff like night terrors, projectile vomiting, and, eventually, catching your six-year-old under the covers at 4 a.m. somehow watching YouTube videos on what you thought was a password-protected phone.
Finally, mercifully, the night awakenings wane, until one day, somehow, miraculously, you make it through an entire night without a kid waking you up. And that’s when it gets really funny, because it’s right around that age that a lot of adults reach the stage in life where they can’t make it through an entire night without … having to get up to pee. Ha ha ha, funny stuff, entity that created humans. Clever little joke.
Dr. Google says that it’s common for folks of a certain age to get to a stage in life where they need to get up and go once per night. That’s me – once a night, every night. The trick everyone tries to perfect is staying as close to sleep as possible as you go, hoping that you’ll be able to slither back to sleep the moment you slide back between the sheets.
I’m shocked at how quickly the old man sleep patterns have hit me. I used to tease my wife mercilessly for her penchant for falling asleep during movies. Now I’m at the stage in life where if it’s any time between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. and my body gets anywhere near a horizontal position, I am powerless to resist sleep. Napping is happening, regardless of whether I’m watching the latest Star Wars movie (The Return of the Revenge of the Empire Sith Strikes the Last Jedi Back with a Wookie) or trying to read a story to my kids. I can be mid-sentence: “Herein lies the tale of the Lord of the Ringsszzzzzzzz.”
“Daddy, wake up!”
Sorry kids – catch me at 4:45 a.m. You know exactly where I’ll be.
Andy Prest is the sports and features editor of the North Shore News. His lifestyle/humour column runs biweekly. firstname.lastname@example.org
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