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Sleep Deprivation

It's no secret that parents struggle with lack of sleep when their children are born. Babies don't sleep through the night naturally, and so it takes anywhere from a few months to a year or two for them to learn to sleep all night. If you haven't experienced this, you can imagine what it will do to a person, waking up every night 2-3 times for months on end. Coffee becomes your best friend, the silent third partner in your parenting alliance.

It gets better as they get older, but I'm not sure lack of sleep ever stops becoming a part of parenthood. We learned early on that our four year-old is a morning person. About a year ago, we had to set a clock in her room and tell her she couldn't leave the room before 7AM. She was waking up earlier and earlier every day, wanting to play and eat! (A little secret here: we set her clock slow, so it was really about 7:15AM when she was waking up. Don't tell her...)

You rest when you can, especially in the early years.

Lately, we moved, and the time change has had its challenges. But we're about a month in now, and things have settled...sort of. Ellie still wakes up so early! What's nonsensical about the whole thing is that there is more to do in the big city, and so we have been keeping them up late from time to time. We did a disco dance night at a park nearby; concerts on the beach, play time at friends' houses and birthday parties have all been keeping them awake past their 7:30-8PM bedtime. So when we keep them up, you would think they might sleep in a bit, right? NO! Ellie still wakes up at 7AM, no matter what. Her internal clock is remarkable. What's worse, is that she shows no consideration for her parents! We could have been up until 2AM for all she knows, and she never lets us sleep in either!  The nerve...

It's silly, but somewhat reasonable, right? If she goes to bed late, she should sleep late. And maybe that's the problem -- my expectations are too rational for parenthood. Rearing children doesn't make sense. We had it pretty good before kids, staying out late with friends, going on snowboarding trips and camping and to concerts whenever we wanted. And then we brought these little children into the world that are almost entirely dependent on us, totally disrupting our convenient little lives in a way that will never be the same. It's all worth it, of course -- I know it is. But sometimes you just have to write a little piece first thing in the morning while you are sipping your coffee, hoping that someone else feels the same way.

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