Most people take sleep for granted. Some fortunate souls fall asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. Others need carefully orchestrated wind-down time to get to the point where sleep is achievable. British ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was famous for sleeping for a mere four hours each night with no apparent ill-effects... sadly I can't say I share her talent.
Most parents know exactly what it means to feel properly exhausted, the kind of exhaustion that comes from a multitude of broken nights, that turns you into a zombie and dulls your thought processes, that strips away the happy shine on things, that blends your brain to mush and adds a good (bad) five years on to your crow's feet.
Having not slept for more than a four-hour stretch for a few weeks now (and that's on a very good night), I'm desperate for the restorative bliss of an 8-hour sleep coma. But even when the baby sleeps through, even when the Small(er) One doesn't have a nightmare and creeps in beside me for comfort, I find myself stretched out in bed... watching the shadows, mind racing, trying to catch the tail of a sleep that doesn't come.
Apart from the vague embarrassment caused by the uttering of sentences which make no sense at all, sudden tearful moments (for no good reason) are common, unreasonableness has been known to occur and forgetfulness is at an all-time high. I’m a world class klutz at the best of times but recent episodes of laughable clumsiness have trumped all previous incidents; even Alpha, who's witnessed my many incidents of dorkiness over the years, was amazed when I recently managed to shut a cupboard door on my head.
The hardest thing to live with though is the grumpiness. As the Small(er) One announced on the way home today, I am currently “the meanest mummy in the whole wide world.” Sorry, baby. So sorry.