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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Surrendering to the GSTTN

Ellie would have been officially 4 had she made it to her due date on February 4th. I like to point that out to myself every so often in light of her achievements. They told us that most preemies catch up by age 3 but that is about as likely as a bad student, good ol boy, dumbass like George Bush becoming President. Well, ok – it happens sometimes. But with Ellie at 24 pounds and 36 inches and still waking up at night – it’s not our case.

In the spirit of sizing up where I am at I got to thinking about sleep, probably because I haven’t had much lately. Which incidentally makes me forgetful and about as efficient as a carpenter ant on LSD. In an effort to become sanguine with the state of my sleep deficit I decided to tally it up.

Here are my calculations:

In an ideal world where children go to bed at 7:30, sleep through the night and then play quietly and happily in their beds until 9am or 10am needing no assistance I would get 8 hours of sleep per night from roughly midnight or 1am to 9am. You see I am a night owl and the whole get up before nine thing go to bed before midnight thing just continuously messes up all my circadian rhythms. But anyway – in this ideal fantasy land where Al Gore was not cheated out of his popular vote winning Presidency – I would get roughly 2,920 hours of sleep per year. Ah – to dream and sleep and let all my internal organs have a break from the churn of daily life….

In reality where Bush is President, Gore grew a beard and hid out in academia and all hell broke loose in wars and global warming everywhere – I average about 5 hours of sleep per night. That means on my night where I get up with Ellie several times I may get one or two stretches of sleep. On nights where dear sweet husband gets up with her I get more sleep but still wake up because I can never sleep through when I hear her – it’s a mom thing. I think even averaging it out to 5 hours per night is a bit generous. But we’ll leave it at that. Which means that in 4 years time, since Lady Muck arrived, I have racked up a sleep deficit of roughly 4,380 hours.

I have read that to catch up on a sleep deficit it’s an hour to hour ratio meaning you can’t take a 10 minute power nap and think it wipes out a few hours. NO. It’s hour for hour like Hammurabi’s Code – an eye for an eye. Like I said, the Gods of Sleep Through the Night (GSTTN) are ruthless and very exacting being the sons of the Gods of No Sleep (GNS). So in the spirit of staying positive and being proactive in dealing with this deficit I thought I could do these things:

Take a two hour nap every day for the next 12 years – one hour for the current sleep deficit and one hour for the ongoing deficit. After 12 years I would only have to take an hour nap per day to stay sleep deficit free (unless Ellie is sleeping through the night by then- don't read that too loudly ok?)

Take 24 five-minute cat naps per day.

Sleep an extra 12 hours per day for one year.

Sleep an extra 3 hours per night for 4 years.

I don’t think I will ever catch up on my sleep deficit. This is why the GSTTN and the GNS are such a wealthy lot. They already have 4,000+ hours of my sleep. They have shining skin and are very Zen in their approach to torturing parents – unrushed and unperturbed. They are calm and clear minded.

Any suggestions? How are you managing your sleep deficit?


Anonymous said...

Rockin post bebe! I wonder if the GSTTN have anything to do with the national debt? Hmmmmmm...


Jacqui said...

I'm getting slightly more sleep then you are. Master C woke once last night, Moo twice and Mitchell three times. You would think that they could at least co-ordinate their times for me. But I did get to stay in bed until 7.15am, so I'm averaging around 6 hours sleep a night.

The GSTTN and GNS are a mean bunch. (I'm going to be lucky to get 3 hours sleep now that I've said that!)

Kathryn said...


Don't you think we are being generous by saying 6 or 5 hours? Because it's not 5-6 hours at a stretch. It's 2 to 3 hours or less at a time....!

The good news is kids get older and start needing to sleep at night eventually. This is what I keep telling myself....


Jacqui said...


I worked out that my kids just don't need sleep. I think they get it from their dad as he can manage on 6 or 7 hours sleep whereas I look like a walking zombie. The worst thing is, that on the couple of nights where my MIL has looked after the boys for us (before Mitchell) hubby and I don't sleep through the night anyway. We are now programmed to wake every couple of hours.

And this is why I would never be able to give up coffee!


ps - I do think we are being generous as it's never straight sleep and it always takes a while to get back to sleep.

Kathryn said...


Maddening yet true. Thank god for Pete's coffee. Do you have that in Australia? If so, I highly recommend their Arabian Mocha Java of which I had two cups this morning.

Dave can actually sleep through on his off night. His side are good sleepers. I am hoping that Ellie, can tap into those genes - SOON!


Mel said...

My boy was born on Ellie's due date. He just turned 3 and has never been a sleeper. DH can sleep through anything. The sleep deficit is catching up with me.

They eventually outgrow this... right?