A Day in the Night of a Father of Three

parenthood parenting sleep deprivation

Boy have I had a night and a half! Actually, it's been a week and a half, though it's only really been half a week...

…if I'm not making much sense, it's probably because I haven't had much sleep in the past few days.

It's Thursday noon now as I type, and it all kicked off on Saturday, when my 5yo daughter caught a gastro bug. She threw up in her bed in the middle of the night. It was fun to get up and change the sheets. Of course, we weren't just silly. We waited 20 minutes and then changed the sheets. She was onto us though, so of course, as soon we put her back into bed and settled back into our bed, she threw up again.

This time she made an effort not to dirty the sheets, but though the effort was admirable, the results were a little on the disappointing side. So we made her get out of that bed, and get into another bed. This went on for a bit.. it was just that kind of night. We got barely any sleep.

So What Kind Of Night Was It?

Well, just to make sure I tell it to you straight, I'm going to tell you about the night that just passed. Last night, I was already shattered from the day which had just passed. Like every parent, I too, need a break now and then. So last night, when the missus was out for her own stress relief (dance class!), I put the kids to bed. The older ones are easy enough, and yesterday, the baby was easy too. He just fell asleep “on time”. It was 7.30pm, and everyone was peacefully in bed or already sleeping.

At this point, I still had a few chores to do. There were a few dishes (and the baby bottles) which needed washing. But, there was also this movie that I wanted to watch. “All the money in the world”, with Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams. I was quite tired, so I said to myself “forget it! The stars have aligned nicely tonight... just watch the movie”.

And so I went and started my movie.

The Movie

Five minutes into my movie, my son, the 6yo called me.

6yo: Daddy my nose hurts...
Me: What's wrong with it?
6: I don't know, it just hurts.
M: Did you bump into the wall?
6: No.
M: Did someone hit your nose?
6: No.
M: Is your nose running? Are you starting a cold?
6: No.
M: What then...?
6: I put my finger in my nose and pulled something out. And now it hurts...

What better way to start your film eh? I guess I should've seen it coming, but I was determined to see my movie. So, I told my son to please refrain from calling me for pointless reasons. As an honest parent, I told him that Daddy has important work to do. Perhaps leaving out that he wouldn't be doing it, but just watching a movie instead...

And I went back to my movie. I watched an hour, till the missus came home. It was about half way through the film, so I thought I'd take a break and sit with the missus. So I did. Then around 30 minutes later, I went back to my film. Five minutes into the second half of my film, the 6yo woke up and started crying. I went to investigate.

6yo: My tummy hurts.

Now, I wasn't sure if he meant nausea or cramps, so I pointed to his stomach and then lower down, saying: Does it hurt here or there?

6yo: You don't know where the tummy is?!

I know he didn't mean it, but it really felt like a burn.

Now, his bed is the top bunk, so as not to take any chances, we decided to move him to a “normal” low bed. Having learnt from our daughter a few days earlier, we put a little bin next to him. The bin was next to the bed, and on top of rolled out bin bags (think “plastic carpet”).

“If you need to throw up, you do it IN THE BIN ok?”

Again, I should have seen it coming. Ever the optimist though, I didn't. I went back to my movie. Ten minutes laters, I could hear a kerfuffle and I kinda knew what had happened. He had thrown up. I knew it. I paused the movie for the 4th time now, and went to the boy. Mummy was already there, and he had thrown up. Mostly in the bin. Mostly!

The Sick

My missus loves me to bits. So she told me to go and just enjoy the movie. I would do that, but I stayed a little to help. The plastic bag in the bin had to be replaced and put outside (it was quite stinky!). We also took the boy's temperature. And the missus wanted to change his sheets. He had managed to get some sick on his own sheets, and my missus would never leave those unchanged. So, I helped a little with that. Once the boy was back in bed, I went to continue the movie. And this time, I finished the movie! It was now 23.15. Almost 4 hours after I had started the movie. Still, better late than never...

Now, I decided to wash those baby bottles and tidy up the dishes a little. Then brush my teeth, put on my mouthguard and to bed. I was in bed at 23.50. Now, our day normally starts at around 6 am, so I was already way behind schedule. Still, the movie had had a happy ending, especially by Michelle Williams standards... so I couldn't complain! I crawled into bed, and got comfortable. It was so nice under the duvet, and I was so tired. Isn't it the nicest feeling?

The Night Was Young

Well, there I was... and not five minutes had passed and I'd already fallen asleep. And I woke up! The 6yo was calling Mummy. As usual, by the time I got up, the missus was there. And the lad had thrown up again. Mostly in the bin...

Once again, we changed the sheets, the plastic bin bag with the sick inside, and answered some of our son's questions (“what time is it?”). We took his temperature, and he had a very slight fever, but nothing to take action on. He wanted water, and he got it, on the condition that he would drink very little and very slowly. I don't think he paid much attention to that.

Still, back to bed we all went. Again, under the duvet, nice and warm. Asleep immediately. Woken up again. This time, it was ten to one. Again, the 6yo was calling. Again, I got there after the missus. Again he had thrown up. In the bin, mostly.

This time, we didn't change the sheets. They were very slightly dirtied, and no one had the energy. We replaced the bin bag, and again answered some questions (“what time is it now?”). Just before heading back to bed, I said to my son... “so I'll see you in an hour?”. We laughed. Even Mummy...

An Hour Later

An hour later, at a few minutes past 2 am, as if he had been keeping time, the same story all over again. This time though, Mummy had a new plan for the 6yo. “We're moving to the living room. You're going to watch TV, and I'll sleep next to you”. The 6yo was suddenly chirpy! And off they went to the living room. We had to move some duvets, pillows etc, but we were all set up. It took around 20 minutes or so.

Under this new plan, I was with the baby in our room, and Mummy was with the 6yo “watching TV”. So, back I went under my duvet. It was so nice... for a little while. At 3 am, the baby woke up. I picked him up, rocked him for a while, and put him back into his bed. He fell asleep, but now I didn't. It was just as well, because at 3.30 am, he woke up again. I picked him up again, and cuddled him again, but he wasn't having it. He was wide awake, and any attempt to put him back into bed was met with a “warning cry”. Still I tried, till 4 am, at which point, I decided I'll change his nappy (it had been almost 9 hours), and I'll feed him. So, I did. After the feed, I cuddled him again, and by 4.30 am, he was sound asleep.

This lasted till 6 am, at which point, he dropped his pacifier. So, I retrieved it for him, and went back to sleep. I woke up at 7.45 am (courtesy of the baby once more). Anyway, the 6yo would not be going to school today...

And here I am now, writing this post. How many hours of sleep did I get? I'm not sure, but well... it doesn't feel like much.

Seize The Day!

And this is the life. As a parent, your priorities are with your kids. The love you have for your children, is what gets you through the day (or night!). On the other hand though, you're still you. If you liked to watch movies before having kids, you still like it now. If you loved working before you had kids, you still love working now. But the conditions are different. I'm working now but I've barely slept. How am I supposed to work properly under these conditions...?

And that, is one of the biggest challenges that parents have to face. Managing to live their own lives, whilst also taking care of their lil' monkeys. How? I couldn't say. Do what you can. At least in my case, they give me some great material...

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  • Lucy At Home on

    Sleep is for the weak! Haha. But seriously it sounds awful (and so familiar). I hope everyone in your household is fully recovered now #blogcrush

  • Parent Bear on

    Thanks Berni, Carmela and Daydreams! The spare bedding is because the grandparents come often to stay, the puke…. well.. you know where that’s from!

    Carmela, hope you’re little one’s doing a bit better now!

    And Merry Xmas to all!!!! :-)

  • berni on

    wow! Thats a lot of puke and spare bedding you have there!!!!
    Hope your xmas is sickness free

  • Carmela on

    Such an honest post about what a parent goes through on a “terrible night”. My son has been coughing the whole night and I’ve been up the whole night as well.
    I feel like a zombie. How do we take care of our kids while managing our own selves? That’s really a good question to ask. #BlogCrush

  • Daydreams Of A Mum on

    Oh I don’t think there is anything harder than having to function on no sleep. Let me reassure you by time they’re teens you get lie ins again !! #blogcrush

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