Sleep deprivation = torture. I can’t imagine a parent who would disagree with that statement. The baby’s teething, your kid got sick in the middle of the night, you took a job with ridiculous hours because – well, you’re not really sure right now why you thought that was a good idea but here you are anyway.
I would gladly tell those guys in the dark suits anything they wanted to know in exchange for an hour and a mattress. Much good it’ll do ’em.
Here are tasks I can do without ever being fully awake. I haven’t had to use some of these skills in a couple of years, but I’m pretty sure it’s like riding one of those things with two wheels that you pedal around.
- change a diaper
- feed a baby
- usher a child to the bathroom
- get a water bottle for a thirsty kid
- change sheets
- scrub carpets
- prepare breakfast
- make appointments or grocery lists
- keep those appointments, shop for those lists
- get kids ready for school, including but not limited to: reminding them to put the books down until they are dressed, reminding them to put the books down until they’ve brushed their teeth, reminding them that they cannot see the bus come if they are reading in their room, packing snacks, and making sure the snowpants are still in the backpack
- my job
And now, a (partial) list of things that I cannot do reliably or well without adequate sleep
- a job that requires real problem-solving and/or decision-making
- make the connection between refilled water bottles and the 5 times each kid has woken up to go to the bathroom
- be compassionate
- provide trustworthy answers to questions of any kind (“Did I already put salt in the pasta water? Oh, WTF.”)
- have a sense of humor that anyone else can appreciate. I laughed for a full minute yesterday over some turn of phrase Robin used while telling me a story about Michele Bachmann. Nothing about Michele Bachmann is funny when you’re not punch-drunk.
- punctuate or be punctual (see? about the jokes?)
- remember words for everyday objects, or the names of my own kids
So, I feel pretty good about my chances if I am ever captured and deprived of sleep. Sure, I’d be one of the first ones to crack. But once I was broken, I’d stick a thermometer or a bottle in the interrogator’s mouth and tell them that the bomb is in a van speeding through Manhattan, which is really just a mash-up of Speed and last week’s “Castle,” and that it’s retribution for Bachmann’s stance against using Medicaid for breast pumps, when everybody knows that if you want to do something to hurt Michele Bachmann you should never use a bomb. What you’d need is a thesaurus, an accurate history book, and a copy of Obama’s birth certificate. But that’s all I can say right now.