Sleep deprivation for kids


Like idiots, we agreed to take our daughter out to dinner with friends this evening, starting at exactly the time when she’d normally be going to bed. A meltdown loomed…

We also agreed to bring some dinner with us: a casserole, freshly baked, and then eased into a makeshift pizza box created from,the container our internet router came in, a towel and aluminium foil. My wife cooked, while I tried to mind our daughter.

When she’s tired, her balance goes and she starts falling over. Today, she flung herself at the coffee table and missed, then walked behind the sofa and went down flat on her face. After the wails had abated, I wheeled her downstairs, where the comforting and familiar sight of octogenarian men in vests, smoking cigarettes, calmed her down as reliably as it always does.

We got a taxi to our friend’s place, half the island away. La Serpiente Negra cried all the way there.

She forgave us eventually, about the time we arrived at the apartment, and she remained cheerful for the entire evening, running over to try to drink out of the dog’s bowl, leaving smeary handprints on every glass surface in the apartment, and otherwise being quite adorable. I had half a glass of red wine (just enough to get me in a grumpy mood) and by then almost three hours had passed, and it was time to take her home again.

For a change, I got to accompany her in the back seat. My wife thought this was very funny, and kept handing me more and more accoutrements to distract the child, as if an iPad, a bottle of water, a blanket, two boxes of snacks and a phone weren’t quite enough for me to deal with. I braced myself for half an hour of screaming, but instead, after I’d played her the same video of her walking ten times, she passed out cold and slept all the way home. The power of repetition? The stench of booze on my breath? The singular lack of any milk that she could possibly hope for? I’ve learned not to question miracles when they come.


2 responses to “Sleep deprivation for kids”

  1. Oh, when your *daughter* is tired her balance goes. Thought you were talking about your wife. When I am tired my balance goes.

    • When I’m tired my mental balance goes completely. But that’s another thing entirely…

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