Ever heard of Sleep Deprivation Supremacy Syndrome? Of course you haven’t, because it doesn’t exist and I just made it up.
Actually, it does exist. Only problem is no scientist has been smart enough to sample a diverse group of 537 couples to get a margin of error that deserves publication in the esteemed Journal of Parental Malpractice. That’s why you can’t find out anything about SDSS on Google. And yes, I just made up SDSS because I’m ahead of my time in the world of modern medicine. I also understand the tenants of the vaunted acronym.
Because I believe every edition of our newspaper should help our readers learn something new, let me give you the basics of this Sleep Deprivation Supremacy Syndrome.
It starts with a husband and wife right about the time they welcome their first child into the world. As nearly every parent knows, the constant battle for sleep with a newborn (of which we currently have one in our home), begins the moment the hospital forces you to leave with your baby.
Once that happens, parents will go into any sort of routine to ensure all parties keep their sanity, while the newborn is technically nurtured according to Department of Child Protective Services requirements.
In our home, my wife Meghan works for a company that offers a gracious maternity leave. Because she is home with the baby during the day, we have an agreement that I sleep during the night and she sleeps whenever our daughter allows her. I go to work during the day; she works much harder.
This has been the arrangement with all three of our children, and for the most part, it has worked out swimmingly.
It all sounds so perfect, doesn’t it? The only problem is that the introduction of children into our home – and this has been going on for more than five years now – brings on early Sleep Deprivation Supremacy Syndrome. And now on our third child, the symptoms are getting a little out of hand.
Here are some of the symptoms of SDSS:
First, you begin shaving minutes off the clock.
Next, you start keeping closer track of those minutes as they pertain, specifically, to your spouse.
Then you start questioning whether things really even happened because you have no recollection of them at all.
For all you real medical professionals out there, I know this sounds like a combination of chronophobia, schizophrenia and amnesia, but you would be wrong. This has nothing to do with a fear of time, an inability to think or forgetfulness of anything. No, this SDSS stuff all comes with a very keen mind.
If this syndrome hasn’t become clear to all the parents with children, let me give you some specific examples.
A couple of days ago, I had to wake up early because one of my sons came in the room smelling like he had cleaned the walls of a Port-o-let with his pajamas. We are trying our best to reduce the number of diapers we purchase in our home because we’d like enough money to eat again, so we’re trying to get our oldest to start relieving himself in the actual toilet.
Hank, our oldest, walked in the room the other morning because he once again slept through his appointment with said toilet, and the coolness of his sheets drove him downstairs at 5:45 a.m. ready for the day’s activities.
As the good husband who realizes his wife needs sleep, I got up with Hank, grabbed the sheets off his bed, threw them by the washer (because there were already wet clothes in the washer), and started my day a little earlier than planned.
An hour later, when Meghan walked into the den, she asked how long Hank had been awake. I easily could have said 5:45, but I didn’t. I chopped off 15 minutes just for sympathy’s sake and made it a cool 5:30.
“I’m sorry,” my loving wife will say. “I didn’t even hear him come in the room.”
At that point, I don’t gloat. I just realize I could have told her 4:30, and she would have been none the wiser.
This sort of thing goes on all the time in our home. I know for a fact when my wife wakes up with one of our children because it usually awakens me, and she’ll lop off 10 minutes here and there because we’re parents and we’re on a race to sacrificing more than the other.
We all know how these white lies work. We get away with them once, and we start doing it again. It’s not like we need the extra brownie points at home, it’s just that we like piling them up.
This is the beginning of Sleep Deprivation Supremacy Syndrome. Last night, my wife said she got up with one of our sons at 2 a.m. I should believe her, but I have SDSS. I have no recollection of that event.
I even wondered aloud to a colleague about this syndrome, and he said it’s real. He and his wife sent their children to college years ago, and they’re still measuring each other’s sleep.
I don’t know why parents suffer from SDSS. But what I’d really like is for some doctors to start taking the syndrome seriously.
What’s going to happen – and I know it – is my kids are going to grow up too fast, and I’m going to start banging on their doors wanting to spend time with them. The siblings – our children all grown up with toilet functionality fully perfected – are going to tell mom and dad that we should get more sleep.