I’m so sleep-deprived I’ve employed matchsticks to keep my eyes open, which might explain why they’re burning. Though a more likely explanation would be the fact I have two children under the age of four and haven’t slept since their date of manufacture. If you could buy sleep I’d be broke.
My darling daughter recently woke me at 2am. For a euphoric second I thought it was morning and we’d miraculously slept through. Then I realised it was a clear night and the moon was mocking me through the curtains. As usual, I tried to ignore her in the hope she would realise the absurdity of the hour and take pity on me. As usual, she didn’t.
Then things turned decidedly unusual. I could tell by the panic in her voice.
“Daddy,” she said, “I’ve got a sultana in my nose.”
I have been snatched from slumber for a variety of reasons, including the branch of the tree I was sleeping in giving way. Never has dried fruit in a facial orifice been among my first conscious thoughts, if in fact I was conscious. I sat on the side of the bed and held my daughter’s size three hands. Even mundane scenarios are confusing when your head has left the pillow but your brain is still upon it. Several possibilities fought their way through the fog:
1) We do have Sultana Bran in the pantry but surely she hadn’t been out there ferreting about or I’d have heard her.
2) Perhaps she’s dreamed there was a sultana in her nostril.
3) That doctor in W.A. who said parents should have children while still young wasn’t such as crackpot after all.
There have been some weird and wacky theories coming out of W.A. recently, including the racist implications of flying the Aussie flag from a motor vehicle, (excluding imported cars, I presume) and Dr. Barry Walters from Perth’s King Edward Memorial Hospital suggesting that having children at a younger age in life is better for all concerned.
Dr. Walters was widely criticised, though at times I think he is right. Times such as when – as a 40-year-old father – I am lowering my nine-month old son into his cot and that herniated disk in my lower back shrieks hello; when driving to work drinking Red Bull after another sleepless night, or when I can’t pick up my daughter for the pain of tennis elbow. (I can’t remember the last time I played tennis, but my elbow can.)
I should have had kids years ago, when I was indulging myself travelling the world or wasting time watching cricket. I didn’t have a herniated disk back then. In fact the only doctor I knew from W.A. before Barry Walters was the Fremantle Doctor, who I imagine would be the wrong one to go to for wind.
Life was a breeze back then, but I wasn’t married to the person with whom I hope to spend the rest of my life (if she forgives me for that wind joke) and surely that is better for our kids than the fact I creak in certain places and take longer to recover from a bad night’s sleep.