It’s Not All Mary Poppins

He’d Better be Sick, is all I’m sayin’

Have you ever despised someone you’ve never met?

I had an interview Monday night. Although I had made it clear that I prefer that the first interview occur without the child in attendance, mom brought the child.* A child’s presence at an interview is not generally so much of an issue if both parents are present, so that when one is tending to the child, the other can chat with me, but she came alone. She has a husband, but no mention was made of him.

During the interview, it came out that the child has serious sleep issues. Now, I am, as you all know, firmly of the opinion that children need their sleep. I also believe that by far the majority of sleep problems are completely solve-able. As she described her child’s sleep patterns and the steps she has taken to resolve them, however, I became more and more convinced that this child has a genuine sleep disorder. Even if it’s a learned behaviour, it is now severe enough that the family would do well to seek out a sleep disorder clinic. Of course I said as much, in an entirely supportive way.

Mom confessed to being completely exhausted. She is awake with the child almost every night, from about 1 a.m. to about 4 a.m., and then up for the day at six. Even if she goes to bed when her child does, at 8 p.m., she is getting, at best, seven hours of broken sleep, which is not as restorative as seven hours of solid sleep, and may well be an hour or so LESS sleep every night than she needs.

“This will change when you go back to work, though?” I suggest. “You and dad will take alternate nights, spell each other off?”

“Oh, you misunderstand,” she says. “I’ve been back at work for a year.”

She is working, dad is working, and yet dad has never once done the night shift. Never once.

Okay. So I can think of excuses for him. Maybe she’s one of these controlling, over-protective types. Maybe he has some sort of health problem. Maybe…um… Nope. That’s all I can think of. She either doesn’t let him (I don’t think it’s the case, but it’s possible), or he’s too sick.

If it’s not one of those, then he’s just an incredibly selfish jerk.


*My reasons for not having the child present are primarily two: when the child comes, a part of the interview occurs is of necessity taken up with tending to the child. Depending on the age, this can be more or less distracting; secondly, it is more efficient to bring the child to meet the caregiver only once you have narrowed it down – less stressful for the parents, less stressful for the child.

June 22, 2006 Posted by | parents, sleep, the dark side | 11 Comments