Zombie Surgeons

I turned in a pretty lackluster day today substitute teaching. The class itself wasn’t the issue. They weren’t perfect – what second grade class has perfection – but on the whole they were better than expected as students of the school in question and given a gender imbalance (2/3 boy) that always makes me nervous.

But I was exhausted. I have been for several days now. I’ve been getting less than six hours of sleep a night for almost a week not. My days over the last couple have included some exhausting chores (driving a lot of miles in uncomfortable conditions). It was hard to keep moving around the room (and second grade demands it). I had a lot of difficulty retaining any sort of focus.

On the drive home, I was reminded of the things that my wife, and doctors like her, are expected to do on a lot less cumulative rest than I’ve had.

It’s a rather good thing that she is taking the maternity leave she is in light of the newborn coming our way later this month. I hear newborns sometimes cut down on quality rest.

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


  1. After the first week, you shift fully into combat operations mode and you get by.

    You’ll feel pretty stupid and slow for the first four months, though.

  2. One of the really neat things about new babies is that every time you begin to feel like it’s a total drag, they learn to do something else new and cool. An episode I remember clearly after almost three decades was feeling overwhelmed by our firstborn at some point — and then he started smiling at me!

  3. I hear newborns sometimes cut down on quality rest.

    It varies wildly. My daughter wasn’t the best sleeper, but my son was sleeping though the whole night peacefully after a mere 18 months.

  4. Take the night shift, Will.

    Seriously, if Clancy breast-feeds have her pump some for you to give the tyke for night feedings. It will be the best time you ever spent up at 2 a.m. in your life. It’s an incredible way to bond with your baby, and your wife will love you forever for it.

    I was taking classes via Internet and living off of GI Bill and student loans when our last was born, so I had a VERY flexible schedule. Some of my most precious memories.

  5. My wife used to come in from teaching school, absolutely exhausted. She’d trudge up the stairs, lie down and watch television. I never thought this was a good coping strategy. There’s a trick to getting by on less sleep: sleep well. Get a nap when you can, even a few minutes here and there is good.

    Every child is difficult in their own way. My first was colicky and I declare those few days aged me a decade. There’s some research which shows babies evolve their cries, modifying them to a maximally irritating tone and volume. The same is true of the affection they’ll give you. Babies are results-oriented it seems. There’s really a person inside of that li’l bunde, each baby has a personality. As bad as it is to be a new parent, it’s no less difficult to be a new baby, coming to terms with all these new needs, especially with new parents who are unaccustomed to providing solutions to those needs.

    It’s a truism to say they grow up so fast, but children do grow up fast. Faster than we as parents were able to cope with those changes. No sooner do you get good at caring for an infant, they become crawlers, then toddlers. Oh, by the way, it’s not Terrible Twos. Two is adorable. It’s Terrible Threes. Every other year, my man, two and four and six and eight are especially wonderful years. Well, five was very good, too.

    Don’t lose sight of yourself as a husband in the process of becoming a parent. I remember yelling at my son one time, “Now you listen here, young man, of all the relationships in this house which matter, the one between me and my wife comes first by a country mile. It’s the one which brought you into existence.”

  6. On the drive home, I was reminded of the things that my wife, and doctors like her, are expected to do on a lot less cumulative rest than I’ve had.

    Which once again calls into question the medical profession’s use of residency sleep-deprivation hazing as part of its initiation process.

Comments are closed.