The Baby Diaries: Zzzzzombies….

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In hindsight we should have been better prepared for the zombie apocalypse. People tried to warn us that the end of the world was nigh but we laughed them off as crazy naysayers, doomsdayers, or Jehovah’s Witnesses. We too easily dismissed the words of those friends and family we should have trusted and we should have spotted the early signs that all was not as it used to be.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment it started, it crept up on us so gradually and was nothing like the films where one brain hungry monster’s bite induces instant cranial cravings of your own. But if I had to give a date I’d say somewhere around the start of August, around the same time of the arrival of the little being.

The little being came to us on the day of the Swiss national holiday and its arrival complemented the Swiss festivities for indeed it was a joyous occasion that warranted celebration, even if the advance preparations were a little traumatic for all concerned. The minute thing seemed so helpless and innocent that we were lured to it and felt an instant connection and bond that blinded us to what was coming. Perhaps we were naïve but perhaps under these circumstances no-one could have had the ability to foresee the great power that it already wielded over us now bound us in inescapable bonds. Whatever the truth of the matter our lives of servitude had now begun and there was no escape.

As I said, it came on so gradually, it wasn’t perceptible at first. It was only natural that after the little being’s grand entrance into the world I should want to zealously watch over it to ensure that no harm could befall it. Innocuously it passed the night in peaceful slumber and as the beard returned home and I was left alone in the hospital room I volunteered for the first watch, not knowing how long this watch would last.

When the man returned the following morning, I was only too pleased to report how well the small one had reposed. When left alone for the second night I eagerly anticipated another restful eve for the little being and thought it may be permissible to take my sensory leave and recharge my, by now slightly weary, human cells, but unwittingly I had made a fatal error.

It seems my mistake was in continuing to believe my life was still my own, to do with as I would like. I had not understood the full extent of the invisible contract I had entered into, in accepting the little being into our lives. It was our master now and it exercised its supremacy during the witching hours of that second night when demonstrating rest was an abstract concept that it alone could deploy or remove at will. Apparently it could do without sleep to teach me this valuable lesson.

I felt my humanity drifting away but I clung to a hope that some part of me still remained in the skin I managed to shuffle around in and that I could still recover my senses and return to the fully operational version of myself that had existed before the advent of the teeny creature. The cure seemed so simple, all that was required was a good night’s sleep, but was already now far beyond my reach.

When the beard and I took the little being home I hadn’t realised that the malaise I suffered from was infectious and that soon, he too, would be contaminated by the same dreamless machinations contrived by a titchy master that demanded our attention at any waking or attempted sleeping moment. As the days and nights blended into one interminable mess of hours we were dragged further and further from the mortal selves we had previously known. We became shadows of ourselves, barely functioning automatons that lived to service the being’s needs. We survived off the scraps of repose it may casually toss our way after duties had been fulfilled before its insatiable hunger loomed again.

In the battle of our will to sleep and its will to deny us that luxury it had the advantage. Its micro proportions meant that it could easily recharge and function on the short snippets of sleep it allowed itself, but two formally functional grown adults could not possibly reboot their necessary systems within these short time spans, even if they could turn themselves on and off in synchronisation with the tiny pest.

Even now we were so under the little being’s spell that the exasperations that should have rightly been laid at its door were misdirected at each other. From time to time emotions would erupt and accusations of deliberately avoiding duties along with occasional packet of nappies were hurled at each other as missiles of our snooze-deprived frustration.

We never thought we’d be the kind of people to cave so easily to terrorists but in the early hours of the mornings we begged our miniscule captor for release from our doze-divested state. In our attempts to negotiate with the petite extremist we promised it everything under the sun from limitless food provision, all the toys it could handle, 24-hour viewings of ‘Frozen’ on repeat and a free choice of naming any future pets or siblings no matter how ridiculous the consequences. But the little being was unmoved.

Secure in its domination over us, that we no longer had the capacity to resist, the little being allowed itself slightly longer rest periods, even as long as four and a half hours at times! Slaves that we were we rejoiced in its generosity as it gave us back a tiny fraction of that which it had forcibly taken from us at our initial subjugation.

And still the diminutive organism continued to toy with us. Whenever we thought we found a pattern to its strange dozing habits that we could adapt to in an attempt to recover a small semblance of our conscious selves, the little being would change the rules and intersperse new variations on its slumber(less) patterns.

The beard and I vaguely remembered that we had once had names and souls of our own as we shuffled past each other, dragging our feet and groaning in the early hours of the morning. If we had been given the opportunity we would have dreamt of sleep, but denied even this we continued to devote ourselves to the micro ruler’s will.

The zombification has overcome us and we are fully enslaved to the will of the little one. I fear there is no hope for a remedy that will return us to earlier days where we could lounge in a blissful siesta state for half a day or more. The best we can hope for in the immediate future is a six-hour snooze, should the little being allow us that we would be as happy as the walking dead at an all you can eat brain buffet.

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Rome wasn’t built in a day

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The common phrase ‘Rome wasn’t built in day’ is usually understood as saying great achievements don’t happen immediately. However, I wonder if maybe the phrase could be commandeered by people, all over the globe, afflicted by what can only scientifically be known as ‘night-person-afflictio’. Maybe ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, because it was actually built at night time by us under acknowledged night people.*

In case you were unclear the world is divided into two types of people: night people and morning people.

I fall into the latter category and feel that as a consequence I’ve been discriminated against all my life. Yes, that’s right almost since birth I have been subjected to night-personism and discriminated for my nocturnal-favouring tendencies.

When society was drawn up it was drawn up on the terms of morning-people, probably because they got to discussions first before night-people had woken up and made all the decisions before everyone was fairly represented.

Anyway, morning-people decided that society should operate on a timetable that suits their morning-loving proclivities and from the get-go we are forced to conform to the AM-people’s world, regardless of how well this is adapted to us unfairly persecuted night-persons. School, work, shop opening hours are all fixed in accordance with those pesky morning-persons who deiced that the day should generally start at 9am.

These morning persons cheerily start their days from 9am and by the time they reach mid-afternoon can start to doze off, confident that the best part of their day is already over. Us night-people, on the other hand are forced to garble through those horrible early hours, when all these important day-people’s meetings are taking place, and then by the time we are really raring to go, most early-risers have already mentally clocked off for the day.

I am all too enthusiastic when a weekend or public holiday approaches not for excitedly relishing a day of non-workingness but because I am pleased that I can stay up late completing whatever activity I’m trying to get done, without fear of being rudely awakened by a 7am alarm after not nearly enough hours of sleep. The early bird may catch the worm but the night owl catches the mouse.

Undeniably I am at my most productive between the hours of 10pm and 2am. During these four hours I am focused and can achieve so much more than I can during the entire 9-5 normal working period. It’s great to know at what time I will be at my most efficient. It is incredibly frustrating that my productive hours do not fit in with the morning-person shaped society I’m confined to live in.

The exception to the 9-5 schedulers, the lucky night people who escape such working sanctions are those that undertake shift work: the nurses, policemen, 24-hour opening grocery employees and so on. However night people shouldn’t be forced into certain careers because of their penchant for the hours of darkness.

Arguing that night people are catered for with employment opportunities because they can work in a limited number of professions is like saying women aren’t discriminated against because they can work as telephone operators or cleaners and they don’t need to take on any troublesome male dominated work such as managing banks or building bridges.

Even if those night-timers have happily chosen these professions that fit in with their ways they are still discriminated against by everything else being geared around morning-people’s schedules. If they have kids they need to get them to school at day time hours, if they need a dentist appointment they will have to schedule this for a time they should be sleeping. The whole system continues to be prejudiced against us creatures of the night, regardless of what time of day we work!

However, there is hope, a recent study concluded that students would learn better and employees would be more productive if the school and working day started an hour later. They are actually going to experiment in the near future on some sleepy students in Oxford to proved these theories night-timers have known as facts for many years. An extra hour in bed doesn’t go far enough but Rome wasn’t built in a day. This could be the start of a flexible working revolution that fits work to people and not the other way around.


 

*If you actually want to know where the phrase came from, this site seems fairly good: http://www.italiannotebook.com/local-interest/origin-rome-wasnt-built-in-a-day/ and in the 23.4 seconds it took me to find and peruse I can unequivocally and quite uncertainly say it looks fairly reliable so may or may not in fact be true.