3.12.2011

the calculus of sleep

I think when you get right down to it, I get to blame Isaac Newton. In order to develop his various laws for motion and gravity he had to ramp up conventional mathematics into what we now know as calculus. I haven't taken calculus since high school and I wasn't particularly great at it then. Little did I know when I got pregnant that I should have started a crash course to bone up on my skills.


I knew vaguely that once I had a kid my relationship with sleep would be altered. But I imagined it to be a basic arithmetic problem:

(the amount of sleep that I would like to be getting) - (# of times I get up to nurse the baby)* (the time spent on the big rubber ball bouncing him back to sleep) = the new amount of sleep that I would be getting.

And for the baby:
(the length of each nap) + (the amount of time he sleeps at night) = the amount of sleep he gets in a 24 hour period.

Simple, right?
WRONG. So so wrong.
Instead of basic addition and subtraction my life now revolves around complex logarithmic functions where to calculate the amount of sleep I am getting you have to find the area under that tail of the curve that is approaching some infinitesimally small number. And that's the simple math.

When it comes to the baby? I don't even know if there is a name for this. There is probably some brilliant Eastern European mathematician holed up in a garret somewhere crumpling balls of paper and pulling out his hair trying to flesh out the laws & theories behind the math it takes to deal with the sleep habits of a 5 month old.

4 comments:

EndyFam said...

Somehow I managed to graduate from high school without taking calculus. But I've taken algebra 3x including college algebra (pre-SLC, of course!). When I first read this I was starting to feel dumb for not having had calculus but by the time I got to the end, I think my lack of mathematical thinking is saving me a lot of mental anguish!

Take heart, Mama! You WILL someday sleep again.

And I can say, by the third kid, I'm sure I get very little sleep, but I have completely given up on trying to figure out how much or even how long the stretches of sleep are...I'm just grateful that I got SOME and that, with a cup of caffeine or two, I can more or less function.

Wishing you many zzzz's.
xo

Courtney said...

Um, quit scaring the pregnant chick readers of your blog ;)

besquirrely.com said...

I love this, for so many reasons. I am reading this at 5:30 a.m. (really 4:30, damn time change) after being up with a 22 month old for an hour+. My hope for you is that a) your baby begins to sleep better than my baby and b) you don't begin to become a "morning=me-time, yah!" person like me. What have I become?! Sigh.

grace said...

Add to list of reasons for baby to stay awake: increasing awareness of how cool mom and dad are to be around, decreasing sleep intervals between meals, and really digging that bouncy ball play time.

Happy spring! grace