Angels and Evil
Bill E. Branscum ©2001
Divorce is stressful, and dealing with babies is stressful,
but dealing with babies who won't sleep during a divorce
can really rock your boat. When you're tired, alone, angry,
broke, hurt and just generally miserable inside, you need
your sleep. Unfortunately, babies seem to choose the worst
possible times to keep us awake.
Sleep deprivation is insidious - as the days and nights
blend together, it makes you go quietly crazy.
It's stressful, and it does make you crazy sometimes, but
you cannot blame the babies. They are just sweet, innocent,
guiltless little angels, entrusted to us as our own personal
Like all blessings, we don't actually deserve them - they're
a gift we have not earned. At least that's what they'd like
for us to believe!
|At least at first, they want you
to believe that they cannot help it - keeping us up all night
is what they do. It's nothing personal, it's just their job,
and they are terribly good at it, but we come pre-wired for
it, so it isn't that difficult for them.
I say we are "pre-wired," because I personally
can sleep through almost anything. Rain, thunder and lightening,
dogs howling, loud mufflers . . . a third world revolution
could go on outside my bedroom window and I'd miss it.
I generally sleep like I'm dead, blissfully unaware, unless
and until a baby has that little hitch in their breathing,
a slight change in tempo, anything, or perhaps not much
of anything - suddenly, I'm wide awake. It's a wired in
vulnerability that afflicts us all as parents I suppose.
The little guys do what they do, and we do what we do,
and it's all okay - sort of. We get tired, cranky, perhaps
a little delusional, and maybe even a wee bit paranoid -
but we don't feel anything but tired. That's because we
are parents, we are loving, we are trusting, we are tired
- but we don't see what's actually going on. We don't see
it, until the day they see fit to show us.
|They wait till just the right time. I guess
we all know that feeling - you're exhausted to the point that
you don't even want to sleep anymore. Your mind begins to
get a little weird around the edges in those early morning
hours. As one becomes two, and two melts into three, we think
about things we resolved not to dwell on as we wait for the
babies to sleep.
I was to that point on that night of revelation when my
babies decided to show me what was really going on. I was
exhausted the night when my little guys slept straight thru.
I wasn't delusional, or paranoid; in fact, I was wonderfully
perceptive - unusually so.
I layed awake in utter silence, listening to that quiet,
rhythmic, peaceful chorus of baby breathing. Oh yes indeed,
I recognized it as the perfidiously devious, nasty thing
that it was - they were showing me, they wanted me to KNOW
they could do it! Truly, as I layed there fuming at their
wickedness, my mind was never clearer in my life.
Oh yes, it was clear to me; I saw it for what it was. My
malevolent little monsters were not content with keeping
me up all night, every night, every single night - night
after night after night after night . . . ummm, where was
Oh, yeah, I was telling you about the night that I first
saw what was really behind those eyes. I was telling you
about seeing past that phoney innocent sweetness thing.
I was telling you how evil babies are.
My little guys got together and conspired to sleep thru
the night. It was their plan - they deliberately denied
me my illusion that they were innocent. They showed me it
was all on purpose, they let me know they are evil, they
wanted me to see that they hated me, and see how they conspired
against me. In their wicked little way, they wanted me to
know that - that's why they gave me just one night's sleep!!
Oh yes, friends and neighbors, it was clear to me - they
weren't the only clever ones in this house. Those little
baby noises they made, those quiet little sounds they thought
I didn't hear, suddenly had meaning to me.
That quiet little "Babble, babble coo" became,
"Psssssst, hey Dookie, you do him from midnite ta
three, and I'll do him from three to six - Ryan's too tired
to help tonight, he had him up all night last night."
Then a barely whispered, "Giggle babble coo,"
but I understood it. "Yeah Meggie, did you
hear that scream of Ryan's . . . ha ha ha. Pops musta thought
Jason was here with his knife -- Ryan, ya gotta warn us
before you do that again!!"
It was war, guerilla war in the suburbs. I was under attack,
I was being tortured - maliciously mentally murdered and
nobody outside these walls knew what was going on within.
I was alone, it was them against me, it was goo-goo terrorism,
a junior Jihad. It was a hideously evil, nightly ordeal
and I knew it was never going to stop.
It was like aliens, or perhaps Elvis and the CIA, were
beaming signals into my brain. All of a sudden, Edgar Allen
Poe was making sense to me.
If this is making sense
to you we need to talk.
All kidding aside, going without sleep can make you crazy.
Lord knows, we have all been there, and we have all seen
nights when reality started to get a little hazy, and it
would have been unwise to choose anything Poe wrote as reading
I personally don't know why parents hurt their
children. I don't know what twisted thing can afflict a
parent's mind to the point that they hit them, or hurt them,
or leave them abandoned. I don't know how it would feel
to have evil seize your mind and make you hate your babies.
I don't know and I don't want to know.
I do know that your thoughts and emotions,
no matter how out of control they get are just that, and
just yours. It isn't about how you feel, or how you felt.
There is a limit, an edge at the brink of a precipice, and
I believe that most of us have been there a time or two.
There's no shame in that - we all get stressed.
It's all about what you do when you feel stressed
beyond your limits, and things start getting away from you.
Call your mom, your dad, a friend, a relative,
but call someone - anyone. If there is nobody else in your
life you can call, get out the yellow pages, look under
churches and call a Pastor; many publish their home phone
numbers. You will find that any Pastor, or similar representative
from any faith, who is worth a dime would want you to call
at any hour, especially at that particular hour.
I cannot give you an answer, but I can tell
you that although I am a devoted, loving father, I know
that dark little cul de sac called "Wits End."
I believe that people sometimes get totally turned around
and lost there.
Prayer may help you - I'd recommend it,
but I understand that many people are not thus inclined.
Whatever your faith, or lack of it, try repeating this
during those dreadfull wee hours of the morning. Perhaps
it will cheer you up a bit.
A Father's Prayer
Now I lay me down to sleep
In hopes, from you, there's not a peep
But I suspect, I soon will wake
To the sounds you little monsters make!
So far, so good, toward rest I slide
It's peace and quiet, so long denied
Across sleep's bridge I start to float
As noise, and stress, become remote
Fading, drifting, off toward sleep
In quiet stillness, prayed to keep
Ahhhhhh yes, to rest, to sleep, to dream
But nope!!; again that piercing screaaaaaaaaam
* * * * *
Don't hurt the little angels in your
life; help is a phone call away.
Bill E. Branscum & the Crew
Jeremy, Dook, Ryan & Megan