On one of my Mommy Lists, someone is complaining about not getting enough sleep. And it's hitting my buttons. Americans who spend their entire youths living on no sleep and chocolate-covered espresso beans at their own choice, suddenly become hostile and whiney when they're getting more sleep on average, but broken up on their baby's schedule instead of theirs. It astonishes me how many people don't think about this when they decide to become parents. And it astonishes me even more how many crackpot schemes are out there for "managing baby's sleep". Fercryingoutloud, get over yourselves. In my Coastal Navigation class the other night, we were discussing the notion of ship's watches. Most people do something like four-hour watches, round the clock. You're up for four, sleep for four, up for four... and so on. Because someone needs to drive the boat, you know. I realized that I have never once ever in my life heard a sailor whining about missing sleep. So I asked the instructor about it. He just shrugged, and said "well, that's part of the deal. Watches are a seamanly thing, you just do them." Well, ya know what? Sleep in fragmented bits on odd schedules at unique times are a parently thing, you just do them. He went on to talk about how night watches are some of his most magical memories; where it's just you, and the sea, and the sky. Hey, even Crosby Stills and Nash did their realizing on a midnight watch, in the Southern Cross. There's a ton of literary and musical reference about the mystical revelations to be had on a night watch. I read a book recently about a woman who singlehanded a boat around the world in a race. She slept in 10-minute snatches, here and there, as she could. Now granted, I don't think anyone really wants to take it that far, but the point is, when someone's doing something utterly amazing like racing a circumnavigation, sleep deprivation is seen as cool and worthy. Well maybe, just maybe, sleep dep due to meeting your child's needs in the best way possible for the fifteen seconds (OK, maybe three or four years, but trust me, it seems like fifteen seconds when it's over) they're little, is something cool and worthy. Maybe if we all just stood up and said "I am one of those gnarly extreme round-the-clock parents", people would back off and oooh and ahhh. Or maybe, just maybe, you get rewarded at the end by your happily adjusted and fabulous child. And that's enough. So I'm heading off to take my turn at the Watch, with my babies. While I still can.