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There’s a debilitating ailment sweeping throughout our house. One that leaves you completely exhausted, but won’t allow you to rest. It’s symptoms are exacerbated by these tiny creatures. Let’s call them Energy Vampires. Once they get a hold of you, there’s no going back. Ah, parenthood.

It’s fitting that this post comes near Halloween. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the Energy Vampires I speak of are my children. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. They are the reason I get up in the morning (along with the rest of my family). But golly gee willycats it’s been an exhausting few weeks. In fact, I don’t think we’ve been able to get on a normal sleep cycle since before Kiersten injured her back in mid-July!

The only evidence Maddox was supposed to be an elephant.

The only evidence Maddox was supposed to be an elephant.

One of the biggest causes for exhaustion and frustration was Maddox’s Halloween costume. We had a difficult time narrowing down what to dress him up as. Lawn gnome, homeless man, ghostbuster were a few that were thrown out there. But we finally decided on the thing Maddox loves most in the world: Elephants. Kiersten spent all day Saturday making ears and a trunk to transform Maddox into an elephant. While he would occasionally wear the trunk, the ears were out of the question. As soon as they went on his head, a temper tantrum ensued. We tried for three days to get him to wear his costume, but he ended up yanking everything off relatively quickly. Obviously, Kiersten was heartbroken and upset that Maddox wouldn’t wear the awesome pachyderm accessories she had made for Maddox. Finally, we caved. We went out and bought him a monkey outfit. And while we didn’t get the satisfaction of making his costume by hand, he looked absolutely adorable in his costume.

He turned out pretty cute in that monkey outfit, complete with a banana.

He turned out pretty cute in that monkey outfit, complete with a banana.

Kaelynn, on the other hand, let us put on her costume with ease (it’s not like she could tell us she didn’t want to wear it). She was an absolutely adorable giraffe, another of Maddox’s favorite animals. She had no problem wearing her costume, it was more an issue of letting us take a picture of her. As soon as we were ready to take a picture, she would just scream her little lungs out. In fact, it seems like every time we want to take a photograph, she wants nothing to do with it. It was torture trying to get a picture at Kiersten’s family’s retreat on the Rainbow River in Dunellon. But that’s a whole other story. All we wanted was one good picture with the kids, but you know what they say about the best laid plans. I’ll tell you what, though. Those kids with those little tails were incredibly cute.

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Look, I am so incredibly thankful for my children. Even though they suck the energy right out of me, they usually allow us to sleep between midnight and 7 am. Most of you parents out there are saying, “What are you complaining about! That’s a ton of sleep!” But it’s not just that. We’ve been doing activities with two children every spare moment we can. Kiersten has pushed herself, probably too hard, to make sure Maddox and Kaelynn don’t miss out on any of the weekend activities like pumpkin patches, trips to Lowry Park Zoo, and other fun activities. But the constant running has definitely taken a toll.

Now,┬áKiersten has gone back to work, albeit part-time. She still leaves the house in the late afternoon and comes home some time after midnight, which has cut into her sleep time. I’ve been extremely busy with my work. That leaves one of us with two kids. So much for man-to-man coverage. Zone defense is in effect, and it seems like we don’t have the right scheme. It’s definitely not easy to watch two kids, even though only one is really moving around. Kaelynn still requires a lot of attention. I don’t have the necessary parts, so I need to try to plan to feed her. Her meal usually coincides with our meal, and that just creates issues for us.

If Kaelynn’s not eating, she usually has to be in one of our arms, although she is getting much better being on her own as of late. We don’t have a minute off, except when we go to bed. And as soon as our heads hit the pillows, we’re out. Ever since Kiersten has gone back to work, however, Kaelynn has been waking up in the middle of the night hungry. I don’t know whether the bottles I feed her just aren’t the same amount as the milk straight from her mother, or if something else is going on, but you can count on her getting us out of bed at least once during the night. Maddox and Kaelynn were sick a couple of weeks ago, and that may have something to do with the shorter periods of sleep. They both still get woken up by coughing fits. But man-oh-man it’s definitely sucked the energy right out of us.

These little Energy Vampires have definitely caused sleep deprivation as of late, but I’ll tell you something: I wouldn’t trade them for anything else in the world. All-in-all, I have two of the best, sweetest kids I know. I may be a little biased, but these energy suckers make it all worthwhile.

Finally, a picture where both kids are cooperating!

Finally, a picture where both kids are cooperating!

Suffering from sleep deprivation? Have something you’re struggling with as a parent? Leave a comment or #DishingDaddyhood on social media!