What is the chance that my kids let me sleep tonight?

4:07am — "Am a I horrible parent?" You hug the pillow tighter around your ears to dampen the wails from the adjacent room.

4:09am — "Looks like she's not going to stop..." You zombie-shuffle along the hall to face the fury of sound in its rawest, unfiltered glory upon opening the door.

4:24am — "Sweet almost-sleep." After a mediocre comforting effort, you are back in your own bed. You wrap the blanket around you, nestle into your pillow, and begin to nod off just as the screams commence again.

4:46am — "Why did I become a parent?" After 2 successive visits, you realize there is no hope of anyone getting further sleep unless you sacrifice yours, so you contort your body alongside hers in the tiny bed.

Enter Child #2

5:04am — "Oh no..." You hear the clomping of your child-turned-elephant upstairs, who has somehow gone from a dead sleep into a Calistentics routine.

Enter Child #3

5:10am — "For fucks sake." Child #3 is apparently awake as well, and is arguing with Child #2 like a couple who is definitely not on the same page about the appropriate time to leave a party. Even though Child #1 is miraculously still asleep, you realize it won't remain that way unless you take action.

5:16am — "I think we've got it." After a sufficient amount of whisper-yelling, Child #2 & Child #3 are separated and quiet, so you head back towards Child #1's room.

Enter Child #4

5:17am — "I guess we're all up for the day" Before you can retrace the 20 steps back to Child #1's room, your shoulders slump in defeat as you hear the sonic version of the straw that broke the camel's back — "Daddy..." — from Child #4.

As I sit here, groggily attempting to convert my pain into art, I wish I could tell you how rare the above scene is. Four years into having four children, I've learned to accept the domino-like nature of having six people in a household.

And it got me wondering — what is the probability of a full night’s sleep for my family on any given night? How does that change over time? Do I want to even know?

So I went in search of my “Intro to Probability” textbook from college, made a metric ton of assumptions about sleep patterns, and created a little website to calculate the result:

Yes...this is my life...

Curious (or masochistic enough) to see the answer for your family? Click here to find out. To soften the blow, I did share a number of sleep resources alongside the calculator. Not that any of them will “solve the problem”, but this is certainly one of those “every little bit helps” type situations. Hardened parents tell me that “This too shall pass”...

...and in the meantime, godspeed to all you fellow parents of small humans out there just trying to make it...

I tuck you in, warm within, keep you free from sin...til the Sandman, he comes.


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