If you have ever talked to a parent who has a baby or has had a baby in recent memory the word “overtired” or “overstimulated” probably popped out of their mouth. If it didn’t, it was probably flashing in bright neon lights in their heads as they were manically trying to concentrate on what you were saying as they calculated the time since the last nap and how long they could stand there smiling and agreeing that yes, their baby is freaking adorable. (Please note: parents can’t hear this enough. It’s sad but true. It is our greatest weakness.)
For those who don’t have baby experience let me give you a quick rundown of what the heck it is I’m talking about.
“Overtired” is a synonym for “overstimulated” or, in full disclosure, it might as well just be called, “up too long and now you’re in for it.” It has nothing to do with the intensity of playing, how long they’ve been in a light room, or how many toys they’ve been exposed to. It’s so simple and so hard all at the same time: it’s just about time. Babies have a limited amount of time they can be awake before they become overtired and if you haven’t experienced this you might think, “oh cool! Overtired sounds great! They must sleep like angels!” Unfortunately…nope. Science is against logic on that one. Allow me to explain. First, it helps to think of babies not as little humans but rather as little bundles of human instincts. When babies become overtired their little instinct-laden brain goes, “oh my gosh! There must be some reason it needs to stay awake! Maybe a predator or something is coming! Let me help. I’ll shoot massive amounts of adrenaline to keep you awake no matter what, especially when you’re juuuust about to fall asleep.” [Paraphrased.] Which translates to a lot of crying if you don’t get the kiddo down to nap before they hit this state because they want to have been asleep, but now their brains won’t let them. This turns into crying for the parents, and so on, and so forth. The cycle is nearly endless.
In other words: it’s the worst. And in dealing with a state of overtired it dawned on me that it closely resembled something else that’s without question the worst: Time Warner/Comcast. I think we can all universally agree that this company is simply the worst. John Oliver has a perfect explanation so I won’t launch my own explanation of why exactly they’re the worst. Plus you already know this. I have yet to meet someone who, when asked about Time Warner/Comcast goes, “oh my! I don’t know what you’re talking about! I have had nothing but wonderful experiences with them! They provide all the services I need at a completely fair price.” Because that person clearly doesn’t exist. Whenever I even mention that company every person I have ever encountered, be it friend, family, stranger on the bus, random person across the room hearing the words “Time Warner/Comcast” that person immediately goes, “Oh, Time Warner/Comcast? They are THE WORST.” Because they are. The worst. Which is why I would like to now share with you why overtired is the Time Warner/Comcast of baby states.
1. Encountering it is inevitable
It’s an American adult rite of passage. At some point in your adult life you will encounter Time Warner/Comcast because you want something silly like the Internet or television. Even if you manage to eventually squeak your way out of it and find alternatives, at some point you will deal with them in an apartment complex that forces it, or you’ll try them first in your home. Worse, at first you will think – foolishly – as we all do, “They provide television and Internet and I want to watch television and cat videos. How bad could this arrangement possibly be?” That bad.
The same is true with an overtired baby. You can plan and balk at all of us before you have kids of your own that you will watch your baby like a hawk, find your particular baby’s overtired signs, and will soothe him to sleep without fuss…but you’re wrong. Because eventually you’re going to do something really stupid and selfish like go to the grocery store, take him to a doctor’s appointment, or fix dinner. And in the blink of an eye, your baby goes from happy to slightly tired, and then another blink, boom: overtired. It happens that fast. Unless you have a team of lactating ninjas surrounding the baby around the clock, your baby will become overtired at some point.
Eventually you learn to read your particular baby better and put him down for a nap before he hits overtired. Sometimes you may find that you can find other providers for television and Internet that bypass Time Warner/Cable. But at some point in your life you will have to deal with them, just like an overtired baby.
2. There is no reasoning possible
Babies, being the little bundles of human instincts that they are, are extraordinarily deficient in reasoning skills. Time Warner/Comcast execs/customer service representatives, for reasons I cannot possibly begin to fathom, are are also extraordinarily deficient in reasoning skills. No matter what you do, what you say, or what you beg for there is no reasoning possible. The baby will scream and cry, and the representatives will keep you on hold for hours at a time, or try to convince you there is no possible way to get what you want without some outrageous bundle.
Which brings me to…
3. There is clearly an easy solution the other side won’t ever see
You can tell your baby that if he would just allow himself to go to sleep his misery would be over. You can tell your cable company that if they would just allow smaller packages of television programming at reasonable costs people wouldn’t be leaving them in droves. But, as we all know, neither of these things is apparently possible.
The solutions are clear and simple, yet the only people who see them are the ones who have no power over the situation.
4. There will be tears involved
The sun will always rise in the East, and eventually you will cry after dealing with an overtired baby or Comcast/Time Warner for too long.
These things are the way of the world.