How Babies Do It:
There are a few lucky (oh, so lucky) couples with babies who seem to do nothing but sleep for the first six months. These are the ones who are still able to smile in public and continue to enjoy life through hopeful, optimistic eyes. Well, these babies are dumb, and their "parents" are not real parents at all. They are patronizing assholes, all of them.
If you have never been woken up at night, every hour on the hour for six weeks straight, then you have never undergone the complete ego-stripping necessary to turn you into a rose-tinted-glasses-wearing idiot when it comes to your kids. Your loss, guys.
My daughter did this to my wife and I around the third (and almost last) month of her life. How bad was it? Put it this way: When the mail guy asked me in passing what it was like being a dad, I broke down into tears and said, "I don't want to live. I actually wish I'd never existed." Which is probably the harshest thing you can say about another individual (love you, honey).
I would never actually summon Jareth (love you, honey), but having the option would feel nice (love you, honey).
There are of course laws against this kind of treatment, most notably the U.N.'s Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (written up, coincidentally, in 1984), which states that they wish to "make more effective the struggle against torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment throughout the world." But, evidently, babies have diplomatic immunity.
Here's the weirdest part. This is how babies make sleep-deprivation torture work: If we look at the psychological effects, we find that it causes brain damage, making your brain work much harder to perform routine tasks. You also get lovely side effects like decreased performance and alertness, memory and cognitive impairment, stressed relationships, reduced quality of life, and increased risk of occupational and automobile injury.
But when you do finally manage a night's sleep (i.e., when your child, like mine, has realized that maybe she's pushed you too far for too long and decides to give you a small breather)? That morning is like Dorothy arriving in Oz. I shit you not: Colors are more vivid, smells more fragrant, and tastes tastier after those seven glorious hours of deep REM sleep. And the weirdest sensation? An overwhelming love for all living things, including the little terrorist in the diaper. At that point, you will give your child anything she wants. Goal achieved.