One Seattle father found a creative and scientific way to handle the sleep deprivation of having a baby: He created a meticulous blanket representing every moment of sleeping and waking during his children's first years.
The mesmerizing result shows the chaos of newborn days (and nights) gradually turning into a somewhat steady sleep and nap schedule. His daughter, now 2, inspired the purple-and-white blanket that charted her rest and waking periods.
"A visualization of my daughter’s sleep pattern from birth to her first birthday," Seung Lee, an I.T. specialist, tweeted in April. "Crochet border surrounding a double knit body. Each row represents a single day. Each stitch represents 6 minutes of time spent awake or asleep."
The 83-day design was completed using data from the @BabyConnect app, an infant tracker that archives behavior like eating and sleeping.
This wasn't the only time Lee took a scientific stab at parenting.
He did the same thing when his now-5-year-old son was born, tracking his sleep patterns with the same app to decrease his parenting anxiety, and created a blue-and-gray blanket.
“You can read as many books as you want and take in all the advice that’s given, but so much of that goes out the window when you have a crying baby in your arms in the middle of the night and you don’t know why,” Lee, 40, told TODAY Parents.
“My wife and I are like-minded about making decisions based on data so we both strongly committed to using a tracking app," he added. "It was sort of a relief that most of the time, babies are pretty predictable.”
Lee knew how to crochet, having taught himself 10 years ago to make stuffed animals for his nieces and nephews.
He realized though, the bulk of the blanket would have to be knit.
“Crochet stitches are much larger and don’t line up vertically as neatly as knitting does,” explained Lee, who taught himself to knit by watching YouTube videos.
"Blue is asleep and gray is awake on the ‘front’ side, reversed on the back," he explained of the color choice.
The blanket took almost four months to make and required 185,000 stitches in total. After working on it for 300 hours (excluding time spent strategizing) Lee completed the quilt right before his son's second birthday.
Despite his meticulous dedication, Lee admits sleepy oversights (on his part) irk him.
"There’s a bit of empty data at the beginning because those first few days were rough," he tweeted. "I wrote some of it down but it never made it into the app. The incomplete data breaks my heart and will haunt me for the rest of my life."
After finishing his daughter's blanket this year, Lee revealed them side-by-side. "It's really striking to see how different the patterns are despite both having the same progression of chaos coalescing into distinct nap times," he tweeted.
Lee's children are in school now and with Halloween approaching, the pressure is on for this creative dad.
"I am trying to make my son a costume based on a character from the Super Metroid video game," said Lee. "First, I need to learn how to work with foam rubber."