If you thought the look on your teacher’s face was unimpressed when you told her you couldn’t finish your homework because the dog ate it, your baby sister ate it, your older brother smoked it or your mom used it as her TO DO list, wait ’til you tell your manager you couldn’t get a report done because the baby didn’t want to sleep.

Motherhood is another word for ‘desperate attempts to try and get baby to fall asleep and stay asleep’. On a good day I manage to achieve 50%. On a bad day I sit with a very irritated baby, 100 things I need to do and the nauseating fear that comes knowing none of it will get done.

And so, on those days, which are few and far between, when Ben has fallen asleep, we go to extreme measures, as only a mother knows how, to make sure he stays that way. For as long as possible.

I have been known to crawl past his crib with the stealth of a leopard and ninja-like finesse. Only looking up to make sure I don’t crawl into the chest of drawers. Again.

I have made the entire family, and visitors, switch off their cell phones, completely. Not even flight mode will do. There’s a very good chance the vibrations will wake him up.

We have watched The Wild and other soapies with the sound off, only reading the subtitles. And should anyone have the need to read out loud or move their lips, causing a wind, I have switched the TV off too. We’ve done the same thing with DVD’s.

I am on high alert, jumping from the couch to the front door every time I think there might be someone there, in case they knock too loud, shout to get our attention or set the dogs off.

I have tried to teach Emma to whisper. Unsuccessfully. As I whisper shhhhhhhh Emma, your brother’s sleeping, she has replied with a What did you say mom? I can’t hear you!

Nights when he’s asleep and I haven’t started making dinner we get takeouts. Banging pots and pans will create too much noise. The timer on the oven will give Ben a fright and the ‘ping’ of a microwave will jolt him out of slumber.

Our house is a little like ‘circque de so hell’ with us ‘tight rope walking’ across the floor, tippy toeing near the crib, twirling in a formation (okay, that’s just for fun really) and hop, skipping and jumping out the room in one skillful move.

I’ve lied to Emma, telling her her most noisiest toys have no batteries and that I’ll only be able to buy new ones in the morning. I’ve lied to Mark too, telling him that our bedroom toys batteries have been put in Emma’s toys.

I have sat, slowly turning blue, as I try to stifle a cough so as not to wake the sleeping prince up and I have had to catch my eyeballs as they have shot across the room, trying to sneeze without making a noise.

I have jumped around the lounge like a mime on meths trying to get the cramp out of my leg, waving furiously for Mark to help. He has mistaken it for a game of charades, yelling out the answer and yes, waking Ben up.

I have also used my cell phone as a torch, making sure the bright lights don’t disturb him, only to phone people at 2 or 3am accidentally. Of course he’s been woken up people yelling on the other side “Melinda! Melinda! Are you okay? Are you being attacked? Must I call 911?” Ch***t no! have you not heard how loud those sirens?

Once a party animal, I am now a party pooper, listening to the ‘doef-doef’ music of our neighbours, watching the clock, waiting for the cut off time, so I can don my slippers and night gown and bang on their door to tell them to keep the noise down. The exchange of ‘f*** you! No f*** you!’ between us has resulted in a wide awake baby and a wired mom.

I’ve played my own version of Twister, silently of course, without the grunting and groaning, as I attempt to pick up a sleeping baby, grab a blankie in one hand, two bottles in the other, toy monkey under my chin, dummy between my toes and aforementioned cell phone / torch under armpit. Only to drop one or all items (except baby), explete a little too loudly and wake baby up anyway.

So, what weird and wonderful things do you do to keep baby from waking?


2 thoughts on “The lengths, breadths and light steps I’ve taken to not wake Ben up…

  1. All I can say is that to shall pass. My girl is 2 and only now can normal life return. I can't even remember everything we did and did not do to get and keep her asleep. We have a 300 year old house with wooden floors so everything creeks a lot. So at 9 when she went to bed the whole house went into shut down, if something wasn't done it just wasn't done! And we were also in bed and god forbid if you had to go wee. I remember a phase when she was really small when she would only fall asleep to blaring miley cyris, neighbors must have thought we lost the plot, young baby and we can't even hear ourselves thinking. And if she ever fell asleep in your arms you were in for a rough ride if you wanted her to stay asleep, no laying her down, nope no moving for you, not even an little bit for a cramp or scratch.

    But it's all so much easier now, I put her to bed, kiss her goodnight and continue with whatever needs to be done.

  2. Thank you for a wonderful, hilarious post. I open the doors of all the cupboards I might use when my son starts to look sleepy. Heaven forbid one of them should creak!

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