I just fell down the stairs. Hard. Can you break your arse? Pretty confident my bum bone is shattered.
My foot slipped on the edge of the step and down I went. Despite the almighty crash and the searing pain in my behind, I didn’t make a squeak. All I could think was “Oh god, don’t wake up, don’t wake up.”
Because I’d just put my child down for a nap and nothing, not even a shard of arse bone piercing my glute could bring me to wake him.
Thud is what mums euphemistically call ‘not a great sleeper’ which is code for ‘my eyes burn with an exhaustion so fierce I can taste colours.’
But today, in a miracle that was surely blessed by the Virgin Mary (maybe Jesus was a shit sleeper too), Thud kept sleeping.
As I picked myself up from the Three Stooges style stack, I laughed at the lengths I have gone to, to make sure he sleeps.
I know I’m not the only one who spends every nap time creeping around the house like a felon so the baby will sleep and you can “enjoy” your me-time (aka trying to silently clean the kitchen, mop the floors and do the laundry. Life is a fucking carnival around here!).
If you’re like me, you’ll be well acquainted with this list of nap-time evilness:
Beautiful baby angel is sound asleep in your arms but now you need to transfer baby from your arms to the cot. Cirque du Soleil could start a new show based on the contortionist acts performed in nurseries around the world because mothers will turn themselves inside out to do this without waking the baby.
When Thud was especially sensitive to movement (and light and sound and the goddamn tides and the gravitational pull of the earth), I would lower him down with my chest still touching his face, so he wouldn’t wake from the sudden change of temperature. Sounds reasonable? Except I couldn’t physically do this with both feet on the floor, so I ended up balanced like a see-saw on the railing of his cot. Legs in the air, head pressed into mattress to stop me suffocating my son. Picture it. It’s humiliating.
Don’t even get me started on rescuing your arm from under that baby. How many of you have stood there for what felt like HOURS, weighing up the pros and cons of wetting your pants versus waking the baby?
The creaky knee, clicky elbow, clacky wrist, cracky shoulder…
Or any part of your body that betrays you by cracking like a buckshot as you lower your sleeping babe into the cot. It’s the ultimate heartbreak when your own body lets you down. It’s impossible to avoid and always seems to happen right at the moment you think you’ve succeeded in The Transfer. Just as you move away from the cot – POW! Cue the tears. Yours and baby’s.
Sound/ frequency waves?
Or whatever it is that makes you aware that someone is close to you – or someone is moving away. You know how the air sort of changes when someone is in your personal space? That’s how babies know when you’re walking away from the cot. From the depths of slumber they’ll know when you’ve taken a backwards step. The only solution is to walk so slowly you feel the earth shifting under your feet. You might make it to the door by the end of the nap.
The creaky spot on the floorboards
That fucking creaky spot must be avoided at all costs. If necessary, you’ll turn yourself into Spiderman and climb the walls to get around it. I swear I levitated once.
The bedroom door
The worst tragedy of all is getting the baby to sleep, only to wake them as you close the bedroom door with a bang. I now have advanced skills in silent door closing. The bomb squad has nothing on me. I can close a door so gently that the door itself doesn’t realise it’s closed.
WHO RINGS THE DOORBELL?? Villains, that’s who. Evil bastards who wait until you’ve put the baby down to ring that fucker loud and clear for the whole street to hear. This also goes for all the arseholes who have ever mowed the lawn during nap time. You horrible, spiteful, house proud pricks.
The insane cat
My cat (like most) wishes Thud was never born. He stole all of her attention and affection. She wishes him ill, I’m sure of it. She will sit outside his room and as I open the door, she’ll start wailing like an alley cat on heat. She is a mastermind.
I’m assured there are some dickhead dogs who’ve written “bark like a cock-knocker” in their diaries for the exact minute the baby is asleep.
Do NOT leave your phone on when you’re putting the baby down. Your own stupidity will lead to a serious case of self loathing. Or it could permanently damage your relationship with the poor unfortunate soul who decided to ring you at that exact moment, because they should have known you were putting the baby down. My phone has been on silent for the past 15 months. Seriously. I don’t even respond when I hear a ringtone anymore because my phone only vibrates. I’ve learnt my lesson.
We moved into a brand new house when Thud was four months old. It was a couple of months until we managed to get some blackout blinds installed. In the meantime? Aluminium foil and cardboard boxes. We looked like a cross between a meth lab and a house of conspiracy theorists. But when you have a child who will only sleep inside a black hole vacuum of light and sound, you won’t mind looking like degenerates.
This one’s the hardest of all to defeat. Even if you’ve used your mad ninja skills to transfer that baby and you’ve made it out of the room in ear-popping silence and you’ve avoided the cat and the phone and the doorbell… nothing can stop you from getting outside the door and suddenly, irrationally deciding you need to walk back into the lion’s den to check your baby is lying on his back. Or that his sleeping bag isn’t suffocating him, or that he’s warm and breathing…
Or because, despite fighting for an hour to get that baby to sleep, you suddenly miss them and just want to take a peek. Because, honestly, what’s more precious than a sleeping baby??
What lengths have you gone to to avoid waking your baby? Or am I alone in my insanity??
P.S If you came here actually looking for advice on getting your baby to sleep try:
This article over at Sweet Madeleine made me cry with relief that I wasn’t failing as a mother.
I also love this one with practical advice from the amazing Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim.
Why don’t you head on over and like The Thud on Facebook so you never miss a post!