I know I’m not the only one who spends every nap time creeping around my house like a felon so the baby will sleep and I can ‘enjoy’ my me-time (aka trying to silently clean the kitchen, mop the floors and do the laundry . . . life is a carnival).
If you’re like me, you’ll be well-acquainted with this list of all the things that want to ruin your nap-time break.
1. The transfer
Beautiful baby angel is sound asleep in your arms but now you need to execute ‘the transfer’ to move the 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 my son was especially sensitive to movement (and light and sound and the tides and the goddamn 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, right? Except I couldn’t physically do this with both feet on the floor, so I ended up balanced like a seesaw on the railing of his cot, legs in the air, head pressed into the 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 us have stood there for what felt like HOURS, weighing up the pros and cons of wetting our pants versus waking the baby?
2. The creaky knee, clicky elbow, clacky wrist, squeaky shoulder …
. . . or any part of your body that betrays you by cracking like 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 your baby’s.)
3. 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. 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.
4. The creaky spot on the floorboards
That goddamn 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.
5. The bedroom door
The worst tragedy of all is getting the baby to sleep, only to wake them as you close the bedroom door. 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.
6. The doorbell
WHO RINGS THE DOORBELL? Villains, that’s who. Evil bastards who wait until you’ve put the baby down to ring that fecker loud and clear for the whole street to hear. This also applies to all the arseholes who have ever mowed the lawn during nap time. You horrible, spiteful, houseproud pricks.
7. The insane cat
My cat (like most) wishes my baby had never been born. That baby 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, will start wailing like an alley cat on heat. She is a mastermind.
I’m assured there are also some dickhead dogs who’ve written, ‘Bark like a cock-knocker!’ in their diaries for the exact minute the baby falls asleep.
8. The phone
Do NOT leave your phone on when you’re putting the baby down. My phone has been on silent for years. 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 our firstborn 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. Our house looked like a cross between a meth lab and a home for conspiracy theorists. But when you have a child who will only sleep inside a vacuum devoid 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 him and just want to take a peek. Because, honestly, what’s more precious than a sleeping baby?
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