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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

the art of sneaking

Before I became a mother, I had a mental list of things that, as a parent, I would never do. I would never take a small baby to the State Fair. I would never let my child have dried-up boogers in his nose. I would never give my kid a pacifier until breastfeeding was well-established. And (this is the most important one, so take note) I would maintain a normal level of noise around the house while the child was sleeping, so that he/she would never require silence in order to stay asleep. Crazy how I used to know so much more about parenting back then.....ahem.
It all began on a rainy April day, as I recall. Henry had been cranky all morning, which was unusual for him. I had worked and worked to get him to nap and finally by about noon, he was asleep. I now needed to take a shower, get supper started, make my grocery list, and fold laundry before he woke up again. Because when you have a baby who lays happily in one spot on the floor and bats his arms at toys for long periods of time, how can you possibly get anything done while he's awake?!?! (Ah, the days before Henry was crawling, pulling up, emptying cabinets, and putting everything in his mouth. I had no idea. But, that's another post for another day.) Anyway, I was so relieved that he was finally napping, that I tip-toed out of the room just as Dameon was coming home for lunch. I greeted him with a "Shhhhhhhhh" and a look of desperation that said, "If you wake that child, I will cry and you will be punished," and the rest is history. I have successfully managed to create the lightest sleeping child on the face of the earth. Yay for me.
In the beginning it didn't seem like such a big deal. Henry was still sleeping in our bed and taking most of his naps with me or on me (in his sling). But around six months of age, he transitioned into his crib, and I quickly memorized every creaky floor board, squeaky door, etc. in our very noisy 1920's home. I mean, it's just common sense that you don't empty or load the dishwasher, get ice from the freezer door, turn the t.v. up past volume level 7, walk past the nursery door, flush the toilet, run a load of baby clothes through the dryer (those snaps are LOUD), or cough while the baby is sleeping. Duh! So, for those of you out there who live in an older home full of creaky hardwood floors, I've developed some ways to help you move around your home while your child is sleeping. But only if you must. And, if you're more of a visual learner, stop by my house (but not at naptime or after 8:00 p.m.) and I'll give you a little demonstration.

1. The tuck and roll. This move is most helpful when trying to get out of your baby's room without him seeing you. You want to basically melt to the floor like a limp noodle and then slither to the door on all fours, avoiding the places that will creak underneath you. It's also helpful to hold your breath. You can come up for air once the door is closed behind you.

2. The skate. You will minimize the creaking if you can slide your feet across the floor, rather than picking them up and actually taking steps. It's just common sense.

3. The straddle. Floorboards closest to the wall are the quietest, so if you can kinda straddle the hallway, you'll be much better off. Trust me.

Now, there are a couple things that can really throw you off. Once your baby is able to pull himself up, the crib ledge has to be raised. In my case, this has to be done after Henry is laid down because otherwise I'm not tall enough to lower him into bed. There have been many times when the clicking of the latch wakes him. I don't know what to tell you on that one. Secondly, your husband can be a real wild card. Dameon tries very hard to follow the rules of sneaking but he's got these wide feet that don't slide very well and tend to kinda slap the floors instead. He also tends to hover over the creakiest areas of the house. He says if he walks fast, it's quieter. We have differing definitions of "quiet". I mean, what guy wouldn't want to come home from a long day of work to be greeted with a "Shhhhhh" and pointing motion toward the nursery and then have to ask permission to walk to the bathroom or to the kitchen for a snack or glass of water?? Sounds relaxing to me.

*Yes, this post is written sarcastically to poke fun at myself for the dumb things I've done. So thankful I have a husband who puts up with my crazy antics! I've worked to tone it down a bit after Dameon said to me a few months back, "I think your shushing is going to wake the baby." Ha! We can laugh about it now. Live and learn, right? Oh, the things I won't do with our second child!! :)


Kelli B said...

Your post had me laughing out loud. Because this is TOTALLY us! Mostly me, in your shoes, and Marcus in Dameon's :)

We have a 1928 home and we have the same squeaky hard floors, mostly in the hall by Maebry's nursery. I have been caught doing all the things you listed. And it makes me laugh because yes, it works, but yes it's also on the ridiculous side :)

Happy parenting!!

Steph said...

Oh, this post is just great! I laughed through the whole thing and am still laughing. I love it!

The Blackley Tribe said...

I miss your sarcasm ;) I have one word of advice, and as much as you may not want to take it, it may be your only option with a second child. We have shamelessly embraced it in our house. Buy a box fan and put it on HIGH...all year round. You could also get a noise machine, but they're annoying when the power goes out, and not as loud. That's right, my boys are addicted to white noise!