Sharing a room with a baby is great, for a while. You can watch them as they sleep, feel safe in the knowledge that they’re by your side and you can hear every murmur and sigh. What’s not so great is that they can hear your every murmur and sigh and so you have to spend any waking bedroom moments holding your breath and attempting to paralyse your own muscles so that you don’t inadvertently rustle the duvet or knock the bedpost with your elbow. Because any noise you make will be the wrong kind of noise. For some reason, babies can fall asleep to the sound of a hairdryer or a jetplane taking off but if you drop a paper clip on the bathroom floor three rooms away they suddenly develop supersonic hearing.
Now that we’ve moved the baby into her own room, noise-related waking incidents have been reduced to a minimum, but the memory of having to tiptoe to the toilet like a comedy burglar is still fresh in my mind. Here are five things that (will) might happen just as you’ve got your baby to sleep:
- Your phone will make a series of beeps because your Mum is texting you. And Mums can’t just send one long, considered text, they have to send a series of them, one after the other, reeling them off as they think of new things to say or make complicated amendments to the previous texts. And the texts never make any sense because Mums seem to trust autocorrect implicitly and don’t feel the need to check its evil workings. “Hello dear! The wallpaper is a NO but H has built a pudding in the skatepark so don’t joggle on the cakestand or the rrri will bnt.” BEEP BEEP!
- If it’s in the daytime, someone from Amazon will come and deliver a parcel. But if your Amazon man is like my Amazon man, he won’t be able to ring the doorbell once like a normal person, he will feel the need to ring the doorbell three times and knock on the wood of the door simultaneously, like the one-man-band of door knocking. He may as well go to the back of his van, pull out the world’s biggest percussion mallets and play your trellis like a xylophone or strike your dustbin like a gong, or play bongos on your windowsill, just to make sure you’ve heard that he’s downstairs and he’s waiting.
- You will sneeze, cough, or belch. True fact: I have only burped or belched a handful of times in my entire adult life. I’ve tried, believe me, because nothing beats a well-timed burp for comic effect, but I simply can’t do it. Perhaps my plumbing is wrong, I don’t know, but I can tell you that one of those handful of burps happened just a couple of months ago and it woke up the baby. The irony! I was creeping in to check on her in her cot and leant over slightly to touch her face and – just as my head was entering the cot-space – a huge belch was forced from my mouth! I was speechless! The baby cried for ages. It must have been a bit of a shock, to be fair. It was quite loud. Coughing is the worst though; I’ve had three separate coughs since I had the baby and trying not to cough when they’re asleep is like trying not to cough in school assembly. You can cough once, that you can get away with, but don’t think you can keep on coughing. That’s just pushing your luck. You have to swallow it back like a mouthful of ants, or a ball of tangled hair, depending on the cough severity, and you have to lie there making that weird, strained, no-cough noise until it finally bursts out.
- You will tread on a toy. But it won’t just be a squeaky toy like in the adverts (haha! He was trying to be quiet and he trod on the robot and it spoke!), it will be a complicated “learning” toy that is as difficult to extract your foot from as a bear trap. Attempt to shake it free and it will only grip harder; calmly lean down to switch off the speaker and it will, instead, increase its volume. “I’m a fluffy moo cow all day long, I’m a fluffy cow and this is my song!” You might tread – if you’re especially unfortunate – on something that sings, flashes lights and has velcro on it. Then you must do the special emergency extraction dance, looking like Lee Evans on acid, mouthing “FOR F*CK’S SAKE” as you take long, hopping strides towards the safety of the exit, tripping over the cord of the baby monitor and knocking the mirror from the wall.
- Your duvet, which pre-baby seemed like a harmless, inanimate household object, will become your worst enemy. You will never know how crinkly and rustle-y a duvet can be until you try to get under one when a baby is asleep in the room. Imagine trying to slide yourself into the world’s largest crisp packet whilst wearing cellophane pyjamas. Or stealthily drop down to hide yourself in a ballpool filled with maracas. Neither of these tasks are a patch on attempting to settle down to sleep beneath a John Lewis All Seasons duvet. Ditto popping a Strepsil from the foil packet: you may as well try to storm the White House riding an elephant with an army of cymbal-playing monkeys as your lookouts.
Any other things that happen when the baby has just gone to sleep? Please do add them below. I’ll just have to try and remember not to read them whilst the baby is asleep, because that would be ironic…