Before I had my daughter, I was determined that I would make as much noise as I pleased while she slept. She’ll need to get conditioned, I told myself. I’m going to take up playing the cymbals and have my marching band walk right through our hallway during nap time. I was not about to raise a child who was a sensitive sleeper. Nope. No siree. My daughter would learn to sleep through everything.
Poor, stupid, naive, pre-baby me. Here’s the thing about babies: Some sleep well, and others don’t. My daughter: not a great sleeper. So when I finally get her to stop protesting, worming her fingers into my mouth, sticking things in my nose (or both) and to close her eyes, there is no way on this green Earth that I’m going to jeopardise that.
In fact, the way post-baby me chooses to deal with bedtime is with a vow of silence and some pretty sleek ninja moves. Sure, if I forget to close my blinds, my neighbours might think I’m shooting a messed-up music video, but hey, as long as my baby is snoozing, that’s A-okay with me.
In this I know I’m not alone. All over the world, sleep-deprived parents are slivering, rolling and crawling their way to success. Not quite there yet? Here are some moves you should add to your bedtime routine arsenal:
1. The worm
Gently sliver out of bed and across the floor until you’re outside the door and well out of sight. Try to muffle the sound of your getaway with plenty of belly-floor contact.
2. The replacement
Mould a pillow into a vaguely human shape, hold your breath, and gently nudge it under your baby’s hand while removing yourself from her grasp. Don’t exhale until it’s been accepted and you’ve left the room… or maybe 30 minutes after that.
3. The hum-out
Start humming your favourite lullaby, and moonwalk out of the room, taking the melody with you. Continue to hum even when you’re in another room. Don’t stop humming until morning breaks, or suffer the consequences.
4. The tippy-toe
Once you hear little baby snores, make like a ballerina, and swan out of the room on pointe. Sink into a deep pile anytime the baby stirs. Wear a tutu for funzies.
5. The stop, drop and roll
Roll for your life, and don’t stop until you’ve cleared the living room.
6. The bolt
Go for broke, and just run out, leaving nothing but a pleasant gust of air where you stood seconds before. Then cross your fingers, and hope the baby didn’t notice.
7. The dash and hop
Squeaky floor spots may as well be land mines to a sleeping tot. Dash, dive and hop around them like your life is dependent on it (because in a way, it is).
8. The crawl
Drop to all fours and, in the most graceful way possible, crawl out of the room.
9. The splat
If the baby stirs even a little bit, drop to the floor flat on your face, and don’t even think about moving.
10. The text talk
While your baby is asleep, any and all communication is to be conducted via text — even if you’re in the living room and your partner is a millimetre away from your face. “Honey, could you please move down a bit? You’re too close to my face.” Send.
11. The daydream
In your head, you are on a tropical island, with a cocktail in hand and waves lapping at your feet. In reality, you’re still in bed with your baby, because she rules the house, and you know it.