Who turned my daughter into a ninja? No, honestly now, come on. Who did it? Who has instilled in her the ability to hear a feather dropping in Outer Mongolia – particularly when it’s lights out?
Things in the sleep department have improved of late for us, a welcome development considering we weren’t blessed with the best dozer. But recently the munchkin has decided a foot brushing the carpet in her room is like holding a dozen Dyson vacuum cleaners directly above her in the cot. You can get her off to sleep, snoring soundly and even put her down on her mattress with a bit of a bump but woe betide you leave the room with anything short of outer-space silence.
The slightest emission of sound from your trouser legs glancing against one another is the equivalent to clashing cymbals through a megaphone millimetres away from her ears. Such a rumpus prompts a shocked snort as she sits up to assess the completely unchaotic scene of one of her parents tip-toeing out of the room – trying their best to walk on air in the blacked-out blind darkness.
Even though the sleep situation is far less challenging now, it’s still amazing when we have the grandparents staying. Thankfully they’re willing to haul themselves out of bed at the crack of dawn and look after the little one whilst me and my wife catch up on some shut-eye. But there’s a catch. If they’re staying with us, we have to sleep in the same room as the munchkin.
I only realised the other day how laughable the process is – basically because both of us have to enter the bedroom without waking the sleeping lion up. It would look ridiculous to an outsider. We get changed in the hall, turn the lights off and then alter the brightness on our phones to make sure we’re not on full beam. Then, once we’ve opened the door – moving the handle slowly for the first part and quickly for the second to reduce the cracking sound it recently developed – we enter. Once inside, one of us makes a silent bee-line for Ewan the sheep and we carefully press the front right hoof. Not the front left one, no, only the front right one. And don’t ask me why this doesn’t wake her up but a butterfly farting in Honduras would.
So far, so good. We have a womb music background to help disguise the trickiest task of all – our entry into the bed, which – don’t worry – doesn’t have the feather duvet on as that would obviously rustle too much. Even though we’ve put additional wooden slats on the bed to support the metal structure – it still creaks. Movement must be kept to a minimum once you’re atop the mattress to avoid a noise equivalent to a sonic boom in the ears of my samurai daughter.
Mine and my wife’s styles differ here. I go for the ‘try and lay as much of your body down at the same time in one movement’ method. In my humble opinion, this leads to fewer creaks on initial contact but can leave me stranded in a position akin to an insect suffering muscle spasms. I’m normally holding a glass of water and my phone too, which I need to put down between the bed and the wall, and so there’s often still work to be done. My wife goes for the ‘I’m going to just sit on the bed really quickly and hope the short but slightly louder creak doesn’t wake her up’ method. Timing this with the upswing in Ewan’s wondrous, wombly chorus leads to a stronger correlation with success.
But even if we don’t wake the munchkin up, it takes me at least 20 minutes to come down from my Krypton Factor-esque, Mission Impossible-style challenge – not least because all I can hear is that bloody sheep until he switches himself off.