Friday, March 27, 2009

The Evolution of my Ears

When I was young, I played in my neighborhood with my friends until well after dark, hollering and screaming and making an unearthly racket. When I was young, I listened to music so loud in my car that the windows rattled and I danced and sang along. When I was young, I would make snide comments about old people who wanted it quiet and went to bed at 8pm. Old people who would come out of their musty houses, shaking their fists at us and telling us to shut up.
I know exactly when I made the transition from young to old. It was when I had a baby. Noise became the enemy. That tiny baby girl fought sleep like Rocky Balboa. I spent so much time leaning over the side of her crib to get her to go to sleep that my back became hunched over and it became necessary to hike my pants up to the bottom of my ribcage to keep them from falling off. I sprouted some grey hairs. My eyebrows lowered until they almost obscured my sight. I became permanently grouchy. I was OLD.
Most of my day consisted of “Putting The Baby Down“. Usually, the process would go something like this: I’d lay her down in crib and give her a pacifier. She’d spit it out and pop up to have a look around. I’d lay her head back down, give her the pacifier, and rub her back. She’d raise up, spit the pacifier across the room, and wail at me. This would go on for at least 30 minutes. Finally, her eyes would start to close. I would hold my breath. She’s….ASLEEP! I would tiptoe out of her room, but alas! I forgot about the squeaky patch in the floor! Damn! Her little fuzzy blonde head would pop up and she’d say to me, “Just WHERE do you think YOU’RE going?“ I’d hang my head and skulk back to the side of her crib for another round of pacifier hockey. When she was finally asleep and I had leapt, ninja-like, across her room, avoiding the squeaky patches and closing the door, anything and anyone that made noise above one decibel was in danger of being destroyed by a bloodshot-eyed, sleep-deprived, new mother. The lawncare workers who started mowing at 6am got the scare of their lives when I burst out my front door, howling for them to beat it or I’d suffocate them with their clippings bags. Shouting children on bikes would watch as my curtains were snatched back and my snarling face appeared at the window, daring them to keep it up. My husband knew that even though he needs the TV volume up at unreasonable levels to be able to enjoy his viewing experience, to do so when the baby was asleep would be taking his life in his hands. Any neighbors who had the unmitigated gall to throw a party and play loud music had the cops called on them, even though a year before I’d been one of the loudest guests. I have never claimed to be fair.
Later, when my daughter was 3-½, I had my son. Like his sister before him, he acted like taking him to his crib for a nap was leading him to the guillotine. I was once again the zombie mother, and it didn’t help that four of my friends had babies around my son’s age and ALL of them slept through the night by six weeks old. We had tried to prepare our daughter for the arrival of the new baby, telling her that sometimes, she would have to be quiet. Unfortunately, sometimes turned into all the time, because even if the baby wasn’t asleep, Mommy was cranky and tired and didn’t like loud noises. Our house became a BE QUIET zone. The rule was that you were always quiet unless you were otherwise instructed. My daughter began requesting trips to Nana and Grandpa’s house just so she could bang a few things around.
My son didn’t start sleeping through the night until he was nine months old. I was being punished for all of the laughing I did at old people who just wanted it quiet, for now I was old. I wanted it quiet, I wanted my sleep, and I wanted it starting at exactly 8pm!
“Yeah, well, we want food”, my children said. “And we’re wearing towels like togas because you haven’t done any laundry and we’re bored and one of us is poopy and we’re developing lung disease because the house is so dusty!”
Now I understand why the older people get, the more welcome death is. At least then you can rest in peace and quiet.


  1. "...the more welcome death is". Awesome! You've painted a lovely picture of motherhood!

    Seriously, though, I was the same. I was LIVID if the phone rang while I was trying to get Sam to sleep.

    Last summer my husband wanted to call the police on neighbors that were blaring music and being loud "at this hour". And it was like, 9:15. We're officially old people. Ah, sweet death...

  2. Dude, I'm with you.


    The Jehovah's Witnesses do not come to our house anymore.

  3. Totally with you!!!

    When Austin was a baby he had Colic...really, really bad colic. And it was a chore and a half to finally get him to sleep. Basically I was a raving lunatic at all times, ready to kill. said it I'll just add a huge KUDOS, well said@

  4. Wow way to remind me what I am in store for. Hannah slept through the night by 5 weeks but was a holy living terror, Drew didn't sleep through the night until 18 months and was the sweetest baby I could have dreamed into life. Hmmm which would I rather......

  5. you're preaching to the choir...when the twins and Max were babies (so about 2 yo for the twins and 6 mos for Max) they all were sick. Katie was about 5 and was sweetly watching Little Mermaid while I rocked all three trying depserately for any relief...finally, finally...they all feel asleep- and in keeping with my life- I had to pee. Bad.
    I conferred with Katie and she pulled a big floor pillow over. I slid Sam down my legs and onto the pillow, then was able to get the other two laid down as well. Ahhh!
    I made it to the bathroom, barely, and as soon as I walked out the f'ing doorbell rang! It was AmVets seeing if I had a donation!
    The babies were wailing, Katie ran past with her hands over her ears and I almost choked a man.
    Whenever they call- to this day- I rudely ask them to take me of their calling list immediately. Doesn't work much...about 3 months later someone else has me on their list.
    bastards. 16 years later I still seethe.

  6. steph, you crack me the fuck up!

    linds, i feel you. i am not one of those bitches who had babies who slept through the night at 6 weeks. (BTW, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT LIKE?!) but my kids were both decent sleepers. of course, now that they are 5 and 2 1/2 things are much easier now; however, i dread the day when the 2 1/2 yr old requests to sleep in her BED (as opposed to the crib she currently sleeps in) and is able to open her bedroom door and pounce upstairs into our bed.

    also, i play indoor soccer at ridiculously late hours during the winter on weeknights. when i tell my (much younger, no-kids-having) teammates that "i would have been asleep at 9pm!" during an 11pm game, they look at me like i have 3 eyes. "wow. you go to bed early!" "someday you'll understand. someday..."


Go ahead, hit me with your best shot.