Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Panther Mommy and the Nightingale Floors

In Japan's Kyoto prefecture, there is a castle that is famous for its Nightingale Floors.  Apparently, in order to guard themselves from ninja attacks in their sleep, the ancient Shoguns that lived there rigged the castle floorboards so that they chirp like birds whenever people walk across them. I can't prove it, but I think this is what Millie has done with the floor of her bedroom.

We live in a house with mostly hardwood floors, but compared to many houses, they are quiet, non-creaky floors.  For instance, it is quite easy for an extremely pregnant woman to sneak from the bedroom to the kitchen and eat ice cream in the middle of the night without waking up her husband.  (At least that's what the previous owner told me.) That's not the case in Millie's room though.  We seem to have placed the nursery on the squeakiest floors in the house.

Luckily, since I have become a mother, I can now walk as quietly and stealthily as a panther.  Seriously.  Not only can I walk like a panther, but I can also see in the dark EXACTLY like a panther, proving once again that mothers are capable of super-human feats when their babies are in danger---(of waking up from their naps.)

Now, every night in her room, there is a showdown between Millie's floorboard ninja defenses, and my  big-cat mother creep. Heres how it starts-- I'm rocking Millie, and she drifts off to sleep.  I need to transfer her to her cradle without waking her.  I pick her up, and try to hold her in the same position she was sleeping in.  I tiptoe across the room with her, pirouetting over the dog, and placing her deftly in her crib. Then I pad my way out of her room as quietly as if I were freaking Legolas from Lord of the Rings.  She doesn't wake up. I'm awesome.

Round one goes to Panther Mommy.

About 5 minutes later, I am watching on our baby espionage system video baby monitor, and her eyes shoot open.  She has realized she is alone in her bedroom, and she is PISSED. She begins grunting.  In nature, grunting can be an intimidation tactic, and Millie knows this because unfortunately, I have been reading national geographic magazines to her. Dammit Katie!  Her next step is to make herself appear larger than she actually is by spreading out her arms and legs.  Millie tries this, only to discover that she is swaddled.  WHAT! Some evil, foul, much despised mother has swaddled her, and now she can't use her intimidation tactics.  Then Millie starts to waaaaaaaiiilllllll......

In comes Mommy, army-crawling towards the cradle on my hands and knees, because I don't want Millie to know I'm there. I pull the wooden pin underneath her cradle it to make it rock-- because this worked one time, and now I try it every single time, like an idiot. Millie interprets this rocking to mean I AM UNDER ATTACK, and screams louder. Still keeping out of sight, I snake my hand up to the top of her cradle and place the pacifier in her mouth. She grunts in disgust, and torpedoes the pacifier out of her mouth.  We both watch as it flies through the bars of her cradle, across the room, and into a pile of dog hair.  The floorboard creaks. I KNOW YOU'RE THERE MOMMY. I cave, and pick her up.

Round two goes to Millie. 

We start the bedtime ritual over, rocking, and singing, and having a nervous breakdown.  I have most of her cardboard Dr. Seuss books memorized by now, so I don't bother turning on the light, I just sit in the dark and recite them to her. It takes Millie a while to forgive me for abandoning her. "DID YOU THINK I WOULDN'T FIND OUT? " She asks accusingly with her tiny baby eyes. But, after a few minutes, she interprets all of the rocking as evidence of my contrition, and she lets her ninja defenses down again. She sleeps.   I am amazing.  I'm like some sort of Jedi, magician, snake charming witch-mother. I  creep to my bedroom, silent in my victory.

Round 3 goes to Panther Mommy!

I may have won this particular battle, but behind the bars of her cradle, I can tell that Millie is regrouping.  I watch her on the baby monitor, as she re-gathers her ninja defenses, and know that in a few hours, we'll start all over again...


  1. Okay, here's the trick put baby powder on those floors, let it seep between the cracks, the creaking stops. I imagine this is easier said than done.

    Not to discourage you or anything but Wendy slept with us for two years before we kicked her out (of our bed). I held her for the majority of her first 6 months in a front pack or back pack after she was strong enough. I still have vivid memories of her in the back pack while I put up tomatoes and her leaning over the hot water bath to be sure I was doing it right.

  2. This is when you wish that Panther Mommy's powers also included an adjustable auditory system... hang in there kitty kat.