I’m going to assume you’ve seen the cinematic masterpiece, Entrapment.
On the off chance you haven’t, I will forgive you because 1999 was an exceptional year for Hollywood. I don’t know if it was magical cocaine or a new type of wheatgrass, but the moviemakers did some life changing work. I mean, come on: The Blair Witch Project, The Thomas Crown Affair, Austin Powers, The Sixth Sense, The Mummy, Runaway Bride, The Matrix, Notting Hill, The Green Mile, Big Daddy, Star Wars, American Pie, The Talented Mr Ripley, American Beauty….the list goes on.
As a 12-year-old, my brain could hardly absorb my required reading at school or remember to feed my Nano Pet because all I could think about was Mz Zeta-Jones working her way through a room of lasers (blindfolded) while Sean Mother-Phucking Connery guided her with his coarse and tantalising voice. (I also developed a very real and very deep crush on Brendan Fraser as an all around badass Egypt expert, but that’s another story.)
(GIF from here.)
After watching Entrapment, I would rearrange my bedroom furniture into a challenging obstacle course. I’d then manoeuvre around my plastic blow up chair (filled with confetti,) my trunk from summer camp, my great aunt’s stool, my trundle and then scale my four post bed to retrieve a very expensive one of a kind piece of art aka one of my Hanson posters from Tiger Beat magazine for “Sean Connery.” (My cardboard cut out of Betty Boop.)
Little did I know this type of training would be preparing me for motherhood. Before I was a mom, I always pictured my kids sleeping in their own rooms. It didn’t take long to learn that it’s inevitable that your child (or children) will sleep in your room at some point. Maybe it’s only once a year, maybe it’s every night, maybe it’s only on rare occasions like teething or an ear infection. For me – it’s Every Single Night because we’re renovating. Our three-year-old is in a cot next to our bed and our 15-month-old is in our walk-in closet.
Since both of my kids go to bed at 7, I have a few hours to myself before I go to bed. Even though my kids are pretty good at going to sleep, they’re not great at staying asleep. I can’t flick on the light without stirring from at least one of them. If you’re a parent or babysitter or nanny, you’ll know that there is no greater defeat than a child waking when all you want to do is either drink wine and watch Chelsea Handler or SLEEP. Because of this, I’ve spent the past two years navigating my bedroom and bathroom in complete darkness. I know what you’re thinking – what about a flashlight? No. Doesn’t work. It’s like they are Vampires and freak out at any signs of daylight.
(GIF from here.)
Last night, I entered our room and carefully removed my slippers. (I’m wise enough to put on PJs and brush my teeth in the kitchen before going to bed.) I took a full seven seconds to turn the door handle and gently release it back to its closed position. Next, I headed through our walk in closet (past my sleeping baby) and took exactly 4.5 steps to the toilet where I peed. I was careful to lean forward so my stream would hit the front of the toilet and slowly stream down into the toilet bowl. God forbid I accidentally hit urine directly on water. It might as well be a Niagara Falls alarm clock. After I wipe, I do not flush. I pull up my pants and take two steps to the power point where our oil heater is plugged in. I flip it on and head back through the closet.
I pause to cover our son with the blanket he’s kicked off. This must be done or else we have a 4am wake up. Five steps later, I’m back in the bedroom and blindingly reaching for the remote control to turn on our other heater. As my hand hovers over our dresser, I panic because I can’t feel it in the pile of crap I forgot to put away from when I decided to, “clean out my junk drawer” three days ago. I take a step forward and feel the earth move.
Sh*t. I’m on a foam roller. Luckily, I had trained for this by wearing nothing but platform flip flops from 6th-10th grade. I ride the foam wave backwards and land on my feet. At last, the controller is in my hand and our room will soon be an optimal sleeping temperature.
(GIF from here.)
Feeling relaxed, my body jolts when our dog barks.
WOOOOOOOOF! (Damn nocturnal Australian fauna.)
Our daughter makes a noise. FREEZE. I do not move. I do not breathe. She starts to cry. This is when I take six swift steps to my right and two perfectly timed step forward (to avoid the corner of our footboard.) I place one hand on our daughter’s back and let out my breath with a, “Shhhhhhhh.” She is asleep within seconds.
Since I’m now only a foot from my bed, I tuck and roll across the King sized mattress to my side. I reach to the floor and plug in my phone. without needing to look for the tiny hole. I now only have roughly three seconds to get the covers right. Our giant feather comforter sounds like a jet engine when you fluff it over your body. At last, it is quiet. It is still dark and my kids are asleep. I should probably consider getting night vision goggles, but then I might have a weird Silence of the Lambs nightmare.
(GIF from here.)
Anyway, thank you, Catherine, for showing me how to move with cat-like agility. And thank you Sean Connery for meeting me in my dreams. (Anthony Hopkins – you can come too if you want.)
Want more? Get my memoir HERE.