The first year of parenthood for every mom is a whirlwind of adjustments: less sleep, new schedule, new eating habits, new human being to learn about, etc. What we didn’t realize is that motherhood would also bestow upon us a very particular set of skills (insert non-existent Liam Neeson emoji here). More specifically, we gain ninja-like like skills that help us do anything from getting baby to sleep to finding the opportunity to cram a bite to eat in our mouths.
Not sure exactly what I’m talking about? Well, maybe you can identify with some of these stealthy moves:
1. “The Crib Drop”
This move is best explained by comparing it to the scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where Indiana Jones attempts to swap a bag of sand for the idol in front of him. In our case, we have a perfect sleeping baby in our arms whose weight and balance we need to tactfully transfer to the crib as to not interrupt the balance of whatever magic is currently keeping sweet LO asleep.
The first few times is true to the movie; you interrupt the balance of a precious treasure and now you have awakened a gigantic rolling boulder. But over time, you become an expert at weight distribution and gently and quietly transfer sleeping baby to a new location. This process might look different for everyone. Perhaps you prop yourself on one leg, nearly climb all the way into the crib, or slowly peel every part of your body from baby inch by inch. Whatever it is, it’s gotten you away from baby, now onto the next step…
2. “The Stealthy Exit”
Leaving a sleeping baby in a room requires much more than walking away. You must also be careful not to disturb the perfect ambience of the room, which means absolute silence. To do this you learn every creak in your bones. One tiny creak from your smallest foot bone could mean “game over.” So once again, you become master at weight distribution, transferring every ounce of your body so that your skeleton can make a quiet exit. The fun part about this skill is that suddenly you’re accidentally sneaking up on the other members of your family.
3. “Stealthy Dishes”
For me, the chore of dishwashing always came during the nap. Before baby, I had no idea just how loud dishes could be. If you’re gonna put them away carelessly while the baby is asleep, you might as well set off a bunch of firecrackers. And so, you learn to gently and evenly place each plate and glass in its place with barely a clink. You never knew how quiet a kitchen could be.
4. “Diffusing the Bomb AKA Clipping Tiny Nails”
As your baby grows more resistant to your will, he will probably start jerking his hands away from you when it’s time for a nail clipping. Unfortunately this makes the nap the best time to clip nails, so once again you’re channeling your gentle touch and knowledge of silence to keep those little baby talons from scratching the hell out of you and his own face.
Or you can use an alternative skill I like to call, “ignoring the problem,” and just wait for the baby talons to break on their own while you wear your battle scars proudly in the meantime.
5. “Look ma, no hands!”
The newborn stage rarely leaves you with a free hand for multitasking. Typically at least one arm is needed to hold LO, and the other hand is often needed to cram much-needed sustenance into pie-hole. Oh, how we have adapted, ladies! Feet can be used for grabbing and tossing things across the room or opening and closing doors. A well-placed nose can help guide a mom, who is nursing while eating, through her phone or with pounding the right buttons on a remote. Never underestimate the usefulness of your face.
6. “Quick hands”
Having a baby can be exceptional for fine-tuning your reflexes in the face of an emergency. For example, you never realized just how fast milk could motivate you after seeing a freshly pumped a full bottle of breast milk nearly tip over. In other cases, you’ve probably saved your sweet baby’s face from smacking into something while they’re learning a new motor skill or kept them or their precious clean pacifiers from falling to the ground more times than you can count.
One other very important variation on this skill is distracting your baby away from something they want. This might be something they grab that’s dangerous or something that does not belong to them which you will have to pry away. But to avoid a meltdown, use the art of quick hands and distraction to replace the unwanted item with something new. Young babies can be easily manipulated, take advantage and hone this skill for as long as you can.
“Was that the baby?” You’ll ask your husband.
“I didn’t hear anything.”
“No, yeah he’s waking up…” *WAAAIL*
To others it’s like you can practically predict the future. But it’s more likely a result of the sleepless nights that have put you so closely in tune with your baby’s cues.
8. “Sneaky snack”
As your baby grows old enough to recognize superior foods (ie: junk food), your blatant disregard for your health must become something you do in secret. Sure, you can wait until you have the room to yourself, but a true expert will have learned by now that with enough stealth, you can shove a treat into your mouth behind the quick flash of an opening or closing pantry/refrigerator door. Bon appétit, ninja mom!
Did I miss something? Let me know!