Part Two – Totally Worth It
(Click here for Part One – The Brief )
Not one to back down easily, I took on the mission without a second thought. After all, I was desperate to find out what those of my friends without children had been doing with all of their spare time all day. I needed my social media fix.
I turned off the remaining lights outside of Hannah’s room. They would offer little in the way of assistance, yet also somehow direct searing beams of light straight into her eyes that would immediately wake her up. I would have to do this blind. I cursed the irony that the one piece of equipment that would be able to help me see without being too bright to wake a baby was the exact thing that I was trying to retrieve (yes, my wife has a mobile phone too. No, I didn’t think to just use hers).
I reached out and slowly twisted the handle upwards (a trick I’d learnt from Emma – it somehow makes less noise). The slow and steady breathing that I could hear immediately upon entering told me that I had passed the first test and that it was safe to proceed. I held my breath and stepped forward.
I knew where my target was – on a high shelf in the corner. It’s the only safe place now that Hannah can pull herself to standing and make full use of her long, slim frame (seriously, the kid can reach the top of the kitchen counter already and she’s not even eleven months old!). I also knew that I had been lazy and not bothered to pack away her toys that night.
Slowly, I inched forward. My leading foot brushed against what I could only assume was the ear of a stuffed donkey. I held my hands out in front of me, one at face height to ensure I didn’t use my nose to discover the bookshelf, and the other at crotch height to ensure I didn’t collect the corner of the change table in a manner that would wake the whole street.
After what seemed like an eternity, my face-protecting hand brushed up against the smooth painted surface of the bookshelf. Carefully, I felt around until I found the target of my mission. There it was, just where I was sure I’d left it.
Triumphant, I turned 180 degrees to leave. Now on my left, I could still hear the deep breathing of a peacefully sleeping baby. I spotted the faintest glow of light escaping from under the door of the master bedroom, where I would soon be sitting and mindlessly scrolling through various feeds. The light acted as a beacon does to a ship on a stormy night, signalling that safety was not far away.
I stepped forward with the confidence of a runway model and was made to immediately regret my haste. The hard plastic carriage of a toy train, complete with rattling components, had been strategically placed between me and my escape, and I had stepped square on the trap.
The carriage made an almighty racket as my right foot came down on it hard. If that wasn’t enough, a rather loud expletive escaped my lips before I could reel it back in. I stood frozen on the spot. Every muscle in my body tensed in preparation for the inevitable commotion that would follow.
Sure enough, the heavy breathing from the cot stopped and a siren-like wail took its place. My flight reflex kicked in and I fled the scene of the crime, disgraced by my inability to successfully complete my mission. I entered the main bedroom, where Emma was lying on our bed. She was in fits of laughter and holding the baby monitor. I looked at her, confused by her reaction. I was sure she was going to be unimpressed by my efforts.
She held the monitor up to show a fast-asleep baby, lying peacefully on her stomach. By some miracle Hannah had decided that one decent scream was enough of an expression of her displeasure, then she had gone straight back to sleep.
Relieved, I lay down and looked at my phone. The lifeless screen told me that the battery was dead. I plugged it into the wall charger on the other side of the room and went to bed.