earplugs

You’ve seen them. Spilling out of drawers, gathering dust on the night table and rolling into the fluff under the bed to be discovered on the twice-yearly under-bed hoover. There’s a rare mother without them. Because earplugs come into their own when you have babies. Whether it’s psychological or physiological, your hearing definitely becomes supercharged when becoming a mother. And earplugs are the only salvation when it comes to grabbing some shuteye, day or night.

At the start you wake like you’ve been jabbed at with a needle at what transpires is simply your newborn’s sleepy snuffle, snork and shuffle. “Ohmigodisshedying?” screams your semi-conscious. And as you view the calm, butter-wouldn’t-melt face of your baby in the cot next to your bed and your heart slowly beats back to normal, you try your best to get back to sleep (it’s 4am dammit) before the 5am wake-up call. Worse – when your partner puts the TV volume up to around 10 (40 being max) you hurriedly bring it down (to his rolled eyes and “you’re insane!”) to a barely audible 3. To your heightened sense of hearing, the television seems impossibly loud and either in danger of waking the baby or masking their cries.

But then, later, as your baby grows and that incessant sense of imminent danger (includes cot death, but also all sorts of afflictions you imagine will surely happen to your baby) subsides, you still find yourself waking every time they as much as sniff in their sleep. And, boy, do these creatures make noise at night! It was at this point I turned to my trusty earplug friends. Oh joy of joys. Smooth, interrupted sleep (relatively speaking). And now, when she wakes early and perhaps – if I’m very lucky – plays with her toys in her bedroom for half an hour or so before jumping on my head, those earplugs have bought me an extra half-hour of sleep I would only have been able to (day)dream about otherwise.

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