17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sounds in the City

Sept. NYC tribute, a few days late (but who's really keeping track anyway?)

When we first moved to our recent apt. DS was around 9m old. He has always had sleeping issues and when we moved, we finally thought our troubles would be over. "This is the time" I reasoned with myself. He has his own room, his own crib. A new start for a new baby. Well, that was before we actually had slept there.

I remember the first night waking in a panic more than once from a noise I heard out my window. We moved from a very quite street in the "ghetto" (as some friends have lovingly referred to it), to a ground floor apt. next to the busy Queens Boulevard of Death and a window that shares the alley way. Now before you think that I have moved my family into an even more dangerous neck of the NY woods, you should know that this neighborhood is so "family" you can't even enjoy the park on a nice afternoon. I really don't consider my life in any danger although my MIL would disagree.

So as our first weeks in our new place started to drag on, and my baby wouldn't sleep and couldn't stay asleep I really started thinking crazy thoughts. Maybe there was a ghost in his room keeping him up at night. Or he really hated the decor of his new room and was trying to tell me so. It shouldn't take a brain surgeon to realize that it was our crazy neighborhood keeping the young lad from his zzzz's.

I have realized that it took us a long time to get here, but my son can now sleep through anything. we were on the street the other day and he slept right through a fire truck that drove by with his sirens BLARING.... completely deafening to me, but like a lullaby to him.

I still can't sleep through all of these, but so far these are the ones he doesn't seem to mind:

teenagers in all their teenaged glory. they usually doorbell ditch me at least once a day
trash man picking up the glass for recycling at 4am
building maintenance workers. they are usually grinding metal at some point in the week. (their door entrance is next to mine)
brick layers from the building next door. summer project
rap music from car windows
fire engines
buses; passing traffic
car horns; yelling cabbies
drunk bum in the alley way (this one WAS scary!)
gunshot (I think. but how can I know for sure?)
baby screaming and screaming and screaming
pitter patter of toddler feet upstairs
hammering on my bedroom wall; building construction
neighbors fighting
Dog barking next door
subway late at night
sometimes I can hear a radio coming from out of my kitchen cupboards. still haven't figured that one out.
Mr. Softies IceCream truck Jingle. My son still thinks that this is a dancing truck (he loves the music), not a place to get icecream.
and most recently a drunken brawl all in loud spanish. again 4am.

I'm hoping to get him some exposure to quiter enviornments, or else he might never be able to sleep unless he's in a city, and we wouldn't want to ruin him for life, now would we?


  • Wow…I loved reading this.I am pregnant with my first and I’ve been thinking about sounds a lot. We live on a super busy street in San Francisco…I hear all the sounds you listed on a regular basis. I can sleep through all of them except for human screaming…that always wakes me up. But I have these huge hopes my baby will sleep peacefully. I’m willing to risk his being a city sleeper…as we will probably be city dwellers for a long long time.
    posted by Anonymous pearl at 10/04/2006 11:26:00 AM  

  • sorry...I know you don't know me I just had to de-lurk on that one :)
    posted by Anonymous pearl at 10/04/2006 11:29:00 AM  

  • pearl, you can de-lurk anytime! No need to know us in person. I think we're better online anyway. :-)

    There are two schools of thought on this one - one is (and this is the one I went with, but that could have just been my baby...) that they will sleep with whatever they are used to in terms of noise level. So if you spend all your time sound-proofing the room and tiptoeing around, that's what you'll always have to do. If you just let 'em be used to the fire engines and the car alarms and your vacuum cleaner, then they'll probably keep on sleeping through it.

    The other thing you can do is go with a white noise machine. I know Chloe swears by it. I have used it to, and it can be pretty darn handy.
    posted by Blogger marian at 10/04/2006 01:00:00 PM  

  • I used to turn on the blowdryer to get him to sleep. then it was a white noise CD. that worked for a good week, then we moved on to a lullabye CD and then well, i just got tired of it and let him fall asleep to his own crying, which i still have to do often. We travel too much for him to stick to a schedule and it is a killer for both of us when we come home. now its just the sounds of the neighborhood he sleeps to when he actually sleeps.
    posted by Blogger ksl at 10/04/2006 02:53:00 PM  

  • I'm going to throw my two cents in. I'm the mother of 4. My oldester is 19 and my youngest is 12. Been there done that with the sleeping.

    Here's what I found. Children, especially babies and toddlers, get into a routine quickly. (I mean like more than twice in a row of something and it's considered habit). I found that Marian is right on the money. However you choose to put your child to sleep becomes their habit. i.e., if it's only total silence when they go to sleep and while they are sleeping then that is their norm. That's what they'll need to be able to fall asleep and stay asleep. If, especially when they are newborns, you go ahead and vacuum while they are sleeping and don't tiptoe around, they will quickly learn to sleep through almost anything. The reverse is just as true. If you put them to sleep with a pacifer, they'll need the pacifer to sleep. I, with #3, would nurse my son to sleep. Quickly, he could not put himself to sleep, unless I nursed him. Needless to say, when I stopped nursing at 18 months, we had many sleepless nights. What the heck was I thinking? Live and learn.
    posted by Anonymous Dorice at 10/04/2006 03:34:00 PM  

  • LOVE love love the white noise machines. Both kids can totally sleep without them but they have been lifesavers when we travel or they stay at a friends house or we're having a party and want to dull the noise for them - can't say enough good things about them. I use the little Homedics one that I bought at Target - I think it was $20?

    For 4 years we lived on 32nd Street with the 31st Street N line running directly behind our house. Not only could we hear the subway coming and going, but doors opening, subway "buzzers - door opening", people's conversations - everything. Even with the windows closed we still got most of it. We got used to it, DS got used to it.

    For the entire first year we lived in the suburbs of the Bay Area, I would hear phantom subway doors opening and buzzers at random times of the day. It'll probably stay with me forever! And I don't mind it!
    posted by Blogger chloe at 10/04/2006 11:41:00 PM  

  • Sometimes the silence in our new place freaks me out. I am so jumpy when I hear even the smallest noise because I am not used to it anymore. In our NY place we heard huge semi trucks plummeting down our street all the time and we lived around the corner from the fire station. Then all the yelling of course. I didn't take long to be able to tune almost all of it out.

    Dorice made really good points. I agree.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 10/05/2006 12:46:00 PM  

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