How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Being a Ninja in the Bedroom

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How to Be a Ninja in the Bedroom

This may not be about what you think. It does not refer to making love to your wife without her even knowing it or using smoke bombs and rappelling ropes to liven up your marriage. This is about the art of slipping undetected into a bed with a sleeping wife or wife and baby.

To say Lizzie and I have different bedtimes is nearly an illegal understatement. She goes to bed around 9:30-10:00 pm and I go to bed anywhere from 1:00 am to 4:00 am. Sometimes I even meet her on the other side, when she wakes up, before I crash-land in bed.

Here’s the point though, there’s nothing quite like the guilt/terror you feel accidentally waking up a deliriously tired new mamma from the little slumber she can manage. And you always know when you’ve failed, the second you do. Her arm shoots up from the bedding, flailing like a penalty flag. A cellphone suddenly lights up as she checks the time you woke her up. The whisper-screamed “noooooooo!” followed by a savage rollover in bed. The little one sitting up and shouting “Daddy? Daddy?” FAIL with a capital F##K!

Over time I’ve developed techniques to evade detection. On the stairs that lead up to our bedroom, I walk on the outside parts, where they’re nailed in, to reduce the amount of creak. I take off my clothes before entering the room. I set my glasses on my wallet to muffle the sound. But this is all basic stuff. Child’s play.

Women with little ones tend to be set on a hair trigger. Something more professional is needed here, a secret art, an ancient technique. The skills of the ninja.

Here are some exercises – nay! – “ninjercises” that we dads can practice to become bedroom ninjas.

Approaching the Bedroom…

Ninjercise: The Soles of a Shadow’s Slippers
Lay out a long sheet of bubble wrap, then put on a pair of golf cleats and practicing walking the length without a single pop or puncture. Don’t bother attempting to approach the bedroom until you have mastered this. Whether you have carpet or hardwood, every untrained step you take will sound like the blare of an air-raid alarm to a wife caring for a baby.

Entering the Room…

Ninjercise: Defying the Ear of a Dog
Get a starving dog and place it near you in an open area. Then take a metal watering can and fill it with pet kibble. Practice twisting it around frantically without attracting any attention from the animal. Only when you are proficient at this should you try turning the doorknob to the bedroom. Continue to the next related ninjercise.

Ninjercise: The Bamboo Pretzel
Take a 6 inch piece of dry bamboo and attempt to tie it in a knot without making a sound. The man who would attempt to push open the bedroom door and still remain alive would do well to master this.

Getting Into Bed…

Ninjercise: Fooling Water
Fill a bathtub to the very top and practice getting in without spilling a drop. You may think this improbable, and it may take countless tries, but if you can fool a law of physics like water displacement, then you’re only just beginning to have a chance at getting into bed without disturbing a woman set to wake up at the bat of a newborn’s eyelash.

(Gong Sound)

Practice these skills and you too can snatch the pebble from the proverbial hand and learn to become a bedroom ninja, Grasshopper. Practice these ninjercises until you are certain. Practice them until you have no fear!*

* The first and foremost rule of being a ninja is the absence of fear. It can somehow announce your presence as surely as a bad case of flatulence. Come to think of it, perhaps the second, unspoken rule of being a ninja (Rule #1b) is the avoidance of poorly cooked beans.

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99 Comments

99 Responses to “Being a Ninja in the Bedroom”

  1. Abby says:

    Hilarious!! A must-read for my husband, who once woke me up (though lucky for him, not the baby) by banging on the front door at god-knows-what time of night because he’d been out at happy hour and forgotten his key. My heart is still pounding.

    • andy says:

      Holy crumb! Your man needs to do the exercises, plus maybe a couple of wall-scaling ones as well. Actually… Maybe that’s not a good idea. Alcohol and ninja skill probably don’t make a good combo.

  2. Dar says:

    SO CORRECTOMUNDO! As a Grammy of 11 GrandLoves, I STILL have not met ONE single successful Grasshoppa’s. ROFLMAO, but
    BlessYourHeartAnyway

    • andy says:

      That’s because men are basically dumb. It takes most of us years of training for us to not be clumsy, dysfunctional messes. It’s not about the pursuit of skill and excellence — that’s just what the brochure says — it’s really more about flight from failure and incompetence.

  3. Desiree says:

    *rappeling* although I like the idea of having ropes to repel people with. Kind of like the truth lasso…

  4. Desiree says:

    No husband of mine would ever have this problem. The ONLY thing that wakes me up is baby cries. I have -LITERALLY- slept through being near or in trainwrecks, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, typhoons, at the mall, in every kind of moving vehicle, and the kind of airplane turbulence that set most people to praying for clemency.

    • andy says:

      A man still wants ninja skills. Even if no one ever fires an arrow at his head for him to pluck out of the air while light sparkles off his confident smile. It’s an established fact. Look at all the useless crap we buy that we never use.

  5. ChiMomWriter says:

    My husband, unable to master these ninja skills, devised a new strategy: After waking everyone up, he has trained himself to fall asleep during his descent into bed. He then misses the aftermath of his bedtime folly.

  6. Craig Grella says:

    Absolutely hilarious, and great timing. I just watched Ninja Assassin last night, which is a horrible movie, but it still made me want to buy some claw gloves for scaling walls and those cool black boots with only two toes. Now I’ve got exercises to go along with them.

    • andy says:

      LMAO (without a sound though, a ninja’s laughs make silence seem like explosions)

      P.S. Ninja Assassin was horrible. But it passed through horrible into entertaining for me. And it made me want to tuck in the big toe part of a pair of black socks and attack my kids with a nunchucks made from discarded papertowel rolls.

  7. Tracy says:

    Ohhh, my god. You nailed it: from the cell phone time check to the “NOOOO!!!”. When my husband comes home from catching some drinks, he’s actually sometimes stupid enough to TALK to me, to wake me up. He’ll saunter in and say “Hi baby!!!!!” in this high pitched voice that makes me want to throw the lamp at his head because then i’m awake for the next hour. He blames my bat ears for my shitty sleep, but CLEARLY he needs some ninja skills.

    • andy says:

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! That is hilarious!!! I can so easily see Lizzie hurling small bedroom furniture and fixtures at me! Ha ha hee hee heh… heh. Oh God… she’s probably going to do it next time, after she reads this.

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  9. Kimberly says:

    This is hysterical! Sooo true. In our house, though, it goes a step further. Once a baby has become a toddler and no longer requires middle-of-the-night assistance from Mama, these rules switch to apply to me. My husband gets CRANKY when he doesn’t get enough sleep, and I am definitely the one sneaking into the bed at 3 a.m.

    • andy says:

      Thanks! Wow. Honestly… that never even occurred to me, the role switch. THAT would blow my mind if it happened with Lizzie and me.

  10. Louisa says:

    Now the kids are older (3+) we have the role switch too. Where I was once programed, at the first whimper, to leap out of bed and be fully dressed in the same movement, it now takes the equivalnet of a rubbish truck driving through our bedroom to wake me.

    I shall study your ninja ways for me next late night.

    • andy says:

      <- (bowing like a ninja)

      It’s starting to seem like I missed an opportunity to point out an epic and timeless conflict, dad ninja pitted against mom ninja. My wife became a mom ninja in the bedroom the day she delivered.

      Concentrate, Louisa san. But leave the waxing on and waxing off to the local car wash. You’ll do just fine with these ninjercises the next time you’re caught finishing a miniseries on Netflix until 3am.

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  12. Kat says:

    I learn so much here.

  13. AJ says:

    Hilarious! I might of added: Ninjercise- Next time there is a heavy thunderstorm, go outside move through the raindrops without getting wet. If you can accomplish this, you can move into a room without waking up your wife. (or at least my wife).

  14. Nicole says:

    I’m the mom whose been honing the ninja skills for years, even before children. If we go to a friends house and the kids are going to nap, I’m figuring out the anatomy of the door handle. I note ways to turn to minimize clicking noises!!! I walk off the beaten path in the hallway on more stable, less creaky boards to avoid waking my family. Just wish they could learn my ninja like ways!!!!

  15. andy says:

    Ha ha! Amazing! It’s like the Borne Identity, where he’s in the cafe explaining: “I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars outside. I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed and the guy sitting up at the counter weighs two hundred and fifteen pounds and knows how to handle himself. I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab of the gray truck outside, and at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. Now why would I know that? How can I know that and not know who I am?”

  16. Samvhend says:

    II love love love this……not only for the humor but the accuracy. My husband works nights. We have two girls, 7 & 21 months old!! The crib & toddler bed is in our bedroom (because I’m just not ready to put them in their own room). I wake up from the minute he adjusts the air (located just outside our bedroom door). Then I hear the door slowly open. I try so hard not to open my eyes in hopes it will be easier to go back to sleep. I hear him stop by the crib, stop by the toddler bed, then head our way. I hear him plug my cell phone in because he always thinks it needs charging. Now he’s trying to wake me up…wtf! Oh, sorry……I will move over & give you some room. Thankfully, I don’t have my contacts on so I can’t see the time. But now that I’m awake I will check fb. Hopefully I have at least two hours before work. This should have been a comment about how much I love this article….I may have some issues to address. ;)

    • andy says:

      It’s almost like you spent an entire evening outside our bedroom on our balcony. But that sounds creepy, so thank goodness it’s only almost like it. Anyways… Seriously, right? I mean I’m in the roll of the husband here, but I’m pretty blown away by how common this is. I’m really glad you loved it, and I hope you sleep through his entry into the bedroom better or he becomes a better bedroom ninja.

      P.S. He plugs it in because it DOES always need charging! I keep telling Lizzie that and she just doesn’t get it either. At least she finds it amusing to watch me get out of the car with the car charger still plugged into the phone in my hand — DOH!

  17. Samvhend says:

    Ha! I take comfort in knowing I’m not alone in this mad, mad world of parenting!! No sleep last night, somehow I instinctively knew I had an email….even with my phone on silent. OR maybe it was because the husband was off last night & since he couldn’t sleep….I couldn’t sleep. I may have to send him a link to your blog.
    Btw, I’m liking the fb fan page.
    Good stuff…..please keep sharing.

    • andy says:

      Super rad! Thanks! You are definitely not alone. And, don’t worry, no one could stop us from keeping on sharing.

      Grab a nap if you can! (Crossing my fingers and toes for you.)

  18. Brandiann says:

    My little Max wakes up at the littlest sound, even though he’s 7 months old. I can’t tell you the number of times I prayed that he wouldn’t wake up after making any kind of sound. I have mastered the art of sliding into bed without making any noise whatsoever and sidestepping on the steps to avoid creaks. I have also mastered the doorknob twist as well as putting the side up on the crib without making noise. I have weathered colds without coughing in the bedroom and I know which part of the floor creaks when you walk on it. A ruffle of a sheet or a pillow wakes our little man up, so my hubby and I often get in scuffles when he scratches his legs like a horse in the middle of the night! GRR. Anyway, thanks for the laugh. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has said “F*$&” one too many times after waking up my little one because I forgot to turn my phone on silent and I got an email notification.

    :D

    • andy says:

      Max! Our little comedian is Maximilian! Ha ha! Okay, so, to me, you sound like you’re pretty much well on your way to nijadom. I’m not just saying that because of the rad name either. ;)

      And remember, it’s always better to drop the F bomb, releasing the tectonic pressure, than to lose your mind and skin alive a postal worker or one of those unfortunate pimple-faced girls at the local Hot Dog on a Stick.

  19. Sarah says:

    My husband has ninja skills like that. I think it’s genetic because I didn’t know my son was inches from my face until he roared his dinosaur flashlight. At 3 am.

    • andy says:

      Man! That’s like a smoke bomb of radness! Hopefully he uses his ninja powers wisely and responsibly. ;)

    • TWeis says:

      Ohhhh the damned dinosaur flashlight…

    • Patti says:

      Yep, nothing really beats the adrenaline rush of waking to a loud noise in the middle of the darkness, and finding a tiny little face only inches from yours. Sometimes by smell. This is something non-parents never understand. Maybe because we don’t tell them, cause, jeez it would just be soooo wrong to spoil it for them, wouldn’t it???

      • andy says:

        Better than coffee. That’s how we should put it to non-parents while we try not to giggle maniacally behind our hands. Without qualifying how, we’ll just tell them that having kids can give you bursts of energy and wakefulness that put street drugs like speed to shame. ;)

  20. Erica says:

    Hahahahaha this is awesome!! Ninjas make great dads.

  21. Setting the glasses on the wallet. Just last night I figured that one out. I guess I’m far from becoming a bedroom ninja. This Little Grasshopper will follow your advice, Master.

  22. Taj says:

    I have failed miserably with my ninja skills, so I now do the Gozilla thing. Hey, I pay the bills, am bigger than my wife and kids, and I fight MMA…Tokyo will just hafta rebuild…

    • andy says:

      Ha ha ha ha ha! Brilliant. If you’re going to suck at something, it’s best to just turn on the hyperdrive on the vacuum and create a black hole of suckitude. Tokyo be damned!

    • stacey says:

      That is too funny! I could totally see myself doing this. Even though I went by the moniker of being a Pizza Hut Ninja for 3 years I can’t make it across the bedroom sometimes without waking either my wife or our daughter if they went to bed before I did. I guess it takes the sound of a pizza oven running to cover for my inherent Godzilla-ness. I will now proudly nuke-breath and stomp my way across the landscape of New Tokyo (my bedroom) to bellyflop into the Ocean of Distant Slumber (my bed, in which I only get a sliver of if my daughter is sleeping in it…)

  23. daddygoinmaddy says:

    Perfect…and let us not forget: if bathroom is connected…the sit down to pee(crouching dad) method

    • andy says:

      Oh yeah. The Whispering Waterfall technique is a must. Ha ha!

      • Weaver says:

        A very relatable read, thanks! My techniques have led to the amazed bewilderment of my family members for I am known as The Sneaky Spaniard. Im very familiar with the Path of Securely Nailed Wood, only visible to the mind’s eye.

        With respect to the whispering waterfall technique – For me, it’s all about the aiming the stream to deflect off any exposed porcelain and immediately under the edge of the water, minimizing the ripple and sound. My masters taught me that only ninjettes squat to pee. On more challenging bowls, a few squares of tp goes on the edge of the water first.

  24. Gabe says:

    Another one…

    Ninjercise: The Look Long ‘n’ See.

    Give up, realize that you are incapable of any of the Ninjercises. Swear that your next couch purchase will include and pass the “is this long enough for me to sleep on without curling up like a cat and killing my back?” test.

  25. Rebecca says:

    There are no ninja skills for men with Darth Vader like apnea masks on. All the skills in the world, and the best sleeping mom in the world cannot combat the dreaded dry nose whistle. You know the one, every one knows it. That incredibly high pitched whining of something stuck in the man’s dry nasal passage, akin to nails on a chalkboard.

    I have slept through much with 8 kids, cuz you ain’t sleeping until you learn to adapt to all manner of oddities-including the dog that just decided to develop skin allergies and lick his nether-regions all night long- but that nose whistle is the bane of my existence.

  26. Victor says:

    This post is hilarious!!!

    I don’t have kids yet, not even married btw, but I’m keeping you guys on my bookmarks toolbar forever! Promise.

  27. Gina says:

    Oh my god! I laughed so hard at this I have tears in my eyes!
    We have a 12 month old, he doesn’t sleep in bed with us, but I wake up if I hear him sigh in his sleep through the monitor. My husband and I laugh at how I’ve become such a light sleeper! Thank you for this! Needed the laugh!

    • Andy says:

      When people ask me how I can work as much as I do as a designer AND be a dad AND co-author HowToBeADad.com, its comments like this that are answer. And coffee of course. You are most welcome!

      Following us on Facebook is the best way to stay connected, please come back again. :)

  28. Les says:

    Do you have a ninja exercise for carrying in the hockey bag and two sticks at one in the morning?

  29. Heather says:

    I’ve always been a super light sleeper. Our daughter once was in bed b.c I was nursing and propped up in her special sleeper contraption. I woke with a start and threw out my arm to prevent Daddy from rolling over both of us. I have no idea how I managed to stop that, but at least she slept through it lol. I wish he’d learn some ninja skills because we have a similar sleep schedule to you and your wife.

  30. Evonne says:

    hahaha!! must show these to the man…he’s learning to creep in quietly but still working on the fine art of rolling over in bed without making everything jiggle. I can do it (and have demonstrated for him) that such a thing is indeed possible. Bless him though, if he knows I’ve had a crap nights sleep he takes the eldest to school for me in the morning :)

  31. James says:

    However I found some preparation is good.
    1) Turn the light on in the bathroom before bed (British bathroom lightswitch pull cords are EPIC-loud)
    2) Get all your underpants, socks, and shirts ready for the week on a Sunday.
    3) Every third or fourth week oil the external locks, door hinges and door knobs in the house.
    4) Wear a towelling dressing gown around the house after hours (Firstly, it’s comfy and doesn’t rustle, secondly, it muffles noises and, best of all, has pockets)

  32. Dan says:

    I read most of this in the voice of a wisper… I guess I really connected to that one.

  33. Deb says:

    We lived in a one-hundred-year-old house when my son was a baby. Walking out of his room and down the hall was like a ballet. But I had it nailed. My husband…not so much.

  34. Maggie Hamberger says:

    Though I am long past the exhausted mommy stage, I went through two solid years of caring for my mother who had Alzheimer’s, working full-time and running a non-profit children’s feeding ministry. My stress-o-meter was set to “tight as a piano string”. I’ll never forget the night my husband had a sneezing fit at 2am…He sneezed so loud I flayed out of bed, hit my head on my nightstand and then tripped over the cat. I thought I would have a heart attack. The kicker is my husband SLEPT THROUGH HIS OWN SNEEZING FIT!!! I wanted to kill him right then and there. I couldn’t go back to sleep all night…I thought my heart would never find a normal rhythm ever again!

  35. [...] Little things that make you smile – the anti-peeve thread. Being a Ninja in the Bedroom :: How To Be A Dad Funny [...]

  36. John says:

    I’m sure this “Ninja” training comes in handy when you spend the night at another woman’s house and don’t come home until 7am. Unless you have an open marriage with this “Lizzie” person. Then again, no one said you had to be faithful to be a good dad.

    • Andy says:

      Yes, but one should always use their powers for good not for evil. ;)

      No one’s said that before? Damn! I’ll say it! You have to be faithful to be a good dad. There! DONE! (I could never resist romping in unbroken snow.)

  37. Josh says:

    Read Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee. It has done wonders advancing my ninja skills, one of the main concepts throughout the book is keeping your weight on your toes. It will take time, but soon your wife will wake up most mornings asking, “what time did you go to bed last night?” Your response, “Just right now!”

  38. Kate says:

    I think my husband needs some morning ninja teachings. He gets up in the morning, heads to the kitchen, makes boils the jug…while the jug is boiling…he comes BACK into our room and TURNS THE LIGHT ON! WTF? I have usually just got back into bed after the third of fourth waking…….

  39. Derek N says:

    I have secretly become a ninja! I can gain access to my house, my bedroom and my sons bedroom un-noticed, except for that time i woke my wife up (accidently) and scared the bejesus out of her. Hey the baby stayed sleeping! We call him the gentle dragon when he sleeps and that we dare not wake him!

  40. JeninCanada says:

    Late to the party but I just wanted to say that my hubby is quickly becoming quite the bedroom ninja! Our newborn (7 wks) sleeps next to our bed in a bassinet and yes, I’m on a hairtrigger. Still, many nights he comes to sleep and I don’t even notice!

  41. Beverly says:

    Thank you for sharing this. So true! And gave me a much-needed laugh!!

    P.S. I love this blog.

  42. Betsy V says:

    I loved this! I wrote a blog post similar to this on how “you know you’re a mom when..” one of them was avoiding the squeaky floors like an obstacle course, haha. http://www.betsy-v.com/you-know-youre-a-mom-when/

  43. Jason Conklin says:

    I must concur with my fellow ninja, and must admit these ninjercises will most likely daunt, if not deter, most new fathers. I feel almost all area’s have been covered in the above ninjercises. If I would a one, it would be.

    Ninjercise : Walking on Sun Ray.

    Only to be attempted after mastering “Ninjercise : Fooling Water.” First, get a good running start in mid-afternoon, sun rays are slanted, thus easier to step off. Running will build momentum so as to assist in ray to foot friction. Once mastered, attempt to work your way to a slow waltz up a summers noon-day ray. Once mastered, bodily repositioning under the sheets/blankets is far more feasible.

    Thank you for your time, Phayon “The Ninja”

  44. Rebecca says:

    so accurate, especially the savage rollover in bed. my Significant Other is no Ninja, he works nights so when he got home from work in the morning he would fall into bed, rocking my world quite literally which begets one look with narrowed eyes and hair to put a coackatoo to shame that would send him scuttling out of the room for a few hours to let me sleep because of my Ninja Glare ( he only usually got the glare if my daughter had been up with tummypain)

  45. Ally says:

    This was a great read! One time my hubs, was leaving for work (4am) and was hovering over myself and the baby just looking at us…I had a ‘sense’ someone was next to me, and when he leaned over to kiss the baby I extended out my arm and proceeded to choke him…not even knowing it was him. WHO KISSES A SLEEPING BABY! He needs the know the fundamentals before working on these Ninja skills

    • Andy says:

      LMAO!!! You CHOKED him!?! I think we know who the ninja was in this story. Wow. :)

    • Marilyn says:

      My favorite baby comic:

      Mom: “Finally, after four hours of screaming, he’s asleep and in bed.”
      Dad: “I’ll just lean over and give him a little goodnight kiss.”
      Mom: “Wake him and I’ll rip your face off.”

      Yep, that’s us….

  46. Mary says:

    My son and I are currently sharing a bedroom and I have had to adopt these ninja skills as well. One night, everything was going well; (so funny that I use the same tricks) undressed in the living room, left my glasses on the table, touched the doorknob and waited the mandatory six seconds while the dogs woke up and shook and formed a line behind me, opened the door (have to pull gently and turn), stepped wide over the creaky spot, snuck past the crib and BAM! . . . kicked a xylophone . . .

  47. Josh says:

    Hilarious! I always find myself holding my breath as I turn the doorknob soooo sloooowly… then there’s that little pop when the door does finally open that stops my heart for a second.

  48. browneyes says:

    Oh how I wish my husband had some ninja training…he is like an old man shuffling around at night and the more quite he tries to be it seems like the more shit he drops and makes more noise than not.

  49. I can truly say that I have become a MASTER in these techniques. My journey from desk to bed is a long one and the obstacles to overcome are immense.

    1 – Shut down main level without disturbing the animals, especially the dog who barks at the drop of a hat.

    2 – Approach and climb the staircase, always remembering step 9 makes a loud creak if you step on the middle of it. Always approaching from the side/wall. Railings are for kids if I fall so be it.

    3 – By now the dog has awoken and I’m now on top of the stairs and navigated beyond the baby gate. I whisper down “Scoobie, ya gotta pee?” the dog will either wag it’s tail or go back to the couch.

    4 – Hallway approach. I do this barefoot and must avoid the cats dish. Clipping it with an errant step is game over.

    5 – The DOOR. From the turn of the nob to the physical opening of the door, sliding past, and closing. The utmost of care and I lube the hinge monthly to help with the situation.

    6 – Now I need dark, wife and baby like a little light. I must walk to the bathroom door, reach my arm through the crack, and flip the nightlight switch off.

    7 – It’s the Final Countdown!!! I carefully walk to the far side of the room (of course my side is furthest from the door) and slide into bed. First a slight cover pull, then one leg, slide the ass in, pull other leg into position.

    8 – SLEEP!

  50. Robert says:

    So basically it’s impossible….

    WWCND (What Would Chuck Norris Do)?

    Robert
    http://www.thescareddad.com

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