Monday, July 18, 2011

The Case of the Mysterious...Cricket Farts?

I might tell you that I am a light sleeper. Jelani would tell you that this is an understatement and that I "wake up to a cricket fart."

I can't even tell you the last time I slept all the way through the night, and my children are perfectly good sleepers! Most recently our dog, Selah, has decided she is going to be a barking dog. So I'm no longer waking up to cricket farts, I'm waking up to Selah barking at cricket farts.

When we first rescued Selah, I went several months thinking that she couldn't or didn't know how to bark. Her only form of communication was growling at us very much like Chewbacca to get us to do what she wanted us to do. At the time we lived in an apartment on the bottom of three stories of apartments, in a college community where parties went on around us late into the wee hours of the morning, and the couple above us often participated in some very loud...uhhh...calorie burning activities anywhere from 2 to 5 in the morning. Selah never barked. Our next move was to a house placed only about 200 feet in front of train tracks where the train passed by around every 30 to 45 minutes. Still, Selah rarely barked.

Jelani would tell you I am wrong about that, but trust me...he'd be wrong. If Selah barked at that train constantly during a time that I had a new baby, I would have kicked her out of the house so fast...

But I digress. From there we moved back to Pennsylvania. Selah barked more often there, but not every night. The silence of small, backwoods PA confused here, so the cricket farts were a lot easier to hear I guess.

After only a few months there we moved, yet again, to Elmira. With no air conditioning we had the windows open constantly. We had a house about 5 feet from us on either side, and were on a street where traffic moved constantly. And still, Selah's barking was at a minimum. The barking that did ensue there, we later discovered, was the result of chasing a mouse or two around the apartment in the middle of the night. Those were some fun nights in Elmira.

Our next move was to a very small apartment in Buffalo. It was inside a building with three other apartments, all filled with college students. Our apartment, of course, was the first one inside the door, so we heard everyone coming and going, and the couple living above us had a dog that barked nonstop while they were gone. I am sure they just thought she was the best, quietest dog ever. She never made a peep when they were home, but when they were gone, and I was trying to get the kids to nap, I had to pray the wind didn't blow a single branch and that no one walked past, or that dog would (and did) bark all day. Yet, somehow, through all of that, Selah still remained calm, cool, and collected, only barking a normal dog.

Lastly, we moved to the apartment we are in now. We're near UB's South Campus, on a busy street, so we see and hear college students walk by often. However we don't live near many least not the wild ones, because we rarely ever hear parties. We do hear the drunk college kids walking down the street after leaving the bars occasionally though. But we have lived here over a year now, and just this summer has that become an issue. It's hotter than a sauna in here (no joke our thermostat currently reads 89 degrees) with windows in the living room caulked shut, we have fans running everywhere, and every other window we can possibly open is open. The dog happens to sleep right next to one of those open windows, and just within the last month has decided to bark every night anywhere between 1 and 4 in the morning.

At first I was concerned that something was really wrong. I was all like, "What is it girl? Is someone bad trying to get into our home? Is there a fire?" I would eventually discover that it was nothing, send her back to bed and calm her with a nice pat on the head, as if to let her know how much I appreciate her trying to protect us. Now, when I find myself suddenly awake to her insistent barking, I throw the covers off, stomp out of bed and down the hall mumbling like a lunatic, "What is it? Did one of hundreds of cars drive by? Did the wind blow a leaf by the window? DID A CRICKET FART?!" And I send her back to bed with a slap on the rear.

If this were the one and only issue in the night I might be a little more sane (or a little less insane, depending on how you see it), but I constantly find myself just about to drift off to sleep when I hear a loud THUD, or maybe several quieter thuds in a row. Sometimes I can feel them before I'm awake enough to hear them. If any of you parents out there have children relatively new to twin or toddler beds, you probably recognize the sound of a child falling to the floor. Only here, with all the fans on full blast, everything is a little muffled, and I never knew if it was just the neighbors moving around upstairs, or if it was one of my children, until I began to hear the startled-awake screams which followed. Then, last month, our upstairs neighbors moved out, leaving me wondering what the heck was going on in the middle of the night in my kids' bedroom! It became a mystery to me. The thuds never stopped, and Jelani's theory was that I was hearing things...creating something out of nothing in my paranoid, 24/7 mommy brain, because of course he sleeps through everything.

I was beginning to think that maybe he was right...until last night. One would think that after going to bed at 9:45 last night, I would be well rested today. One would be wrong, and here is why:

11:30 pm - Selah barking
1:23 am - Selah barking
1:35 am - dang it, now that I've been up, I have to pee
1:56 am - THUD thudthudthud.............thud
2:01 am - one more little thud, and I'm up standing at the kids' door, waiting to hear that darn cricket
2:05 am - heard nothing at door. got back in bed
2:28 am - Selah barking
2:50 am - THUD THUUUUUUUUD I thought for sure something happened that time
2:56 am - heard nothing at door and got back in bed
3:31 am - Selah barking (made Jelani go kick her)
3:42 am - THUD......THUDscreamTHUDthudthudthudscreamTHUDthudthudSCREEEEEAAAAM 
3:44 am - Jelani returns after putting Elijah back in bed, and noticing that the night light (which shuts off after 45 minutes) had been turned back on, and Chastity was very much pretending to be asleep with her eyes squinted tightly shut

AhHA! The cricket has been located. I am not crazy, and I do not make up noises in my head. It would appear, through a series of events and deductive reasoning, that Chastity is the cricket..."farting" around in the night when she is supposed to be sleeping. This explains my sleepless nights. This explains most of the light thudding. And this explains her more recent, unusual grumpy behavior in the mornings.

And maybe...just maybe if I can get the cricket to stop farting, then the dog will stop barking, because clearly, poor Selah has been just as confused as I have!

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