Way back when we lived in New York. New York is a very noisy city. Our apartment was situated next to the elevator. All day and all night, we heard the following:
You get the idea.
So we had to find a way to shut out that noise. Fans didn't work, neither did staying up all night listening to the noise (very bad idea). Finally we knew we had to do something. I mean this was pre-kids so we didn't have any reason whatsoever to be up in the middle of the night.
Now this was in the Stone Age. There was no Googling, ordering, and waiting for UPS.
Somewhere we heard about something called a white noise machine. And we heard that the store which every New Yorker knows, Hammacher Schlemmer, sells them. [Say that store name fast five times, I dare you. Our kids ended up calling it Hemcher Shemcher]. That was good enough for us - we hopped on the bus and made our way down to West 57th Street.
Sure enough, there it was. In all its beige, retro beauty (see above.)
That night we slept. Ahhhhhhhhhhh, all we heard was the insistent SHHHHHHHHHHHHHH of the machine, and nothing else. Heavenly.
Then, a bit later, we were blessed with our first child. A beautiful girl whose middle of the night crying would wake up people all over the tri-state area. After feeding, burping, and walking back and forth with her, she'd still refuse to settle down. Our doctor said we had to let her cry. I couldn't bear it! I mean, what would she think? That we'd abandoned her? How could I do this?
So, after much soul-searching and many, many sleepless nights (why don't they ever tell you about this in the pregnancy classes???), I left her weeping, trudged back to bed, and let the noise machine (sort of) muffle her cries.
It kinda worked. I mean, 6 months later she was indeed sleeping through the night. I, however, was no longer able to sleep soundly, ever again. But that's another blog post, and if you're a mother you already know what I mean.
So we got used to the white noise machine. And when this baby got older, SHE became a light sleeper - every little footstep woke her up. But did we have a solution? You bet we did! The noise machine! Did we give her our noise machine? Are you kidding me?
No, we bought her her very own noise machine.
Then her brother came along, and he had one in his room. And on and on....
We kind of felt like dealers, you know, "Here, just try this for one night - see, it's good, right? OK, you can have it forever."
On Shabbos, our house sounded like Niagara Falls, with WHOOSH noises coming from three rooms all day long.
So now we had addicted all of our children to this machine. Thankfully, they all grew out of it and none of them uses it now.
However, we still use ours - we are so addicted that we bought an extra for when we travel to people's houses, hotels, etc., and when we made aliyah we made sure we bought one in the 220v version.
I can honestly say that we cannot sleep without it because - get ready for this - it is too quiet for us without the whooshing noise. If we're away somewhere and we forgot to bring it with us, we will do anything to recreate some kind of whooshing noise, short of one of us staying up all night and saying "WHOOSH" so the other one can sleep.
I don't recommend addiction of any kind, BUT if you want to block out noises (street, children, neighbors, annoying relatives) I highly recommend this machine.
When you realize you can't sleep without it, call me and we'll talk.