Saturday, May 14, 2011

Who is really standing in the way of progress?

Last night Mark wasn’t feeling well, just at the time I’d woken Willow for her feeding and we were going to try to put her to sleep in the bassinet. So we postponed the transition to tonight. Perhaps it will be better, I thought, as we’ll have the first trial run at her 7 p.m. bedtime. It would be easier for Mark to deal with a couple of difficult hours in the early evening than the late evening.
We stayed out late visiting friends, so I wasn’t able to get her ready for bed until 8. I had my share of stressing about it again today, giving her extra kisses, treasuring her smiles, dreading what I expected would be extended crying.
When I brought her up to the bassinet, I realized it was out of batteries. So I couldn’t even give her an initial 20 minute vibration as an adjustment. I held her, considering asking Mark to change the batteries, but decided it wasn’t worth delaying her bedtime even more. I kissed her, lay her down in the bassinet, and put the hippo head of the soft hippo blanket we’ve been using regularly in the swing within her reach. As she batted at the hippo’s head, I turned on the white noise lamb, that we began using only last night (I was hoping for one more sleep aid). I put on the sound of ocean waves, cranked up the volume, and put the timer on the maximum of 45 minutes. I stroked her cheek, left the room, and noted the time on the Sleepy Planet sleep chart, positioned in the office (our command center) across the hall.

As I headed downstairs and switched with Mark (I’d put River to bed while he comforted Willow), I was surprised to not yet hear any crying. As I walked back upstairs with River to read him his story, I still thought an outburst must be coming. Twenty minutes later, stories complete, it was still quiet. “Did we win the lottery?” I asked Mark, shocked that this step I dreaded so much was so completely painless.

Perhaps it helped that she went to bed an hour later than usual and might have been tired enough to not protest. Maybe the sleep aids were familiar enough. It’s possible that the still bassinet is more comfortable for her than a constantly rocking swing in which her head always falls forward. In any case, she went to sleep without a peep. And I realized all my worry was a lack of confidence in her ability to adapt. It was me/us/the parents that were the barrier to her making progress to an easier/safer sleeping solution. Which makes me wonder how often this is the case, how often we hold our kids back because really, it’s us who are afraid.
I doubt this will be easy forever. At some point – perhaps when I wake her for her feeding in 20 minutes, or perhaps during a daytime nap, when the room is brighter and she’s not as exhausted – she’ll likely resist the still, boring sleeping surface. And then, we’ll have to go back to our original plan of comforting her, but letting her work her way through it and adapt. In the meantime though, I’m amazed at how easy it was to introduce a transition I feared and am humbled by the realization that I held her back.

1 comment:

Cassie said...

I know what you mean, because I've felt that way too -- and feel it now, to a certain extent, with Will. But in any case, I hope she slept well the whole night and that this is the beginning of some good, solid, bassinet sleeping!