For most part of it, this post will feel like I am talking rather than writing. Consider it that way.
I put #BabyHashtag to sleep at least three times a day. There are times when it goes beyond six times a day. Because, sleep regression. But today, I’m writing not because I want to share any sleep training techniques with you. Nor do I want to make any parenting observations. Today, it’s about her. Only her.
I’ve been asked a lot of times as to how I manage working whatever little that I work and manage a baby? First, I have house help who attend to the domestic work and cooking. I just supervise on most days and cook sometimes. That gives me time. I also have a family that is extremely supportive when it comes to taking turns to play with the baby and giving me a break to do something really urgently. But putting the baby to sleep is something that only I do. She does not sleep until I rock her to sleep. I’ve been told that I am spoiling her silly with the whole rocking to sleep jig but I enjoy that time with her more than anything.
Ever since #BabyHashtag turned 8 months old, she has become a more expressive and playful baby. She emotes a lot more now and that helps me immensely in understanding what she wants. So far in life, she’s only nurses to sleep. And it continues to be my favourite time of the day. Most times when she is quite playful when she is ready for bed so I put her in my lap and ignore her while she feeds. Because eye contact with her will result in an instant burst of energy and all my chances of taking a nap with her will go down the drain. I attend to my emails and messages in that time.
Fifteen minutes into this, I sense her attention shifting to other things in the room. The feeble light coming in from the window or the swaying of the curtain suddenly has her attention and she is awed by it. She stares at it for the longest time while I ditch my phone and look at her. She does not like it when you touch her forehead when she’s trying to sleep but when she is busy fascinated by other things in the room, I gently stroke her head and her little soft wispy hair. She definitely has my hair. Brown and silky. She likes it when you pat her back ever so gently at the same time. There is a moment she will turn back up to look at me looking down at her, but this time she will go back to starting whatever she was staring earlier.
She also needs to be constantly sung to. The husband and I made sure we imbibed that habit in her. When we sing the song to her, it’s her way of knowing that we are around. So every time I settle in to put her to sleep, I sing. It is usually a rhyme or ‘lakdi ki kaathi’.
By now she is half asleep. Staring at the light sometimes or just snuggled in my lap.
And then it happens. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful. A sight so heartfelt.
Slowly, she closes her eyes. She opens them a couple of times after, only to look at me and back to the slumber she goes. It takes her ten to fifteen minutes after that to fall deeply into sleep and all this while I am just looking at her, revelling in her innocence and wondering how such a little human can be so perfect. It is the most beautiful thing in the world, having someone trust and love you so much that they know it is safe to lower their defenses and fall asleep in your arms.
Babies fall asleep when they feel both safe and warm. And knowing that I am my little one’s safe and warm haven makes me feel that I am getting to be a better mother with each passing day. Her trust and reassurance is my fuel.
Also, #BabyHashtag’s eighth month account is going to go live on the blog tomorrow.