Sunday, January 08, 2006

Pray for a Turning Point

This may seem trivial, but if you're a praying person, join with us
in praying that Jada would learn how to fall asleep on her own. We
may turned a corner on this tonight, which is something Amy prayed for
earlier this evening, and we're hoping that this thing would stick.

Some background here: Jada's a good sleeper, relatively speaking.
Most nights, Amy and I sleep all the way through without a peep from
her. Sometimes she wakes up crying and is able to get herself back
asleep shortly. Every once in awhile, she cries herself awake and one
of us has to wake up and help her get back asleep. So we can't
complain too much in this category, especially compared to other
parents who have told us how hard their situations are.

But one thing that we know would eventually have to change is how we
get her to fall asleep in the first place. Until tonight, it has
always involved her falling asleep in one of our arms, and then us
laying her down in the crib. We knew she was going to have to learn
how to fall asleep on her own eventually, so we figured we'd give it a
shot tonight.

We had spent the day in Manhattan visiting my sister and her husband.
Jada fell asleep in the car shortly after we left Manhattan around
8ish, and stayed asleep for the two-hour drive. Shortly before we
arrived home, though, she popped awake, and by the time we got
ourselves and all our stuff in the house, she was wide awake. We
looked at each other with a little dread, guessing we'd have a long
night ahead of us of her wanting to play and us wanting to sleep.

We decided to go through our bedtime routine anyway and see if she
might not just get sleepy. I read her a few books while Amy unpacked
our belongings and got the humidifier going. I got to the last book
just as Amy brought in a warm bottle. Jada took a few sips but really
wasn't hungry, so I just held her in the rocking chair for a few
minutes and then laid her in the crib and put her under the covers.

Up until this point, this is our routine most every night, with the
exception that she usually falls asleep while eating, and so when I'm
putting her in the crib she is asleep already. So here I am, putting
her in the crib and tucking her under the covers, except she is wide
awake. I kissed her goodnight, left the room, and braced myself for
escalating howls of protest. At this stage, I'm not even thinking
that she'll fall asleep on her own; I'm just thinking that 1) crying
will tire her out, and 2) even if she fusses, the fact that we went
through our routine might register in her mind that we want her to
fall asleep.

So Amy and I are hanging out in the kitchen, listening on the monitor
to Jada whimper and cry. She's too tired to give us the fall-on
scream, but neither is she quiet. We wait and wait and wait.
Eventually, the crying diminishes and the periods of silence lengthen.
After awhile, it is all silence. We look at each other in disbelief.
Could she be asleep? I go in to check on her, and she is still under
the covers, but has turned over onto her belly (her preferred sleeping
position) and is in fact asleep.

I returned to the kitchen and high-fived Amy. She told me she had
prayed Jada would be able to do just this. We excitedly talked about
how we might now be able to repeat this routine, and over time Jada's
protestations might get shorter and shorter, as she realizes how this
whole going to bed routine works. At least this is what we hope and
pray. So we said a prayer and we'll see how things go tomorrow
evening.

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