Thursday, February 02, 2006

More Than One Way to Tire Her Out

I joke with friends that our whole strategy with Jada from the time
she wakes up to the time she goes to sleep is to get her to sleep.
And that the whole reason we get her to sleep is so we can get enough
sleep to have enough energy to do the things we need to do once she
wakes up to get her back to sleep. My friends laugh, I laugh, and
then I look at them with a serious look on my face and I say: I'm not
kidding.

Seriously, we put a lot of effort into doing what we can so Jada can
have a good night's sleep. Sleep's where she grows, physically and
cognitively. A good night's sleep and the next day she's fresh and
ready to go. And so are we.

As Jada's gotten more active and more coordinated, getting her tired
hasn't been too hard. We just plop her on the floor, and as soon as
she's down, she's up again – crawling, climbing, feeling her way
across a wall or along a table. We'll run her up and down the hall or
throw her up in the air to get her blood pumping even more.

But there's more than one way to tire her out. Amy took Jada to the
park this afternoon while I was at work. They played on the jungle
gym, rode the swings, and even got licked by a friendly dog. And Jada
rode in the stroller a lot, as Amy took the indirect way to the park,
making a ten-minute round trip well over half an hour up and down the
city streets.

I realized as I was reading Jada her bedtime stories that not only did
she get a lot of physical exertion but also a lot of cognitive
stimulation. Lots of images and experiences and sounds and smells to
process. Her memory drive has a lot less in it than us adults, so
every new piece of data has to be processed practically from scratch,
rather than compared against a vast bank of previous patterns. It's
enough to make your head spin by 7:00pm. We whizzed through bedtime
stories, and after a quick sip on the bottle and a short cry when I
left the room, our baby girl was out for the night.

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