Monday, January 16, 2006

A "Quick Minute"

After putting B to bed this evening, C was on his way downstairs when a little voice came floating down... "Dad, can I have a quick minute?" Since they had been playing a board game for an hour before bedtime, I volunteered to go up so C could make lunches for work & school tomorrow. A "quick minute" is the term B uses to ask us to come & just lay in bed with him for a bit, after lights out. It took a while to shovel aside the herd of stuffies surrounding his pillow (I finally used Pikachu as a pillow :) & get comfy, then to the business of helping him to calm down & prepare himself for sleep. I usually ask him to relax & not wave any of the stuffies around. Them after a bit of chatting, remind him that it's time to be quiet & try to rest... that usually does it & these days it's no more than 5 minutes before he's ready for me to leave.

I couldn't help but be reminded of the evolution of this night-time ritual, which he (blessedly) needs less & less as time goes by. I mentioned in "History pt. 1" that B was considered a "high needs" baby, & from our reading on the subject we got the idea that this indicated that his neurological system was still too immature for him to soothe himself at all, so he was taking his cues from us (our bodies, really). His infancy was essentially a "quick 5 months", since it took him that long to feel secure sleeping without us right next to him. The next stage was where we had to rock him to sleep every time he woke in the night- this lasted until he was 2 1/2 & C & I coped by taking shifts, so at least one of us was off the hook when B woke up. It could take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to get him back to sleep & deciding just when he was asleep enough to put back in the crib without re-awakening was a delicate process. The next stage was being in the room until he fell asleep, but not actually holding him. My main memories of this were from the occasions that he'd wake in the night (not every night, but enough to remark upon- & remember). We had moved his crib into the room that had the "big bed" but he wasn't sleeping in the "big bed" yet, so I would lay down on it, next to the crib, & try not to fall asleep myself so I could go back to my own bed, clock, husband when B was asleep. Again, deciding when he was asleep enough for me to creep out of the room was not easy to do, made even more exciting by the squeaky floorboards of our 1920's-era house. Eventually it all evolved into a "quick minute" laying next to him on the bed- early on we'd wait until he was asleep, but as he got older we'd use music or story-tapes to help him to sleep, instead of our presence. He still wakes in the wee hours of the morning fairly regularly & if we'd let him he'd happily put on the light & play until it was time to get dressed for school. If he calls for us, then we go in & try to get him back to sleep, but sometimes he just hums or puts in a tape on his own, or talks to his stuffies quietly. It has been heartening to see the progress he's made toward soothing himself... lately we've been talking about life-skills (he & I) like learning patience & learning to think before speaking. I think that falling asleep on ones own is definitely a good life skill to have! Having the words to ask for what one needs is also a very good life skill, & I find the "quick minutes" these days to be much more enjoyable than in the days when they were constant & there was no light at the end of the tunnel. This evening when I reminded him to relax, I couldn't help but be reminded of the baby who couldn't sleep unless someone was holding him. It's comforting to feel that just my presence can hold him as closely as my arms used to, especially since he's gotten too big to sit on my lap any more & has to settle with dad's- & frequently still does :).


Post a Comment

<< Home