I’m not a gambling woman, but putting Lucy down to sleep sure does feel chancey to me most of the time. Each time I quickly dash out of the room, heart racing, listening anxiously for any whimpering, I think about how much this process feels like luck rather than skill. Here’s how:
Putting Lucy to sleep is a gamble because…
- You just never know what the outcome will be.
Sometimes I work for 45 minutes to make sure Lucy is fast asleep, eyes shut, body relaxed, breathing deep. Then I put her down and her eyes pop right open again. Other times, she’ll fall right asleep after three minutes and stay that way. Sometimes she chooses to wake up after 20 minutes. Sometimes (thank you, Lord!) she stays asleep for four hours or more. Why? Nobody knows.
- I don’t know when to stop.
One of my big questions is, “How long should I spend trying to get Lucy to sleep in her crib?” It makes me nuts when I spend half an hour or more getting her to sleep, only to realize that I’ll need to wake her again to eat in twenty minutes. But it is a bit addictive. I start off saying, “I’m only going to spend fifteen minutes trying to get her to sleep,” and then after fifteen minutes she seems so close, so I give myself another fifteen, and another. I can stop any time, really, I can.
- The results are fleeting.
I work really hard sometimes to get Lucy to sleep, and then I just have to wake her up again. It feels like money going down the drain. (But of course, it’s not: even the short naps that Lucy gets help her to have the rest she needs.)
- Lucy has a true poker-face.
Just when you think you have her figured out, when she seems totally asleep, bam! she pulls a fast one on you. Or on the other hand, you can be totally convinced she is awake, but upon closer study, she is just rolling her eyes in active-sleep ecstasy. I think she finds it important to maintain an air of mystery, even with her parents.
I am just beginning to feel like I’m not constantly making blind guesses about how to help Lucy sleep. There seems to be some method in the madness. This gives me hope. Will I get to know Lucy well enough someday that we’ll be able to put her to sleep easily, simply, and without the anxiety and crossed fingers? Can we beat the house? Time (and hopefully lots of sleep in the meantime) will tell.