Hello Sweet Ayla,
You’re off to bed now. Papa is laying beside you until you fall asleep. You won’t sleep without someone next to you. That’s how you have fallen asleep every night of your life so far.
I have no doubt the day will come when you will no longer need us by your side to drift off to dreamland. I look forward to that day as a sign of you growing up and developing self-confidence. I don’t mind laying by your side for comfort, easing you into a peaceful night. I enjoy it, really.
It’s so sweet the way you reach out as you are drifting off. Your hands shoot out to grab hold of me or Papa…just to make sure you’re not alone. And if you wake up and nobody is there – as you often do – you are quick to cry. I don’t know if it’s loneliness or fear, or some other emotion. All I know is you don’t like to sleep alone.
I often fall asleep with you at night when you wake up. When you cry, it wakes me up and I go to you and lay next to you to ease you back to sleep. You immediately go for the milky treats. But I lay there as you get your fill, and we both drift off to sleep, to wake together hours later. Sometimes you wake up first and I know this because you begin with the milky treats. Other times I wake up first, then quietly slip out of your room and back into my own.
Some nights you are restless and this is rather difficult to do, the sneaking out. You seem to have fallen asleep, only to start crying seconds after I leave your room, so I return.
The pediatrician seemed to be a bit judge-y regarding the fact that you are not sleeping through the night, as though it is my own fault. Maybe it is. But…the only way it seems to me that I can address this is to let you cry yourself back to sleep. I simply am not comfortable with that.
I believe that you are learning subconsciously now, and that every time you cry at night, your feeling of safety is either being denied or reinforced. Based on that denial or reinforcement, you will shape your worldview. The results of this may not become apparent for several years, but I believe it is vital for me to be intentional about what I am teaching your subconscious now. When I go to you, your safety is reinforced, and you can rest peacefully. When I let you cry, your safety is denied, and you begin to fear other things. I am simply not okay with even the thought that I might be denying you that feeling of safety and security.
I am your mother. It is my responsibility, privilege and pleasure to be a source of comfort and safety to you.
I have been using this Baby Tracker app for the past year, but these last few days it has been acting up (along with my phone in general). It either won’t save any of the items I attempt to track, so a log is not created, or it won’t even allow me to make the attempt in the first place. It’s very frustrating and has me wondering if I should just can the whole app at this point. I really do love tracking, however, and do find it useful. I don’t have to think about when the last time I fed or changed you was, as I can just quickly look at the app and see. But not these past few days. Hmm.
It’s after 10pm now. You’ve been asleep for about 15 minutes now.
We ordered an adjustable table and chair from Sprout for you and it came in today. You had your first meal at the table (all beans) and it was the first time you fed yourself with a spoon (all beans, you used your left hand, and it was so adorable!). Unfortunately, because my phone is on the fritz, I wasn’t able to take any pictures (I can’t access my camera or my photos!). Papa took several, though, which he sent to me (and which I’m not able to save on my phone at this time…what am I to do?). I look forward to you using both your table and your own utensils every day!
What else can I share with you about you?
Oh my, how you seem very much to enjoy books! I’m grateful for that, and certainly try to encourage it in a non-intrusive way.
There are seven board books you really enjoy. One is the mini board book with all the animals. It’s the same one with the pictures of the ants and kitty that made you cry whenever you looked at it for a time, though you seem to be past that now.
You often bring me one of the six books below to read to you. You haven’t started walking yet (though you often stand without holding on to anything), so you hold the book in one hand while you crawl with the other. It’s a lot more work than necessary, but it doesn’t seem to persuade you to want to walk yet.
In any case, you’ll crawl one-armed to me, carrying the book you want me to read. Sometimes you’ll stop as soon as you’re within sight of me and start crying, holding the book up, so that I will come to you and read it. Sometimes I do. Other times, I tell you to bring it to me so that I can read it to you. And you will crawl to me then, crying the whole way, but perfectly content the moment you reach me and I begin to read your book.
I let you turn the pages when you decide that’s what you want to do. Often, you turn multiple pages at once, or just close the book entirely. So then I sign “all done” and you grab the book to hand to me again for reading. We do this over and over again. It’s really quite cute.
It’s clear to me that you are learning as we read. I fancy that is the reason you bring me the books in the first place – because you want to learn. So we go over them multiple times. You do have particular pages in each book that you favor, without a doubt. They are the pages you will continually turn to. Or, if I have already read those pages and moved on the the next one, that is when you take it upon yourself to turn back a page to revisit your favorite. You do this often. Because it is clear you have a preference, I’m going to share what those preferences are in each of the five books.
“Opposites” by Lovevery – the “closed” to “open” page. You just love this one…I’d say it’s your number one favorite page of all the books. I try to give you examples of what closed and open mean – using my eyes, mouth, hands, and the little stacking cup with the purple lid. Most frequently now I use my fists, and just yesterday you began to mimic the closed and open fist when I used the words as we read the book. You seem to be beginning to understand what those words might mean. I also try to say “closed” and “open” any time during the day that the words fit, so you can see that the words can be applied to many situations.
“How I Feel” by Lovevery – the “Mad” page. You get such a kick out of it. I think it’s because of the face I make, the way I change my voice, and the fact that I pound on the mattress when I am imitating the emotion. You giggle every time and will often turn the pages forward or backward until you reach the “Mad” page.
“Baby Einstein – See and Spy Shapes” by Julie Aigner-Clark – You love this book. It’s a toss-up between this one and “Opposites” as to which might be your overall favorite. The page you love the most is the page with the monkey stacking the tower of blocks; the page of squares. Perhaps that’s your favorite shape. Your second favorite shape seems to be a circle; at least, the page with the bunny and circles on it seems to be your second go-to. You like to go through this book quickly, however. You reach out to turn the page before I’ve even finished reading the first line (there are four lines of text on each page). Then once again, as with all the books, when I finish I sign “all done” and you pick it up and hand it to me again for another round.
“Little Critter Numbers” by Mercer Mayer – you love this, book, too, and most especially the page with with six bears. You frequently turn the pages either forward or backward until you find the bears, then you stop and contemplate the page for a while. It’s clearly your fave. You don’t yet pay much attention – if any – to my fingers when I’m trying to show you how many fingers make six (or any other number in the book, which goes up to ten). But no matter, you really just want to see these bears. I love the way you explore the page.
“My First Easter” by Disney – this is a touch-and-feel book, with every page having a different texture on it (a soft skunks tail, glittery flowers (I know glitter is not a texture…but I’m at a loss as to what the texture of these flowers is rightly called), fuzzy chick, satin bow, sticky jelly beans, and soft bunny ears on a baby Mickey). Your favorite is definitely the jelly beans. You have touched them so much they are no longer sticky. There are traces of stickiness, but it’s mostly gone. You can see bits of dirt on the page that have stuck to the sticky texture, no doubt pulled from your fingers as you explored the jelly beans. This page is the one you always try to hurry us along to get to, or return us to if we’ve passed it.
“My First Signs” by Lovevery – you actually don’t have a clear favorite from this book, but you certainly do enjoy it. Your favorite sign seems to be “all done,” as you use it frequently. It’s really the only sign you use right now. When you want to eat, you will use the “all done” sign. When you want me to read you a book, you use the “all done” sign. I can understand how you might connect “all done” with reading, since I use that sign every time we finish a book, which is often multiple times in one sitting. You understand the sign for “eat,” but don’t use it yourself. When I use it on you, you get very excited and then sign “all done.”
When I read “My First Signs” to you, I sign at each page. I try to take your hand and get you to sign as well, so your body becomes familiar with the movement, but you usually don’t allow me to. When I try to take your hands to sign with them, you pull them away. Occasionally you’ll let me get a sign in there…I’ve shown you how to say “please,” “thank you,” “all done,” and “book” using your hands. I started showing you how to sign “more,” and I think you might be picking up on it.
Now that I think about it, you might actually use the sign for “eat,” but it consists of you opening your hand all the way, splaying your fingers out, and tapping on your mouth. That’s not the sign for “eat” at all, which is why it wasn’t clicking, but that may be what you are trying to say when you do it. I’ll have to pay attention to that.
Well, my Dove, Papa is calling me and I must go to him. It is bed time. It’s best to go to bed now, as I don’t know if you’ll sleep through the night or not. You have been doing so a bit more lately, which is quite nice, but it would be foolish of me to expect as much at this point. I love you, Button, and I hope your dreams are of lovely scenes.