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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Meditation and the Art of Putting a Baby to Sleep

I'm in the process of teaching my daughter how to fall asleep. It's a tricky skill to master - going to sleep. It involves a sleep time routine that we go through for each nap and bedtime. The routine ends with her swaddled, in my arms.

The first thing I do is get really comfortable so I have the patience to sit with her for five or ten minutes. The second thing I do is close my eyes.

Why do I do this? Because she watches me. Her beautiful, big eyes stare into my face while she drifts off and I've noticed that as long as I look back she keeps searching and searching my thoughts.

So I close my eyes to show her that it's time for her to close her eyes and every few seconds I peek to see if her lids are drooping. During this game of hide and seek I also rhythmically shush. I do it in long, single breaths so as to sound like waves falling on the beach, or wind pushing through branches.

These long breaths also calm me down. With each exhale I feel my body relax, and my chest unwind. My father told me once, after magically getting Noelle to fall asleep on his shoulder, "You've got to get real still inside." And so that's what I think of every time I let out a long breath.

The thought occurred to me this morning as I was putting Noelle down for her first nap, that if anyone walked in on me in that moment I would look like the pajama-clad version of a buddhist monk in meditation-- sitting cross legged, eyes closed, arms folded around a little bundle, and the long hum of one syllable - shhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

3 Comments:

Blogger Talia said...

You're absolutely beautiful. And so is Noelle. You are so blessed.

I've been reading your blog here for quite some time . . . lurking some may call it, since before Noelle was born, or even thought of perhaps. Thought I might comment and say hello. We knew each other once, a lifetime ago, in a high school I'd like to forget sometimes. *waves* Hello;)

4:23 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I've been devouring Marc Wissbluth's book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I just started using his principles today and voila! he slept better today than he ever has...of course, I've only been at it one day...we shall see.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

This is beautiful. I hope to see a version of it come my way for editing-on-the-way-to-submission soon ;)

6:27 PM  

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