It has become apparent that by sleep training I will be referring to myself, not Alice. It has always been blatantly obvious from the moment she was born that no one can make this child do anything she does not want to do. When she took so long coming out when I was pushing, when she wouldn't stretch out her legs when Ellen wanted to measure her, and now when she just won't go to sleep whenever she doesn't want to, Alice has her own ideas about when and what she will be doing. I am totally cool with that as long as I get adequate sleep and last week that really wasn't happening. She had gotten her first vaccination on Monday and somewhere between the after-effects from that and her outrageous digestive failures by Thursday she wouldn't stay asleep for longer than 30 minutes at a time and I had begun to hallucinate spiders on the bed whenever I would get woken up. At bedtime I would feel like I was still trying to get her to down for her morning nap and my entire day had been spent doing squats in our semi-dark bedroom and singing my 10,000th verse of 'you are my sunshine'. She would go to sleep, stay down for 30-45 minutes and then wake back up in increasing furies to pass gas. Seriously, I don't know what the hell is wrong with her system, but towards the end of the week I was consulting Dr. Google if there was such a thing as being born without the proper organs to digest things. Missing organs and hallucinating spiders. Last week was no good.
The good news is that amongst all that unrest Alice and I found what I will call a 'sweet spot' where she likes to be held. It is pretty much the position I described last week, I'll hold her to my chest sitting in my left arm and put my right pinkie in her mouth but now she has started to sneak her left hand up to find my hand. Her sweet little fingers will search independently of each other all around until they find one of mine to hold onto and she will audibly sigh with contentment when everything is in place, close her eyes and begin to drift off. It is just about the sweetest thing ever. I have a memory of when I was around 3 or so and I would wake up with some sort of nighttime emergency, nightmare or otherwise and I would go to my parents room to wake my mom up. She would get up and come back to my room to lie down with me in my lower bunk until I went back to sleep. I was old enough to know that she would slip away as soon as I fell asleep so I would fight it as long as I could and put my hand on her arm or side, touching her somehow and fully convinced that I would wake up this time when she moved to go back to her own bed, but the warm, secure presence of a mother would put me back to sleep almost instantly. It is like looking into two mirrors at the same time, this mothering thing, seeing where you came from and imagining where you will go. I am sure that I will have to break Alice of the habit of being bounced to sleep in my arms but for now I am so honored with the privilege of having her trust and comfort that it makes my burning thighs and aching knees totally worth it.