Ever since Anna was about four months old, she’s been sleeping with a little square blanket we call her silky. It started because I saw how much Louie Quinlan loved his monkey blanket, and honestly, I was desperate to offer her some kind of item that she could use to sooth herself to sleep. Around that time I noticed whenever we laid her down, she’d try and snuggle up close to the crib bumper and rub her face all over it. This of course is a big SIDS no-no, so the bumper got removed and I looked for something else she could rub on her face. Buried in her dresser was a small pink Carter’s blanky that someone had given us for a shower gift. It seemed like the perfect solution.
Of course, the solution wasn’t our brightest move because immediately after Anna fell asleep, Jonathan would insist that one of us sneak into her room and remove the silky, which she’d usually placed over her face. I’m sure responsible parents would have simply looked for another self-soothing option, but, not us! We saw how Anna immediately grasped that thing like it was an extra large tub of movie theatre popcorn. Her little eyes would start drooping and her tongue would poke through her lips as she drifted off to fairy land. We’d discovered a magical sleep inducer, and we weren’t about ready to give it up!
We’ve gone through several silkies in the last 10 or so months. The first one got dropped somewhere at John Wayne Airport and was soon replaced with a $40 silky from my parent’s friends, which is naturally her favorite. We’ve of course purchased a (cheaper) back-up option for days when her favorite is being washed. And even though the silky is supposed to be reserved just for bedtime, our sneaky girl has been pulling it out of her crib during the day for a cuddle here and there. I’m contemplating bringing it to church with us until she grows out of her extreme attachment phase because yes, I’m that lady with that baby who cries the entire time she’s in the nursery. Moving on.
Late last night I snuck into her room, as Jonathan or I will do most nights. We like to stare at her fine features and steady breathing. Sometimes I will pray for her, and, if I’m really brave, attempt to put my hand on her back. I’ve always loved this time but I’m enjoying it even more as she’s become so active. Her little body is no longer very little. She stretches out like a child now, her limbs in funny positions. Her hair is getting longer, wilder, and her feet are chubby like Cabbage Patch dolls. I remember when they were fragile and fine, attached to skinny legs that had not yet inhaled yogurt and strawberries and ice cream.
She must have heard me when I tip-toed in, because she gave a little yelp, sat up and immediately laid back down. Her eyes never opened. She laid on her side, switching the silky back and forth between her hands in a rhythmic motion as she soothed herself back to sleep. It was not too long ago that when she woke suddenly, she needed someone else to help her back to sleep. Soon she will not need me or her silky to sooth herself to sleep or rescue her from the church nursery. Someday there will be a point when I’ll feel like she doesn’t need me at all.
But, I guess I’m realizing that it will always be my job to gaze at her beauty, and pray over her body, and love on her even when she’s unaware or too busy to notice.
For now, I’m just so thankful to have moments amidst the chaos when I get to really notice her.