24.5 weeks old
We have a soft block in her crib…it’s the one toy she’s allowed in the. It’s also a great distraction from the sometimes upsetting fact that she’s being put down for a nap. As soon as she pouts and wrinkles her forehead in preparation to cry, I put the soft block on her chest and scratch on the crinkly side. She immediately looks at the block and both her hands reach to hold it and make the crinkle noises. Distracted, I leave. She plays until she falls asleep. Which is usually in five minutes or less. Perfect.
She’s getting stronger now and sometimes the block gets tossed out of reach. Which is what I witnessed today as I peeked from the crack in her door. I could hear her grunting little baby grunts and her hand trying to reach that soft block just an inch or if reach. I didn’t want her to get too frustrated so I popped in and put the block within reach, then popped back out.
And then I kicked myself.
First when it’s nap time I have a rule that I don’t go back into her room after putting her down. If she’s fussing I don’t want her to build the expectation that I’ll come back. She MUST self sooth and go to sleep unaided. (There are exceptions but this is the general principle I follow.) I’ll peek in during meltdowns to make sure there’s no blanket over her face (she seems to prefer blanket over sleep sack but I’ll try the sack again soon) but I don’t go in.
Second, I blocked her from struggling. I totally believe it’s critical for babies/tots/children…heck even adults…to learn how to struggle through something. Sometimes it’s in struggling we find the strength or creativity to attain what we want. Sometimes it’s in the struggle to get what we want that we figure out there’s something better. When we realize these things we are better people for it. And this is necessary for Life. Life from nearly the beginning of time is about struggle…so the sooner we learn to work through it, the better. So back to the soft block…by pushing it towards her I’ve taken the opportunity away for her to stretch herself beyond what she might normally be able to do. It could have been a growth moment. Doh!
Not the end of the world…her next nap is in a few hours. Mommy will try again.