While scientists still are not 100% sure about the purpose of sleep, they do know it is vital to learning. I cannot begin to comprehend what goes on in a baby’s brain while she sleeps since there is simply so much to process, but I occasionally get little glimpses into it.
During periods when Elia’s just exploding with new “tricks” – like now – her sleep becomes, well, a nightmare. I’ve noticed that in the early morning hours, between 4 and 5, that she’s very restless and very difficult to get back to sleep. The perfect duo of nursing and rocking just doesn’t do its trick during these phases.
She appears to be asleep. Her eyes are closed and her face and body are fairly relaxed, but it is as though she is compelled to rehearse all of her new learning and it’s beyond her control. Without fully waking, she reviews all her sounds: raspberries, kisses, “ooohhh”, “doh (dog), doh, doh, doh, doh, doh, doh, doh, doh” ad infinitum. Or so it feels at 4 am. Her body is in on this mandatory review as well. Her little feet spin constantly while her hands fly through her signs. Waving, clapping, pointing, milk, happy. She sucks her lower lip, grimaces, then smiles. She giggles as she reacts to some memory that I’m not privy to. She tosses and turns on her boppy; she nurses and stops. This can carry on for an hour. Good thing it is so amusing to me to watch. Finally, finally those little twirling feet slow down, and her movement changes from purposeful motions to the jerky twitches of sleep. I turn her to me, use my arms as a human swaddle and nurse her one final time. I rock firmly until her little head starts to sway with the rhythm and I know the show is finally over.
Sweet dreams, princess.