Wednesday, May 5, 2010

As it was and as it always should be

I did it again tonight.

With the deft stroke of my fingers around her eyes, I lulled the LGBB into sleep. For the past fortnight, ever since I helped her relax one night when I realised she was far too wired/spooked by the wind to settle down and I really *needed* her to go to sleep and not play the 'Up and Down 10 Times For Umpteen Excuses' game, Lolly has requested I rub her eyes.

"Just a little bit," she negotiates.

For me, as a mother, this is delicious unheard-of territory. I can remember putting the LGBB down in her cot, when she was a wee 8 week-old. I joke not, the kid would look at me witheringly if I so much as lingered by her side, let alone try and stroke her forehead, pat her back, rub her chest.... Nope. None of that hands-on lovey-dovey stuff for Our Lolly. She would literally stare me down, a look of confused "Why are you still here? You are dismissed!" on her face, and I would wander out, rather dazed and confused myself, thinking, "But aren't I supposed to comfort her? Isn't she supposed to fuss so I can go back in and do the "shhhhhh, Mummy's here" rock back to sleep?"

Only rarely did this happen, usually in times of teething or illness. And don't get me wrong! I am not looking the gift-horse in the mouth that was my self-soothing child. She just came out that way, even though I tried to make her dependent on me (obviously), it didn't rub off on her. But I do admit to feeling a bit useless as a mum sometimes because of it. A tad... obsolete, as it were.

Now, for some reason, she asks for her nightly eye rub and I am happy to oblige and indulge. Most nights so far, she has not gone to sleep (I was concerned this would start to be the crutch that kept me in the room and I don't want to be encouraging that) and instead, grins at me when I am done, rolls over and hugs her dog and bunny and we don't hear another peep. But a couple of times, while I have been only part way through, her eyelids have just looked sooooo....darn....heavy..... that she nearly makes me nod off with her.

Tonight, the request was no different.

"Mummy... you rub my eyes a little bit?"

And so I began. I use a technique fashioned from something I picked up when I used to do Shiatsu yoga several years ago. Along the principles of the leylines of the body - the Chi? the meridians? depends who you talk to - and it uses little pressure points. Release points, where stored tension melts away. I'm rusty on the details, but do recall being ever so fascinated to find them on my own face that I have always remembered them.

If you move your finger around your eye socket, directly under your eye (inline with the pupil, I believe) you will feel a little tiny divet - a groove - in the bone. You can feel this on both sides of your face, left and right. Applying a little simple pressure (I slowly, almost imperceptibly, make circles when I do this on Lolly's face) for a few moments before moving on to the next points which are part way up the bridge of the nose, I'd say right where your cheekbone meets your ... nose bone? The next point is right in the inside corner of your eye socket, about the closest point your two fingers are going to be when tracing this path around the eyes. Moving up to the top centre of the eye sockets, you should be able to feel another of those ever so slight little grooves in the bone - if not, you're weird just go for that middle point again. The circle is made complete by pressing on the outermost edge of the eye socket.

From there, I find the two centremost points on her cheekbones (these too have a little groove in them - on my face, they are not very obvious but they are there) and give them a good slow-motion pulse as well. These points are great for stuffy noses and sinus troubles, it just eases the face a little from all the tension of sniffing/nose blowing/blocked sinus.

And then I do various other feather-light fingered traces over her forehead and a super trick to calm the toddler-beast: Make a V with your pointer and middle finger at the hairline, trace it down to a point at the third eye area of the nose between the eyes. I like to infuse my fingers with a little bit of energetic colour as well - usually Electric Blue. A few of those strokes should begin to see a noticeably calmer difference, colour or no colour application.

Whenever I do this, I find myself relaxing into it too. I know that it's no good rushing this and, given I have finally been bestowed with the honour of assisting M'Lady with her slumber routine, I'm not about to wish the time away. So I really get into it. Another 10-15 minutes out of my day, bringing peace and deep relaxation to her in this way, while she is willingly requesting it, is the least I feel I can do.

And then there are moments like tonight, ones that I cannot ever actually adequately put into words. When the moment of sleep overcomes my daughter and she suddenly looks so tiny again. And her face softens and her cheeks look somehow like those cherubic baby cheeks again. The pulls and tics at the corners of her delicate lips, denoting deeper and deeper travels into her subconscious. And the tugging down of the corners of her dear little mouth and her chin as it furrows like she's about to whimper. And sometimes she does, perhaps already dreaming.

I sat and I watched tonight. I smiled and I melted. And I yearned. For whenever I see the LGBB asleep like this, I see her sister in her. Most times, it is a fleeting moment of recognition. Something lovely and "just is as it is". Other times, like tonight, I have to really fight the urge to wake her back up. Animate her. Because that sleeping image of her big sister, whom she asks after more and not less as these months and years wear on, is the one thing that taunts me and chases me around in my daily life.

Lolly told me just yesterday a great big meandering story of events, one that she had put some thought into, obviously, and I felt my heart hurt about Ella for the first time in ages.

"Maybe... maybe you could... I know! Get a pram! And take it to the hostibool and... and... and get baby Ella and bring her back home in it. And then we could go for a walk. You, me, Daddy and Ella. In the pram."

Aeeeeeeeee. My heart. My achey breaky heart. I just don't think it understands.

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