Bedtime for baby

Between 7 and 10 pm (usually not that entire time), Sonja enters what Babi calls her fugue state, or Sonja Jekyll and Sonja Hyde. One minute she’s laughing, the next she’s crying hysterically, and then back to smiling, etc. This repeats with growing intensity until she finally gives it up for the night and falls asleep.

One of our pre-bedtime rituals these days is the putting Sonja in the baby straightjacket, aka the, er, “special hugs” blanket. We got this as a hand-me-down from friends who got it from some *other* friends, and it’s a lifesaver. You plop the baby’s legs into the pocket, then wrap the interior flaps around her arms, pinning them down by her sides. After this you take the super-long flap and wrap it all the way around the baby a few times.

The purpose is to defeat the Moro (startle) reflex. This is the reflex that causes a baby to throw out her arms when she’s frightened or feels like she’s falling. I’m not sure what its evolutionary advantage is–maybe it’s just a byproduct of some other, more useful development. But in any case, it goes off even when she’s sleeping, and it turns out it’s hard to keep sleeping when your own hands keep swinging out, sometimes hitting you in the face. I suppose when she outgrows the Moro reflex in a couple of months, she won’t need the straightjacket anymore.

The funny thing is that Sonja actually seems to like being bundled up in the thing. Often she’ll give you a sweet smile as you wind the cloth around her, as if to say, Finally, someone to save me from those uncontrollable hands! Where have you been?!

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