I remember visiting one of my old school chums two years ago. We were sitting on the floor in her living room and her younger son (he was less than 6 months old then) was playing on a mat as we chatted. And then, he fell asleep - all by himself. I was amazed because, at that point, 1-year plus Ads still had to be rocked to sleep every time. We had to employ a combination of rocking plus music to get him to sleep. How much of this is due to the pampered-first-baby-syndrome and how much due to his inherent inability to soothe himself, I don't know. I knew that some parents sleep-trained their babies and didn't waste half their time devising ways of getting them to sleep faster and easier, but I didn't personally know any such geniuses.
So it has come as a very pleasant surprise (somewhat like an unexpected gift), that Y frequently falls asleep on her own. There are times during the day when I have to use a rocking chair to get her to nap but most often she just sucks her thumb and drifts off into dreamland. Last week there were three nights when all I did was lie down next to her. She gazed into my eyes, her thumb in her mouth. I gazed back. After ten minutes of this, her eyes closed. Just like that. Only a mother (or father) who has endured endless sleep-deprived and frustrating nights will know and understand the miracle and blessing that this is. If we're lucky, this happy state of affairs will continue.
Incidentally, last night we wanted to watch a movie ('Rab ne bana di jodi', for those interested). I always need to give Ads fair warning of a movie screening, so that he knows to play by himself and keep the talk to a minimum. On a whim, I also told him that neither mommy nor appa would help him to sleep tonight and if he liked, he could lie down on my lap and sleep while we watched the movie. I didn't actually expect him to fall asleep like this; I was just trying my luck. But he did. 30 minutes into the movie and he was asleep. What luck!
My white friends are constantly amazed at how high-maintenance Ads is. I tell them all Indian (and Asian) kids are the same.