Soothing toy or baby voodoo?

My husband and I recently purchased a Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Soothing Seascape for our son. My sister had one for her son and she let me try it out at her house one week. Max seemed to like it, but he didn’t seem completely enamored of it. I guess it is hard to be soothed when your almost-two-year-old cousin is running around and you are in imminent danger of having your head stomped on.

Tiffany said the toy definitely helped them, so I finally overcame my mommy-brain a couple of weeks later and found one on Amazon and purchased it. When it arrived, my husband found some batteries and we set it up next to the bouncy seat in the kitchen while we ate dinner. Max seemed even less soothed than before.

We have been trying to train Max to take naps in his crib for about a month now, in preparation for moving him back to his room at night. We had had very little success. I would get him to sleep, only to run back in to his room three or four times within a forty-minute time frame to replace the pacifier and soothe him back to sleep. I set the turtle up on the side of his crib the day after its arrival with a little hope still left.

Lo and behold. Max began to stare at the turtle with the most curious look on his face. He looked like he was being soothed against his will. It’s the only way to describe it. He was calm, but looked puzzled by it, with his little brow all furrowed. However, he was asleep within minutes. This miracle has been repeated several times a day for the past week.

After the delight and surprise wore off, I began to wonder. Was I really soothing my baby or does the toy have some kind of baby voodoo that compels them to sleep against their will? And if it does, is that really such a bad thing??

Despite the guilt over my caving in to “mechanical parenting” (Lord, how I wish I had never heard of that phrase.), I have come to know that naptime in the crib during the day is a beautiful, beautiful thing. For a few brief, forty-minute to one hour periods a day, my house is mine again. Plus, it takes surprisingly little time for me to miss that smiling face. Which smiles a lot more when he gets proper naps.

I think I agree with my mom. “Mechanical parenting” be damned. Or, at least, not eschewed completely. As Mom wisely said, “If it makes him sleep, just enjoy it.” Or something to that effect. (Sorry, Mom, anything said to me more than a day ago is usually long gone these days.)

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1 Comment

  1. Tiffany said,

    November 18, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    That’s not mechanical parenting as much as it is a comfort item. Josh eats blankets for Pete’s sake! I’m glad that it’s still working for you. Once he gets used to the crib and sleeping alone, he probably won’t even need it anymore.


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