At the beginning of winter, I started putting a knit hat on Hailey when we went out. The hat was a bit big and kept falling down over her eyes. She would give an annoyed cry when this happened as if she wasn’t pleased.

This would happen when we were driving and there were several occasions where I got out at a red light (she rides behind the driver’s seat) to fix her hat. The light would turn green, she was settled, and then less than a minute later her hand was up fiddling with her hat and it was back over her eyes again. I’d fix it at our next stop.

It wasn’t until a trip to the market that I figured out that the hat wasn’t coming down by accident. She was doing it on purpose! It’s about a 10 minute walk to the market from my house and during one particular trip early this winter she kept pulling the hat down over her eyes, I’d stop to fix it, she’d pull it down. I’d stop to fix it, she’d pull it back over her eyes. This continued repeatedly for the entire walk and half way through out shopping.

Finally, I left it down. She went to sleep.

Someone walking by us at the market commented that her hat was over her eyes. I defensively explained that she was responsible for that, not me! They laughed and told me she was just like a bird needing their cage covered to fall asleep.

Hmmm….sometimes it takes a stranger to point out the obvious.

Armed with my new bird analogy, I observed Hailey over the next several weeks as she put herself to sleep. She continued to pull hats over her eyes. She’d bring blankets up in front of her face. One time we found the sleeve of a hoodie draped across her face after she got tired of playing by herself on the living room floor. Another time it was the leg of her stuffed giraffe carefully positioned over her eyes as she rode in the car seat.

Now, as soon as I cover her in the crib she grabs a fist full of blanket and brings it up to her face, sticking the thumb of the same hand in her mouth. Sometimes the blanket isn’t even on her but it’s in front of her face.

A few weeks ago, we had an hour long drive to a friend’s house. It was also the first time Hailey got to ride in her brand new big-girl car seat. Not long after we left she started screaming. We let her cry for a bit but she just got more and more worked up. Finally, I shimmied to the back seat to calm her down.

I knew she wasn’t hungry and her diaper was fine. Was she too hot? Was she uncomfortable? What was wrong? I was a little more worried than normal because it was a new car seat. I got her calmed down after a few minutes but she kept looking at me with her pleading eyes. I had no idea what she wanted. So I just sat back there talking to her. We weren’t going to pull over so she’d just have to live with whatever was bugging her.

After a bit of time passed, an idea popped into my head. I took her blanket and threw it over the top of the car seat and her head. She got really quiet. Was she still alive in there? Yup. I checked. She was sucking her thumb soothing herself to sleep. I waited 10 minutes before removing the blanket and climbing back to the passenger seat. She was sound asleep.

Many “experts” tell us not to use blankets in the crib until age 1 to reduce the risk of SIDS. But Hailey seems to prefer sleeping with a blanket. It’s pretty much a requirement at this point.  At her age, she’s capable of managing the blanket so there’s really no risk of suffocation.

When she was younger, we had 4 incidents where she got stuck under the blanket and couldn’t figure out how to get out. It happened twice while she was lying on her back and twice while she was on her tummy. And you know what? We don’t die when a blanket goes over our head and neither did she. She screamed for me to come and rescue her.

I’m not advocating for the use of blankets in this post. Obviously, if you’re not comfortable using them then don’t do it. Those car seat covers that completely cover the baby freak me out but I see moms everywhere using them. We all worry about different things 🙂

But It’s always cool to realize how intelligent your baby is. Hailey understands that she’s tired, that it’s easier to sleep when in the dark, and grabs something close by to cover her eyes to help her fall asleep. How smart is that?!

I was fighting her in the beginning by fixing her hat, thinking that she just couldn’t figure out how not to pull it down over her eyes. I wonder how long it would have taken me to figure it out if it hadn’t been for that lady at the market!