Some of you might recall that Joel and I have lost sleep in the name of research. Now that Kerrington is one year old, her longitudinal sleep study is halfway over.
If you're new to Pink Dryer Lint or need a refresher, click on the original post that details this, um, experience.
Considering that this week marks the fifth time we've participated in the experiment, I've grown accustomed to the watches. I rarely forget to click mine or Kerrington's when we go to sleep. My pace when filling out the paperwork has improved. I've trained myself to stop looking at the clock when I'm trying to fall asleep at night.
We're making progress.
Yesterday I visited a lab on campus for a quick test of Kerrington's attachment to me and her reaction to strangers. She played on the floor with an assortment of toys while I joined her. Then, in increments of three minutes, different stimuli were added or changed.
First, a researcher -- a sweet, fresh-faced grad student -- entered the room and sat in a chair quietly. Kerrington eyed her, glanced at me, looked at her again, back to me, and finally refocused on her toys.
Then, the researcher and I engaged in conversation. Again, Kerrington watched our exchange, pivoting her head back and forth between us as if she were witnessing a tennis match.
Next, the researcher got down on the floor and played with Kerrington, showing her blocks, teaching her to tap the xylopohone, and talking to her gently.
The following stage was the crux. I left the room for three minutes while Kerrington was left alone with the researcher.
Let the crying begin.
I stood in the annex behind the one-way mirror while two researchers observed and filmed the interaction. (This, I suspect, is the closest I will ever come to a legitimate interrogation room. I need to convey the experience to my oldest daughter. I think she'll be impressed.)
Kerrington's face grew red and scrunched as her mouth opened wide in silence before the cry emerged. The researcher picked her up and rubbed her back. Kerrington reached her arms toward the door.
The time was up. I reentered the room, said her name, and just like that, those tears stopped. The test was over.
Now I'm sure that the researchers were looking for elements that I didn't notice or heed, but for me, the take-home message is this:
Right now, I have a small window in Kerrington's life where my mere presence makes all things better. I hope that this lasts a while.
We moms can stop tears just by showing up. That's research-worthy.