With Una, we were dismayed to find the old trick was ineffective: her eyes would spring open, wider and wider with every stroke (and if anything she was better left to her own devices). But on those rare restless days, we somehow discovered for her it was a matter of starting from her temple and tracing down her cheekbone.
'Show me,' she demands now, as we tell her this in yet another session of family mythmaking, which is daily since Avery arrived. Martin shows her and though she is wide awake, her eyelids flutter, her eyes inadvertantly roll back and for a moment we see those sleepy whites, some residual body memory has kicked in, more primal and more powerful than her cognisant one.
For Avery, who sleeps well but cries more than the others, it is a flat firm stroke of the forehead, my hand almost covering his downy head. In the time it takes the string of his musical elephant to retract, he will fall into sleep. He might wake and fuss, but a few steady applications of this ritual and he will eventually fall deep into a proper, lasting sleep.