Monday, April 12, 2010

Five Nights of Hell Part 2: Convincing ourselves it's ok to continue

Good Evening again. Thanks for rejoining me tonight.

I'd like to apologize to anyone who I may have offended with my complaining or self-loathing over the past 24 hours - here and on FB.

Two things have occurred to me (or been brought to my attention):

1) I don't mean to make anyone feel bad if their baby sleeps well (or better than Sam). If yours does, please count yourself lucky and know that mums like me are jealous but we don't hate you. We just hope that your child needs expensive orthodontic treatment when they are older. JK :)

2) The guilt I am experiencing over this CIO process is my own reflection on how I feel as the mother of my particular baby, and not a judgment on other parents who chooses this method, even if they aren't as morally distressed about it as I am. Sarcasm and self-deprecation are just how I cope. Every family has to do what works for them. And since I am not your child's mother, I have no comment on how you help / teach your child to sleep. Or on any other parenting matter. Unless you beat them. That's not cool.

Recap of last night:

Sam cried for 116 minutes (until 9:10pm). I woke him up to nurse at 11:00 because we are still night weaning. He cried for about 30 minutes after that. I woke him again at 3:00 to nurse (It's been so long since I set my alarm clock that there is dust on the snooze button) and he fell right to sleep after that, no crying. I didn't hear from him in between the feeds and not again until 6:18 am! I can't remember the last time I didn't have to get up between 3 and 6 in the morning. I ignored him for a few minutes, and he might have drifted back off, but by 6:30 he was clearly up and so, then, was I.

I think the biggest success is that Sam did not wake up on his own during the night - or if he did, he went back to sleep without calling me.

This morning he did smile at me, like everyone promised he would. He didn't seem scarred or traumatized or hateful. He did not produce a particularly vengeful poop. He was very tired and definitely more sensitive to me being out of his site for the beginning of the morning. Of course, I projected my guilty feelings onto him, becoming certain that I had irreparably damaged our trust relationship. David said he felt the same way, so maybe it is just us.

Naps today were a challenge, unfortunately, since he usually naps like a pro. He was clearly a little skeptical of us and would not settle in the usual cuddly manner so I put him in the crib awake and he howled for an hour. After that I gave in and took him for a walk in the stroller where he promptly fell asleep for 2 hours. It was a beautiful day so I kept walking and we both got some good fresh air.

-- Here I will take a moment to recognize how we are lucky that Sam is generally a good napper, and that there are babies out there (Noah!) who sleep poorly both at night and during the day. To the mums of those babes, I apologize for complaining and I apologize that your babies hate you. --

Here's the update on tonight - and I apologize that it is not in "real time" like last night because before I had the chance to sit down and start typing, Sam fell asleep.


Mind you, it still took 43 minutes, but that is a far cry (ha ha) from last night's almost 2 hour marathon. By the time I had come downstairs, done the dishes, put the toys away, vacuumed the living room, and been distracted on FB for several minutes, it was all over. We waited for 15 minutes after the crying stopped to go check and sure enough, the Sandman had taken over.

The one thing I did when I checked in on him (despite the book saying "don't touch") is rub his tummy gently for a few seconds. I think it helped because he immediately quieted and stopped kicking his feet like he does when he wants me to pick him up. He even drifted his gaze off to the side like he might fall asleep. He still cried for a little while after that, but I think it helped him relax and give in to sleep sooner than last night. Just goes to show that the books on sleep training may be a good resource but they are not biblical; we know our babies best and can choose to adjust the "rules" as we need to.

So now he sleeps, and both mum and dad feel supreme relief that tonight was an improvement. We were really stressed over last night and had discussed for how long we were willing to continue this "sleep learning" plan. Our limit was 3 nights. If the crying didn't lessen and the sleeping didn't improve we were going to call it off and beg Sam to forgive us. Probably regress to having him sleep in bed with us and let him stay there until he is 12.

My final thought for tonight also came from our conversation today (read: desperate rationalization for torturing our child). Whether this crying business works or not, being distanced or denying Sam our presence and comfort while he learns how to fall asleep on his own is simply one skill-teaching technique that we are trying for this specific issue. It is not a parenting style that we are adopting. David and I are loving, devoted, attached parents and we show him that every day in multiple ways. He will not remember us as those assholes who wouldn't pick him up a few nights in a row.

1 comment:

  1. Jamie & David-
    you are excellent parents! We all know it and so
    does Sam!! Dammit- who knew this parenting
    gig wouldn't be easy! Hugs to the whole family!