"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Thursday, April 1, 2010

so cry, cry baby

I didn't think I'd be writing this post about my laid-back, easy-go-lucky, fat and happy Baby #2. My husband knew it was an inevitability, but I was in denial.....or maybe overly optimistic is a better way to put it. This post will be my first in a, hopefully short, series of Sleep Training Posts. I don't like the term "sleep training," but I really don't want to call it what it is: I Let My Baby Cry Himself To Sleep. So here goes, but first, a little background.

Evan was a...."high maintenance" baby from the start--in all areas, really, but especially with sleeping. He was a gorgeous, happy baby, with a jet-black mohawk and an impish crooked grin. And he had me completely and totally wrapped around his tiny, but ridiculously long, fingers. I held that kid all day long. I did it because it was easier (he slept so snugly in my arms) but also because I wanted....no Needed! to. I was planning on returning to work after four months of leave and that countdown clock to Leaving My Baby started ticking the very second I first laid eyes on him. I thought I had to get all of my holds in while I could...so we could SuperBond and he wouldn't forget about me when I went back to work. Well, we did SuperBond. We were so SuperBonded, in fact, that it wasn't long before I was the only person who could soothe him....day or night. And because of this, the thought of dropping him off at daycare, where no one would have the time to rock him to sleep while gently stroking his forehead and humming John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy," made me sick to my stomach.

So I didn't go back to work. But in the process of bonding and unexpectedly ending my career, I had created a monster. For naps, I'd put him down in his co-sleeper, or crib, or on my bed, or wherever, and when he woke up after 10 or 15 minutes, I would just pick him up and hold him while he finished his nap. At night, we co-slept because it worked (we all got some sleep) and because I'm pro-co-sleeping anyway; it didn't take but a whimper on his first night home to convince me to bring him into our bed. Co-sleeping, in theory, would have been fine, but the kid needed me to be lying right next to him in order to sleep....which meant that his 8pm bedtime became my 8pm bedtime, which meant I didn't see my husband for months.

So at 10 months.....after Ten Loooonnnnnnggg Months, I decided that we were ready for Sleep Training (my husband had been ready for months). The first night, we did our bath and bedtime routine and I kissed him and walked out of his room. The crying began, quickly escalated into a hysterical screaming tantrum fit, and continued. For THREE Hours. Yes. THREE. HOURS. And when he finally did fall asleep, he fell asleep Sitting Up. I'm not kidding.

Then next night was the same thing. The third night was better, screamed for 30 minutes, then sat up, awake, for three hours before falling asleep. It got progressively "easier" and by a week and a half, it was over. We would do our bath and bedtime routine, give him a kiss and say goodnight. But getting to that Happy Goodnight Place was miserable. It was without a doubt, my low point as a parent....and that's saying something coming from a parent whose kid has ended up in the ER after an anaphylactic allergic reaction. The reaction was scary, but I didn't do it "to" him. The seemingly endless hysterics? I made that happen.

So fast forward to now. I have a 5.5 month old who, up until a few weeks ago was sleeping beautifully. Napping during the day on his own and sleeping well right next to me at night (I still stroke his forehead and sing Lennon, but it's more for me than him). Then, somehow, something happened. I promise I didn't change anything...he just stopped wanting to sleep with me. [sniff.] Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights, we Did Not Sleep. And everyone was miserable. It was very clear that it was time to take some drastic measures.....but it wasn't so long ago that Mr. Falls-Asleep-Sitting-Up was also telling us that it was Time, and the memory of that misery came rushing back to me in surround sound. Was I really ready to do it all over again? Three nights + two kids under three - sleep = Yes. I was ready. And I was pretty sure my little roly poly baby was, too.

Wednesday: Night #1
The stars aligned for a good night to begin sleep training tonight, so I did it anyway...a day before previously planned (seems like planning major parenting moments doesn't work for me). Max was tired, but not overtired, had a great nursing session, and was really restless while I tried to cuddle and rock him. So, I finished the final stanza of Imagine, put him in his bed, kissed a fat little cheek, said good night, and left.

I went straight to the video monitor. He cried, but it was irritated, What The Hell? crying, not hysterical, I'm Hyperventilating crying. It was difficult, but I could listen to it without bursting into tears myself (I can't say the same about Evan). He rolled around and stared straight into the video camera a few times......and then....after a mere SIXTEEN minutes (16!! 1-6!!!!), he fell asleep. Lying Down.

He woke up again at 9:45 (his typical, of late, first wake up time) and I let him fuss, squirm, whine for another 15 minutes. He fell asleep AGAIN until 11. At this point, it was time for him to eat and I didn't want to let him cry again, so I fed him and then brought him into our bed. He slept pretty well until 3, ate again, and slept great until 6am, when Evan decided it was Wake Up time for everyone. Ugh. Oh, well.

All in all, a Great First Night.

Lesson Learned:
Everyone will tell you, but you don't really get it until you see it with your own eyes, but every kid REALLY is different.

No comments :

Post a Comment