Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tough Love

Okay, so I have a theory...deep in every tiny baby's heart is a desire to sleep. To put themselves to sleep, to not dread sleep and to find dreamy, peaceful, wonderful comfort in sleep. Therefore, since my now 8 year old was just about two months old I started the "tough love" method of putting him to sleep, letting him cry it out if needed until he learned to put himself to sleep. I never let him cry for longer than 10 minutes at this tiny age and he got the hang of it immediately! It worked so well that I've done the same thing with each of my babies at around this time. Well, Will has still been sleeping in our bed (because seriously, it is JUST SO MUCH EASIER!!!) and has been sleeping ALL night long for at least a few weeks - I realized the other day that he is about the age where I should start laying him down to sleep before he's actually "sleeping" and let him put himself to sleep. SO, I tried this a few times by laying him on our bed (the bed he's been used to since he came home from the hospital) and it worked like a charm, one second he's awake, the very next second he's out like a light, not even a whimper! YAY ME! (Okay, it's obvious by the Yay Me! remark that I've been watching WAY TOO MUCH Zack and Cody with the boys - but it's the first thing that came to my mind so I'm rolling with it!) So then Friday afternoon I thought to myself "Hey, this is going so great, I should try putting him in his crib!" And thus, the screaming began...AND, to top it off, I'm discovering that the 4th time around I'm a MUCH bigger sap than I have been with the other three...maybe I should say "first two" since I've pretty much been going downhill since Gabe started using his beautiful chocolate brown puppy dog eyes as ammo on me from the time he was about 4 months old. I've always been secretly proud of my parenting skills as far as following through, standing my ground etc...until he came along and I swear he takes great pride in being responsible for my parental undoing! :) ANYWAY!!! ...as I was saying, I'm a MUCH bigger sap with this perfect little baby boy and hearing him cry scream for even a few minutes about did me in. So much so, that I didn't even try the crib yesterday - but TODAY was a new day, I woke up ready to tackle the crib with Will but not the potty with Gabe...BABY STEPS PEOPLE!! The potty will have to wait for another day. Once again,ANYWAY!!... I took the boys to see "the BEE Movie" today and when we got home I could tell that Will was exhausted and not hungry since he'd been eating nonstop in the movie so I thought it would be a good time to give the crib another go...Now I also have another theory, based on prior experience and that is that there are steps to the crying it out method that you can hear just by listening to the cry itself. I believe it goes something like this:

Step 1 - the whimper cry that seems a little confused as to what just happened, as if he is saying: "HA! Yeah right Mom...really funny, yep - the crib is cute and all, love the soft sheets, but you're not fooling anyone, I mean COME ON! You didn't REALLY think you'd get away with putting me in this thing did you? Now pick me up, hold me close again and I'll calm right down...last chance! Oh yeah right...like you REALLY think I'm going to go for that binky thing that you just shoved in my mouth...Seriously Mom...I'm about to get really upset here...I'm NOT KIDDING!" which leads us right into Step #2...

Step 2 - the increasingly "louder by the second" cry...louder and louder and seeming to say: "Okay, okay - I get it, you're trying to prove a point. Point noted, now PICK ME UP, this isn't funny anymore!! For CRYING OUT LOUD (HA! Cute little pun I didn't even plan on) this is RIDICULOUS! I will give you ONE MORE CHANCE to pick me up and I will calm down...ONE MORE CHANCE! - HOW MANY TIMES do I have to spit that binky out before you realize I DON'T WANT IT!! Okay, you've done it now, you asked for it...here GOES!" onto Step #3...
Step 3 - the full-on SCREAM! "Oh....you've REALLY done it this time! I'm a NEWBORN for heaven's sake! I'm not supposed to be allowed to cry like this...you just WAIT until Daddy gets home! He's going to get an earful this time, I tell you WHAT! Don't you think this is working, don't you DARE think this is working, I'm NEVER going to stop crying NEVER, you've done it now, you think I'm kidding but I'm not, I am NOT KIDDING - I am going to cry forever...you just...sniff, breathe...sniff...you just ...sniff, calming...sniff...you just wait..sniffle...breathe.... and finally, Step#4...

Step 4 - the occasional sniffle and suck in of breath..."okay Mom, I think we started off all wrong...OBVIOUSLY, you're serious here, I need sleep, you can see that, I mean even I can see that, you know I don't normally act like this, I don't know what got into me...why don't you put that binky thing back in my mouth and we'll start over...let's just pretend this never even happened...you forget about it...I'll forget about it, heck! I'm a newborn, I've ALREADY forgotten about it! No hard feelings? No?? Okay good - over and out.....ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ....
And there you have it, the tough love method...those four steps - if your babies are as predictable as mine will occur in 10 minutes or less (the time seems to increase the older they get which is why I like to start trying at about 2 months)and your baby will be OUT for the COUNT! So did it work today??? Like a charm, he was out for 2 hours, HOORAY! The best part of this story (other than the fact that it is almost done, HA!) is that I laid him down there again tonight after FHE (Sam chose to play "Sardines in the dark" for the activity which is VERY hard to do holding a baby) and he went out without a peep and was still sleeping until I got him up to change his diaper and put on his p.j's for the night...where is he sleeping now?? Uh...right beside me in our bed as I type this on the laptop...he might not leave our bed in the night until I stop nursing...I think I'm just getting too lazy!!! Hooray for my little crib sleeper! I am so proud of him! I love this baby!!!

5 comments:

Camille... said...

WELL DONE YOU!!! Did you see what I did on my blog? Yeah it took me 6 months to do this. You're way better than me!!!

Dickson Circus said...

HA HAA!! I have a 6 month old who still isn't sleeping through the night. I FEEL YOUR PAIN! I feel like Paisley says, "hey, this isn't my usual queen sized bed! Where are my nice sheets? where is my memory foam? This "crib" is TINY."

Peggy said...

Good for you! I'm excited to have a crib sleeper too, but unfortunately Audrey is still hogging it. So the Graco will have to do for now.

lisareneenielsen said...

HAHAHA I love the steps. You should write a book on it, Mel. Good for you for hanging in there! With my fourth, I was in survival mode and just did whatever it took to have peace.

DIANE said...

This story cracked me up. I have to say I started my parenting with a lot of tough love but by the fourth I was worn out and just let the kids do anything that didn't cause too much disturbance. Poor Cade, lucky Shanel.