I try to be a good mom. In fact, I try to be a perfect mom. I’m sure many of us do. But sometimes I just fail miserably. I wish I could say that my child was on a routine and that he had a consistent schedule or that we’ve never had sleeping issues. Sadly, that is far from the truth.
When I was pregnant I read all the parenting books on how to set up a routine schedule and get your child to sleep on their own in their crib. I swore I would follow the advice and everything would go smoothly. Somehow, my fantasy never became the reality. My Lucy Goosey personality has filtered right into motherhood.
I breastfed and my little guy was happy to nurse all day if I let him. He never wanted a pacifier. Why would he? Mommy used to let him eat and suckle whenever he wanted. In my desire to just get some rest and relaxation during those first months of being a new mom I would let him fall asleep at the breast while I laid on the couch and watched TLC. He snuggled with mom and all was right. He was happy. I was happy and getting some much needed down time.
But this only led to trouble as he got older. He never learned to soothe himself to sleep. So ever since he started teething at five months we’ve been battling sleep problems. We’ve tried letting him cry it out. Some babies cry themselves to sleep after 15 minutes. Not Shorty. He’s persistent. I’m embarrassed to admit that one night we let him cry for over an hour before we finally went in and got him. It was sheer torture for all of us. I honestly think he would have cried all night if we had let him. We’ve tried almost every sleep solution out there. Some work for a while, then Shorty decides that he just doesn’t like it in his crib and we’re back to square one. So, either we end up spending a few hours trying to walk or rock him to sleep or we give up and let him come in our bed.
When my husband was traveling almost every week and I found out I was pregnant I couldn’t walk him for an hour or two. So, I just relented and let him sleep in bed with me. It was nice. We snuggled and we both got a good night’s sleep. The problem was either I had to go to bed when he did or he had to wait for me to be ready to go to bed. When Big wasn’t traveling the bed was too crowded and none of us could sleep very well. So, after the second miscarriage Big and I decided that enough was enough. We needed some alone time and Shorty needed to learn to sleep in his crib.
For the past two weeks we’ve been doing the Sleep Separation Technique recommended by our favorite Supernanny. We put Shorty in the crib and then we sit on the floor and don’t look at or respond to him when he begs to get out. The first night it took 45 minutes for him to finally give up and go to sleep. I cried for most of that time because he was screaming ‘mommy’ and I felt like a horrible mom for not going to him or at least responding. The second night he cried for 30 minutes. We’re now at the point where he lets out a small protest for less than five minutes and passes out. The only night I had a problem was the first night Big travelled in weeks. Shorty knows I’m the softy in the sleep department. So, since dad was away he thought if he continued to cry I’d give in. I’m happy to say I survived the 45 minutes and Shorty only cried for about 5 minutes the second night.
Here’s the problem. By now Big and I should not even be sitting in the room. Shorty should just be plopped in his crib with a good night kiss and he should fall asleep without us having to sit in his room. Well, we’re only half way between his crib and the door after two weeks of doing this. I know, I know, we’re pushovers. But hey, we’re not walking him, he’s not sleeping in our bed, and he’s sleeping through the night again. We feel like we’ve won a small battle even if the war isn’t completely over.
I’ll let you know how things progress. Who knows maybe next month I’ll be telling you all how I finally established a real schedule in our house.