Thursday, April 23, 2015
Let's Sleep Train This Baby
I hesitate to even write those two words because I know it's a controversial topic and I'm opening myself up to a barrage of criticism, but I am tired, people. I need a good stretch of uninterrupted sleep to happen like yesterday, so it's on: we are going to sleep train the Little Lady.
Please don't send me hateful emails with a link to an annoying article that claims letting a baby cry it out causes brain damage. Firstly, I've probably read the article, and secondly, you know what else causes brain damage? Having a mother who is so exhausted that she nods off while giving the baby a bath thereby causing accidental drowning.
Look, this is not my first time at the sleep training rodeo, so I kind of know what I'm doing. The reason I haven't pulled the trigger and sleep trained the baby already is because Rose screaming blood murder in the middle of the night also wakes up the Muffin Man. A tired and grumpy toddler is just more than an exhausted Mommy can handle, but it really does have to happen, because I looked in the mirror the yesterday and realized that I'm starting to look a lot like my grandmother... at the age of 65.
If you're a longtime reader here at the Misadventures, you know that I'm all about Attachment Parenting or whatever it's called these days. Heck, I've spent the better part of two years with a small infant sleeping in my bed and sucking the life out of my boobies, and while I believe that Dr. Bob Sears is telling the truth when he says that eventually all kids learn to sleep through the night, I cannot possibly function on interrupted sleep cycles until Rose is five. If you can be a good wife and a good mother and a functioning human without having slept through the night for the better part of a decade, my hat is off to you! You are a better woman than I, and I'm sure you'll be more than happy to remind me of that fact should we ever meet in person.
I, however, know my limits. I can't continue on this way and be the Mommy that I want to be, because I am a tired, grumpy and overcaffeinated and this morning I snapped at my sweet Husband because he didn't get my steamed milk hot enough when he made my coffee. That's right, he made me coffee and brought it to me in bed and I yelled at him because the temperature was not "boiling lava" the way I prefer it. So yeah, not sleeping turns me into an ungrateful harpy.
Before you criticize my decision to sleep train too much, please keep in mind that Rose is a healthy nine month old. She is not a newborn or even a three month old who absolutely must eat every few hours. She gets plenty of milk and solid food during the day and is perfectly capable of sleeping for twelve hours without waking up hungry. In fact, when I do try to feed her at night, she doesn't even want food. She doesn't want anything to do with me or milk, and instead prefers to howl loudly from the comfort of her crib while simultaneously throwing pacifiers and blankies on to the floor of her room with a force matched only by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. I'm pretty sure most people would agree that when even your child is rejecting your attempts to soother her, she's interested (and ready) to learn to do it herself.
Tonight is the night. The Hubby is on board, and I am ready to make this happen.
The good news (for us) is that Rose is almost there. She puts herself to sleep every night, and for naps too, but for some reason she just can't seem to soothe herself in the middle of the night. When she wakes up in the wee hours of the morning she WAILS at the top of her lungs and sometimes even stands up in her crib at the spot closest to the door so that we can more effectively hear her cries.
Because we are suckers, and because in the middle of the night you're so exhausted you'll pretty much do anything that will expedite your getting back to bed, the minute we hear a peep out of her we rush into her room and give her milk. Oh sure, it helps her go back to sleep, but we have turned ourselves into enablers feeding her bad habits, pushing that warm, milky drug that she no longer needs; we are the people they warn you about in AA. It stops tonight; we are cutting her off.
Here's the plan:
When Rose wakes up, give her a minute or two to try to soothe herself.
If she doesn't go back to sleep I'll go in, put her pacifier in her mouth, lay her blankie across her face, and then go back out.
Assuming that she pulls her usual stunt and throws her pacifier out of her bed and begins screaming again, I'll go back in five minutes later, put the paci back in her mouth, place her blankie over her eyes and then go back out.
I will do all of this while remaining silent, because the minute you start chatting with your baby she thinks it is party time and all of the sudden she has more energy than a club kid on Ecstasy. I'm praying she gets the message really quickly and that I'm not up for more than 10 or 15 minutes.
We did try this with Noah and every time I went in it made him cry harder, so I finally just gave in and let him cry it out. As I recall, he cried for about 10 minutes the first night and three minutes the second night and he's been a superstar sleeper ever since then. But please, go ahead and tell me how I've damaged him emotionally or cognitively because I need a new topic to discuss with my therapist this week and wanting to punch you sounds like a good one.