My favorite time of the day is when I get to have quality time with my 16-month old. My second favorite time of the day is when I get her to sleep at the end of it.
As I write this, I can hear her sobbing in her room. I’ve left her there to allow her to put herself to bed. After 16 months of not sleeping, I’m tired. My hubby’s tired. And it’s not helping the Monkey either. She’s been waking up more and more lately, probably due to teething, and still getting over the stuffiness of last week’s cold. The last few nights it seems we’ve got a newborn again, though now our newborn walks into our room in the middle of the night on her own and climbs into bed with us.
I’m not going to leave her there crying for too long. I’ve got the timer going on my phone. It’s been 7 minutes and 26 seconds… 27 seconds… 28… At 10 minutes, I may poke my head in to tell her I love her and give her a kiss, but then I’ll tear myself from the room once again.
So why is a mother who has been so adamantly non-cry-it-out-method for 16 months suddenly sitting alone in the living room while her child sobs upstairs? Because this is how a typical day has been going for us lately:
6:00am – Wake up
8:30am – Either push her around in the stroller, or drive her around in the car for 10-50 minutes, trying to get her to take a nap (which she hasn’t been lately)
2:00pm – Either push her around in the stroller, or drive her around in the car for 10-50 minutes, trying to get her to take her second nap (which she may or may not do, or may do and then wake up as soon as we remove her from said stroller or carseat, only to cry out of unfulfilled exhaustion).
7:30pm – Either push her around in the stroller, or drive her around in the car for 10-60 minutes (or hopefully nurse her to sleep in 15 minutes flat) trying to get her to go to bed for the night.
So again, why am I still sitting here, 13 minutes into the crying? Because something’s got to change.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still pro-non-cry-it-out. I don’t regret any of my choices in her sleeping habits. I’ve always been perfectly in favor of cry-it-out for other people, if that’s what they choose to do. But for me and my little lady, I’ve never liked it. (Note: This is one hot topic, if you didn’t know already. If you want to see a bunch of mommies being opinionated a-holes with each other, Google a forum on the cry-it-out method. The mommies on the “pro” side tell the the “anti’s” that their kids are going to be sleeping with them when they’re forty, while the ones on the “anti” all but accuse the “pro’s” for teaching their child that no one loves them.) But I digress.
All I care about is that it’s 16 months later… and I’m tired. [How tired are you?] I’m so tired that yesterday, after the first full night’s sleep I’ve had pretty much since she was born (thanks to my hubby letting me sleep in) I felt like I could take over the world. Hell, I considered going for a jog. I felt fresh and new and revived. And all I had done was had almost the same amount of sleep “normal” people have every night.
At 13 minutes and 26 seconds, the crying stopped. I went back upstairs and slowly opened her door. I did this for two reasons: (1) If she was asleep, I wanted to know, so I could feel at ease about her being comfortable and safe, and (2) If she was awake, I wanted to show her she wasn’t alone, but that I don’t open the door to crying, only quiet. Well, I opened the door and there she sat, peacefully, at the back of the bed on a pillow, looking at her book. She looked up at me, gently. She didn’t have any disdain in her eyes, or pain or resentment. She was tired.
I lay down in her bed next to her. Without a peep, she climbed on top of me. Within seconds, she fell asleep, lying on my chest. After lying there with the most still, sleeping baby ever, my eyes started to tear up. Maybe it was from total exhaustion. Maybe it was from sadness for letting her cry for 13 minutes and 18 seconds. Maybe it was from the happiness of having my favorite little person just give up when she’s in the comfort of my arms.
So the cry-it-out method was not fully utilized tonight, nor was the whole experiment a tremendous success. But I’m okay with how it all came to an end.