Thursday, November 8, 2007

Crying it out is NO joke!

Just when I think I have things under control with Sophia - she switches things up on me. I can honestly say that its a lot of work being consistent with your child. Even when your child is just 6 weeks old. Most of the time she is the perfect baby. She eats well and sleeps well and is quite adorable and smiley. But when she does not want to do something - like nap when she is over tired - it takes a battle to get her to do it. I am determined to win each and every battle because that means in the end I will win the war. Or avoid one. Whichever way you want to look at it.

However, it is exhausting matching wills with a newborn. You not only have to be consistent, you have to be creative and try new things without giving in to what she wants. What works a few times will not work the next time. If I pick her up, she wins. If I get her to fall asleep without picking her up - I WIN. And I won tonight after an hour and a half of trying. I am exhausted but exhilirated. This is hard core shit, man. Did she cry? Yes. Did just letting her cry work? No. It never does. So when people say, oh - just let them Cry It Out (CIO) - beware. CIO does not mean leaving the room and letting your baby scream her head off for a half hour - at least not to me. Honestly, my baby gets to a point where screaming turns into more screaming. So, to me, CIO means letting your baby cry for about 5 minutes at a time. Then changing her position. Or replacing the pacifier. Or shushing her. Or, as worked tonight, swaddling her and placing her on her side. Whatever works without you giving up, picking her up, and bringing her into the living room with you. I wanted to do that so bad. I wanted to be sitting comfortably on my couch, eating cookies and chillin with my baby in my arms instead of dealing with a stubborn baby in her cradle. That would have been the easy way. As would be, say, bringing her into my bed when she is screaming and not wanting to go to sleep at 3am. Will I? No. Because while those are easy options for me - they will be more work for me and my husband in the long run and, in turn, more traumatic for my child when I have to wean her out of the bad habits my laziness brought on.

Do I sound like I am judging all of those parents who have a toddler sleeping in their bed with them? If it does - sorry. But even those parents are probably wishing they had never started bringing their kid into their bed with them. Trust me, I live next door to my brother in law and sister in law, bless them, who not only have a 2 year old in bed with them every night but a 6 month old in her bassinet in their bedroom. Sorry, yeah, but I value my time with my husband a little more than that. I have seen what it can do to a relationship and to a child when there is no, or little, consistency. And I have seen how well a child can thrive when they know to expect consitency from their parent or caregiver. The difference is amazing.

Anyway, so I am a little crabby and cranky at the moment. It was a hard evening. My back hurts. My head aches. I want to fall into bed right now and just dissolve the tension in my shoulders. But the harder it is for me and my husband now the better it will be for us later. I seriously believe that. We have only 6 weeks experience as parents at the moment - and for sure we have a LONG road ahead of us. But that is OK. We are learning as we go and make a hell of a team - if I do say so myself....