Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cans for Comments Post #2 - The battle begins….

2009-11-26 - November 2009 021

….and round 1 goes to mom!

I had so many other post ideas swirling around in my brain tonight.  There was the cute photos of the boys licking beaters from the cookies we made this morning.  There were the pangs of desire for a sweet teeny-tiny newborn as I checked out the first photos of my new niece, Hayley Walton.  There was the evening trip to Costco which required some sort of professional license in cart-manoeuvring amidst busy shoppers all jostling and elbowing to get in on all the pre-Christmas bounty.

But, all of these posts will have to wait for another day.  

Why?  (I know you’re dying for the answer!)

Well, because my baby, the 14 month old, still-nursing, still-co-sleeping terror, is asleep in his own crib.  Yes, right now as I type!  With no help (well, not much) from me.

I am pretty granola when it comes to parenting.  This surprised even me when I stepped into the role of “Mom” for the first time.  I can be pretty old-school about a lot of things.  But somehow, my instinct was totally geared towards attachment parenting long before I even knew there was a label for it.

I fully believed in “breast is best”, and as I was willing and able, I have treasured this relationship with all 3 of my children.  When Thyra was a baby, I was a single mom, so the decision to bring my baby into bed with me seemed easy and natural.    I remember, when bringing her in for regular immunization appointments, the public health nurses being completely flabbergasted that I was still breast-feeding her at over a year.  Perhaps because I was young, and not married this was a little out of the norm.   I am confidant that our co-sleeping arrangement fostered the nursing and vice-versa.

When I became pregnant with Malachi, I told Gavan that I hoped he didn’t mind having the baby in our bed because that was fully how I planned to parent again.  Luckily my husband didn’t mind that I was being a bit of a know-it-all, considering the prior-knowledge I had of life with a newborn, that he had yet to experience, and he sweetly deferred to my wishes.

I think he was shocked to discover, that not only did it not bother him to have the baby in our bed, in fact he quite loved it.  It was such a blessing to me, because co-sleeping has always allowed me the best quality of sleep in those exhausting first weeks.  To have the baby by my side has meant that neither they nor I have have to fully wake up for those middle of the night feeds, and I have always survived that newborn period surprisingly ok.   

This is however, not meant to be a post extolling the virtues of co-sleeping, which in my mind are many and which one day I will write. It is in fact to tell you that even for a crunchy mom like myself, there comes a point where enough is enough.  I have had a baby in my bed for over two years now, between Malachi and his brother.   And while Malachi, due largely to the fact that he went from breast to bottle at 8 months old because I was growing him a sibling, transitioned nicely (for the most part), from our bed, to crib, to a bed of his own, Kashton, as always, is another story.

Kashton has never had a bottle.  He doesn’t really like milk, not even from a sippy or glass.  He almost never goes to sleep without me nursing him, and even beyond that, wants to nurse lying down before he’ll drift off.  Occasionally he will fall asleep if his sister or grandma rock him, but he seems to really give his dad a hard time.

This is not very practical, especially because I am now working two evenings a week, and full Saturdays.  That is two bedtimes and one nap of crying and frustration.  And by that I mean it is Gavan doing the crying.

Feeling more than just a little guilty that Gavan’s poor success with getting Kashton to sleep is largely my doing, I polled the moms I know, did a little internet investigation and decided upon a plan of action.   I knew it was time.  The co-sleeping and all-night-boobie-buffet have remained for my own convenience desire for sleep and out of sheer laziness. They are no longer primarily for the benefit of my child, let alone of the rest of my family. 

And while I have admitted something (or maybe someone) needed to give, I do know, however that I am not the CIO sort of mom.  Especially not with young babies.  But as my son is truly in the toddler stage of life, I realized that perhaps some tears would be necessary at bedtime if he was going to learn to sleep on his own.  Of course most of those tears are my own, but never mind that…. I  needed a sleep technique that would do the job, without traumatizing me or my baby.   And I found it.

Tonight, I approached bedtime, armed with all the knowledge a quick glossing-over of the Sleepeasy Solution techniques.  This involved the usual bedtime routine,  a last feed and then a loving goodnight to my little monster before placing him in his prison cell crib… awake. 

He wailed. He cried. He tried out the full range of his vocal cords (impressive!).  He sobbed and gasped. 

But he did not die.

As the book suggested, I went in after five long and agonizing minutes, stood out of touching distance, and trying not to cave at the sight of him standing in his crib with his arms outstretched for me,  repeated that it was time for bed,  that I loved him and left the room again.

More gnashing of teeth and hysterics.

The next time I checked on him was 10 minutes later.   This time he was actually sitting in his crib, crying.  An improvement?  I thought so.   I repeated the process as before, and left the room quickly before my resolve crumpled at the sight of his pathetic little plea.

I set the timer for another 5 minutes, as the book suggested, set about making myself some tea aka distraction in  cup, and all of a sudden, nothing.  Nada.  Not a single sound.  I said to Gavan, “do you hear that?”. 

“Hear what”, he asked totally puzzled.

“Exactly!”, I exclaimed triumphantly.  “Our child is asleep.  By himself.  In his crib.”

The book had warned that the first night could take up to an hour or even longer of the crying/checking process, and I had steeled myself for that.  It had also however, mentioned that more often than not, those little monkeys could surprise you with their ability to learn quickly, and it seems like that was the winning scenario for us tonight.

We do still have to get through the rest of the evening, and so this battle is not close to over… in fact it is just beginning.  I do not expect that every bedtime or naptime here on out will be quite so easy, but for now, I am just pleased to proclaim that for this round,

You can put it in the win column!

And now I want to hear from you!  What have been your bedtime challenges or successes?  Do you have good sleepers?  Horrid ones? 

Thanks to everyone who commented on yesterday’s post!  So far I am at 9 donations for the Cans for Comments food drive. 


grimeysgal said...

Well Gabrielle is a pretty good sleeper. We're blessed as she's pretty much slept thru the night since about 5 1/2mths... BUT we did have to do a form of Sleepeasy at around 8mths or so as she all of a sudden wouldn't go to sleep at night. I hope tonight goes just as well and gets easier!

Heather said...

Hannah is a terrible sleeper. The only time she slept well was from 0-6 months when we had her in bed with us. The transition to the crib was PAINFUL! I'm not a CIO Mom either, so I tried a million things and it seemed like it was never going to happen. I can't even remember what worked now though... I nursed her, then Alan rocked her was our eventual routine.
This April we got her a "big girl bed" and made up the other room for her. The transition was amazing! She loved her special room and bed so much that we could just plop her down, give her a kiss and be on our way. Unfortunately that was short lived. To this day, bedtime is a war, usually involving hysteria, bargaining, pleading etc. To top it off she also gets up once or twice a night at least 3 times a week.
Evan, on the other hand, slept with us until 9 weeks when he moved to the crib (for the most part). He's easy to put to bed, even if he's awake, and I'm starting to think the sound of his sister's tantrums is his preferred lullaby. He does wake up twice a night to nurse. I've had people tell me that when he wakes at 1-3am that I should ignore him and he'd stop waking at that time, that's not going to happen. We'll figure that one out as we go.
I'm glad to hear that your first night went so well! I'll send sleepy vibes your way tonight, and hope you have another positive expierence. Good luck!

Jen and Brent said...

Sleep. The ever evolving challenge!! We had a wonderful sleeper until about a month ago. At 17 months, Eli developed some strong seperation anxiety that has really affected his sleep. So much so that he did a dive, head first out of his crib 2 nights ago and we had to do the sudden switch to a big boy bed. Yikes! So, we are back to square one with sleep. I ended up in his bed with him last night, we'll see what tonight brings....

Christy said...

I didn't think I would be a CIO mom either. But Brody was a HORRIBLE sleeper. And by that I mean he was up every 40 mins. If we were lucky it was an hour and a half but that was rare. We did sleepeasy too and I was surprized at how fast he went to sleep the first night too. It sucks to do it but it does work. Brody now sleeps 11ish hours in his crib.

I'd love to hear an update on how it's going.

r.a.d.e tarves said...

How did you enjoy your first night with just you and your man!? We've got Jude trained up to go to sleep on his own since a few months old,(3rd child!) and he usually wails a minute or two and then chatters himself alseep! Best of luck with the next bedtime battles!!

Anonymous said...

creamed corn

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