One of those really tough days

Joshua,

99.9% of the days, we have a blast.  We have fun from the morning till the moment you go to sleep.  We go for walks, visits with friends, music class, grocery shopping, swimming, walking Sam, picnicking, etc.  I think I can be on maternity leave for ever.

Then there’s the 0.1% of the days that you turn into a devil.  Like today.  Most of the morning was fine, meeting with Marie-Joelle for coffee was fine, and even having her over for lunch and chatting afterwards was fine.  Then the afternoon nap time came.  You slept for 30 minutes, and woke up crying.  In keeping with the sleep training principles, I am supposed to let you cry yourself back to sleep.  Except you cried for an hour and 45 minutes straight, and didn’t go back to sleep.

It wasn’t just crying.  Lately, you’ve developed this scream when you cry.  You scream until it hurts your throat and you choke a little.  Sometimes you throw up the food or milk in you because you cry so hard.  So today you screamed and cried for almost 2 hours.  All the while I sat in the next room watching you on the monitor.  I came to your room to try and comfort you and calm you down enough to stop crying, but it resumed as soon as I left your room.

What was I supposed to do?  If I picked you up, we nullify all the previous effort of teaching you to settle yourself.  If I didn’t pick you up, you scream your lungs out and cries.  In my heart, I wanted to pick you up, comfort you, and let you fall asleep on me while I rock you.  You are my baby, my son, my flesh and blood.  I didn’t want to let you go on crying.  It breaks my heart more than you will ever understand.

So as I watched you on the monitor, my heart ached, and my stress level grew with each passing minute.  I felt so alone.  I didn’t know what the right thing to do was.  No one was here to tell me.  You were not born with a manual on how to operate each quirk.

You cried for so long this afternoon, that it turned into evening and your dad came home from work.  He went to get you out of your crib.  It made me so mad.  It made me feel like I was the “bad cop” and he was the “good cop”, because I let you cry and he just got you out of your crib like you wanted.  I didn’t want to be the bad cop.  I didn’t think he understood what I have to go through on bad days at home with you.  I am going to stay mad at him for a while because of this.  But what was he supposed to do?  None of us knew.

After dinner, you got your regular nightly routine of a bath, massage, nursing, and a bottle.  You fell asleep relatively quickly after that.  So now I’m sitting here crying my eyes out because I feel a combination of stress and anger and sadness.  I felt like nothing I did was right, and nothing your dad did was right.

My biggest fear about having you is screwing up your life.  Today I felt like I’ve done just that, screwing up your life.  I’m sure in the grand scheme of things, today could have been just written off as one “off” day.  But I want to say to you that I am so sorry for not knowing what I am supposed to do, and for losing my patience with you.  Please forgive me.

I hope tomorrow is back to a normal day, a day we have lots of fun and laughs.

Love,

Mama

Another good night of sleep

Last night we continued with the sleep training. After his bath, massage and nursing, I put him down in his crib. He cried for maybe 5 minutes then fell asleep.

This time, he slept till past 3 am. That’s over 5 hours!

At around 3 am, he probably could have gone back to sleep. He was tossing and turning for 15 minutes. I decided to nurse him only because I was ready to burst. After that, he fell asleep pretty quickly until 6:30 am.

Only waking up once at night is such a treat for me. I am starting to feel more positive towards his sleeping habits, and hope this trend continues!

Slept for almost 5 hours straight!

The public health nurse recommended to wait till 6 months of age to put a child through sleep training (aka “cry-it-out”). Joshua is just over 5 1/2 months old now, and we figured he is ready for the training.

It’s been 5 1/2 months since I last slept through the night, and it’s been about 2 months since Cliff has slept through the night. What concerns us the most, is that Joshua wakes up every 1 1/2 to 2 hours every night. We worried that he isn’t getting good quality sleep and it will affect his development.

So last night, we went through the regular pre-sleep routines of jolly jumping and a massage and nursing, and I put him in his crib. Normally I would stand there and pat his back while he cries, until he falls asleep. But last night, I put him down, said good night, and then I sat in the glider watching him.

He was not happy that I didn’t pat his back. He cried, as expected. But what surprised me was that he wasn’t really crying that hard. It was sort of a whiny cry to show that he wasn’t happy, but he certainly was far from hysterical.

What surprised me even more, is that he fell asleep after only 20 minutes!

It was about 10 pm when he fell asleep. After 2 hours, he woke up. We had previously decided to give him 10 minutes before we attend to him. And guess what! He fell back asleep on his own in 8 minutes. AND, he skipped his 2 am feeding and slept till just after 5 am!!

I consider the sleep training last night VERY successful. He cried a lot less than I expected, and slept a lot longer than I expected. Hopefully this good trend will continue, and very soon he will be sleeping on his own through the night like a champ.