Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I really fucked up tonight. After more than 3 months of sleep training, 3 months of not giving in when T cried, 3 months of being really strong I went to T after an hour and a half of tears. And less than two minutes after I picked him up I realized it was a huge mistake.

Let’s back up a bit. It has been a hard couple of days. My father left town on Sunday and I never do well after my family visits. I miss them terribly. This week I was pretty proud of myself because I’ve been keeping up with the house work and although I haven’t been leaving the house much I also haven’t been wallowing.

But I’ve had to take my chill pills more than I like. And I’ve been crying a lot. It was in the 70s today, so perfect outside. It’ll be back to the 50s tomorrow. But I just couldn’t get it together to take T out for a walk even though I really wanted to. And Z had a faculty meeting tonight so I was flying solo for T’s crying.

So I was a mess as I was listening to him cry tonight. And I was listening to him cry not because I had the volume of the monitor up, but because I could hear him in our living room even though I had the TV on loud. I was worried he was too hot. I was worried there was actually something wrong with him. I was worried because he hasn’t cried for an hour and a half in more than a month. And Z wasn’t here to talk me off the ledge.

I went to T and he stopped crying the second I picked him up. It felt so good to hold him; it felt like he was soothing me. I sat on the rocking chair and cradled him and had high hopes he would go right to sleep.

Instead he became wide awake. He looked at me and grinned and stared at his hand slowly waving in front of his face. He was so intense about the hand thing; it was like he was stoned. If I hadn’t been so worked up I would have laughed out loud. After about 15 minutes of sitting there together, T becoming wider and wider awake and me becoming more and more panicy I heard Z come home.

I felt like Cameron in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off when he kicks the shit out of his dad’s car and says “I can’t hide this” I was trapped and Z totally caught me. He was not amused.

I cannot wait to see what the fallout from my huge lapse of parenting judgment is.


  1. oh, mama. that's a totally rough one. my kiddo slept in bed with us til about 6 months, and then no one was getting sleep anymore, so we moved him to the crib. months 6-12 were nightmarish. he's two now, and we're through the storm, but i remember. that's total heartbreak to listen to. but then, when you *do* pick him up, he's all stoked and ready to play.
    how long was he crying, on average before last night? just curious.
    also, that was so.not. a HUGE LAPSE of parenting judgement. yer doing an awesome job. try not to get too down on yerself.
    sending you buckets of good sleep vibes.

  2. Hi Karen. So a propos that I'm reading this right now. It's 5.12 in the morning and we just started sleeptraining. My baby has been crying for the past hour, and I'm fighting desperately to squash the urge to go pick him up. So hard! Know exactly what you're going through. And all I can say is, don't worry about what you did. It will all be alright.

  3. Lately he has only been crying for a few minutes or not at all at bedtime.

    Now that it is morning I'm realizing this post reads as wildly overdramatic, and the reason I was so worked up is because we have worked really hard to get him to a place where he is sleeping enough. He would rather hang out with us than sleep no matter how tired he is. I don't think he is scared at night, he is just pissed we aren't playing with him.

    I'd rather comfort my kid at night. Philosophically I think Cry It Out should be a last resort. But I honestly think it is the best approach for T. He is so much happier now that he is rested. But I do worry about him becoming scared of night time.

    And because I like to think I'm pretty progressive it makes me self conscious that I'm doing something that would make hard core attachment parenters feel like I'm permanently damaging my kid.

    I mean, I don't let him cry because I have better things to do at night time.

    OK, maybe it is time to stop defending myself against imagined criticism...

  4. Quick question: did you start letting him crying it out at night and at naps at the same time? That's what we're doing and not sure that's the right thing to do.

    Also, whenever we go in to check, he seems to just be crying louder and getting more upset. How was your experience?

  5. All at the same time. And we have a video monitor, so we never went in to check. We knew if he saw us he would redouble his crying efforts.

    We got the monitor at our shower. I really suggest one with video if the sleep thing is a struggle. At first I thought they were creepy and like spying but I was stupid and wrong. They are extremely expensive so I'd see if they have any used ones on Craig's List or something.

    By the way, the reason we knew he'd cry harder if he saw us is around the same time during the day he started to understand crying meant I'd come running. So he'd cry all the time. And it was totally crocodile tears. He'd be smiling and laughing in the middle of crying. He was playing me. Such a clever little pain in my butt...

  6. Boy you guys are tough. I used to let my babies cry for 20 minutes before I picked them up. This was back in the dark ages 1981 & 1984, but after a little reassurance like hi its ok i am here i love you - then i put them back to sleep. If they cried for another 20 minutes or so I would just repeat the above. I used to set the kitchen timer so that I could last out the 20 mins before going back to them.

    I could NEVER have lasted 1 hour, thats a long time when a baby is crying, it would seem an eternity to me anyway. I just couldnt do it.

    I had one or two tricks. I did not put the light on, I had no music or tv or anything that might be interesting. I just sat quietly in the dark and made it really BORING to be awake in the middle of the night.

    Also I used a very quiet tone of voice and tried to be as uninteresting as possible.

    Seemed to work out fine, but I do understand that I am not up with current parenting methods. Still I thought that may help.

    You are a lovely Mum Karen and dont you forget it.


  7. Thanks Karen. I think we might have to invest in a video monitor. I want to make sure something is not really wrong and yet I find it cruel to go in and check if all that that's doing is upsetting J. even more.

    BTW — a few hours after I read your post, my husband did exactly what you did. J. was going down for a nap. We let him cry. He cried really badly for about 20 minutes. Then all of a sudden: crickets. I looked up, only to have my husband walk out of the baby room with J. in his arms and a very sheepish, sorry look on his face. He caved. And felt really badly about it.

    It is hard, and I tried not to give him a hard time about it. Tonight's another opportunity.