Well, most of you follow me on Facebook, so you know that my life has been a roller coaster of sleepless nights and broken nerves. I've been teaching my baby to cry himself to sleep. You all know the circumstances of his surgery 3 weeks after his birth, which made it very easy to fall into the habit of soothing him to sleep in our bed. He was always sick and it was like a freezer in my mother-in-law's house since none of her doors or windows seal out the cold or heat properly and her central heating and cooling system broke shorty before we got married. It was just easier to keep him warm and safe in our bed.
My brother Jacob, the doctor, told me that when babies have turbulent beginnings, the parents tend to coddle them long after they're better and can handle things on their own. That made me so hopping mad. I thought, "How would he know?" But his oldest was diagnosed with the same problem at a year and he's the father of two boys- he knows a great deal more than I do about parenting. I was discouraged because I knew Jonathan was still too little to be left alone. He was terrified of the dark and I had so, SO much remorse for having to leave him in the hospital at night so I could get some semblance of sleep and let my milk let down so I could pump because when I heard him, my milk would lock up. Besides that, all those late nights in the ER caused me to get masitis (VERY painful) and I wasn't allowed to nurse him until 48 hours after his surgery. I had a lot of guilt.
As Jonathan got older and started to take up more space and become more mobile, it became apparent to me that he needed to learn to sleep in his own space, but that was diffecult seeing as he shared his room with his aunt. I didn't really have the option to let him cry to sleep for naps and nighttime. I was resigned to the fact that I was going to let him do it, even if that meant pure hell for the whole family. Then we found out we'd actually be able to move. I was willing to wait until we were settled for a couple weeks to try to let him cry to sleep. Moving and trying to teach something is too much for a baby to handle, too much for Mommy to handle!
I don't know what prompted me to do it, but Monday this week I put him in his crib to cry to sleep and didn't get up. Lars came home shortly after I did that and he heard our son wailing. Lars asked if he should go get him and I was very clear that Jonathan'd been in there awhile already and he needed to learn to sleep. It was that night that Jonathan threw up from crying so hard and Lars discovered Jonathan'd been rolling around in it in his sleep for around 8 hours. Poor kid.
That same morning after a bath and clean up, I felt so guilty and his room smelled so bad (even after nearly a bottle of Lysol and an open window), I put him to sleep next to me at 7 until around 10. Talk about mixed messages, Mom! When I woke up, I quickly realized my mistake and put him in his crib for nap time. That was even harder than the night before!!
I called my sister Rachael and even though I'm sure my minutes were up (we'll find out when we get the bill), I talked to her while Jonathan screamed and screamed until he finally plopped off to sleep. Then bath and nursing the same time as the night before for bed. I was going to let him cry then, but he was so tired he fell asleep before he was even done eating. It was nice and peaceful that night. Bed at 8, no screaming and time to be with my husband. No wake ups until 5 the next morning. (Why can't that happen every night??)
Jonathan does cry less and less with each time at night, but it's nap time that's the hardest. He needs dark curtains to block out the light because he thinks it's playtime and I'm sure he gets confused. I love my son and I can only imagine how hard it must be to learn to be alone after Mommy had ALWAYS held him and rocked him to sleep for his entire life so far. But I need my space so I can sleep. It's not fun to wake up to a twitching child sleeping horizontally 12 times a night kicking you in the bladder. I thought I was done with that AFTER he was born!
Which brings me to my deep thoughts. But this post is already grossly long, so I'll make another...