Monday, September 8, 2008

Sleep Draining...I Mean Training

Me yell all night long? Never...

Our children are mirror opposites of each other: Lucy is a hellion all day long who takes careful managing and a doctoral degree in psychology just to get dressed and out the door but at night she typically sleeps like a rock and doesn't bother a person. Josie is happy go lucky all day long and is equally entertained by eating cheerios at home, eating sand at the park, or eating carpet lint at school but at night she is hell baby who wants constant hand holding, rocking, and shushing just to get through until dawn.

Despite our enjoyment of all the Josie cuddling and even the sweetness of rocking her to sleep, watching her sleep, or having her rolling around in our bed from 3 AM until 6:30 AM, we finally decided it was time to bring out the smack down (as our friend Kyle says, "when the going gets tough, SMACK DOWN!"). We have tried various methods to enhance Josie's sleeping capabilities. To be honest, it is basically inconceivable to us that Mitch and I could have a child who is not a good sleeper. We both LOVE sleeping and are insanely good sleepers (fire alarms? no problem. urban noise? no problem. crying cats? no problem). I think we were both in denial that we would actually have to do something to get Josie to be a better sleeper, secretly we were both thinking she would grow out of it. Which sounds perfectly reasonable until you talk to some of our friends whose daughters are 7, 9 or 11 and who still sleep in their parents beds...

So we tried to let Josie cry it out a month or so ago. She seemed too stressed (after an hour of crying) and we caved. Mitch tried the no cry sleep solution (which our friend Becca calls the no sleep cry solution) but I couldn't implement a method that repeatedly asks one to risk not getting your child into a solid sleep by cutting out one or more of your eight gajillion sleep routine activities. Me, I'm either in or I'm out. I'm either going to soothe that baby so much that she won't wake up if world war III starts or I am going to sit in the living room and do nothing while she screams her lungs out. There's no in between for me.

So we started letting Josie cry it out on Saturday night. The method we are using is from some funky 1980's book by some guys who actually work at a place called the Crying Baby Institute (it sounds like a joke, doesn't it?). The CBI is at an actual university, even if it is one that you've never heard of (I've never heard of it anyway). It is a slightly harsher version of the Ferber method that seems to work on hard cases who will cry forever (like Josie). We let her cry for five minutes, then a quick check with no soothing. Then we let her cry with quick checks every 20 minutes until she falls asleep.

The first time we tried it was a nap time and she cried for an hour and then we let her get up (no nap). That night she did o.k. with a 25 minute crying period at bed time, following by lots of waking up but only one hour long episode at midnight that required quick checks. Although I must say she was clearly pretty darn peeved about the new system (picture her yelling for hours in baby language, "WHERE IS MY CUDDLING???? WHERE IS MY HAND HOLDING? WHAT THE @!**@!! IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE??? I'M AWAKE IN HERE - BY MYSELF!!! DO YOU NOT HEAR ME???") Last night she actually slept through the night after one quick check at 10 PM.

It is still pretty hellish. We're sleeping in the living room (to give Josie peace and quiet in our room). Lucy is waking up repeatedly at night because she has a cold and also because she wants to experience the novelty of everyone camping out in the living room.

Considering that sleep deprivation almost had me crying in the mall at lunch time on Sunday because they only had one piece of cheese pizza left (when I needed two - one for me and one for Lucy), all I can say is that if some heinous turn of events results in the McCain Palin sideshow being elected and then Palin ends up as President, I hope either that her child is a hell of a lot better sleeper than mine or that she doesn't feel about nannies the way she feels about personal chefs.

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