Put your baby down to sleep while he is still awake but drowsy.
Respond immediately when your baby cries.
Letting your baby cry it out (CIO) will result in a more, well-rested, happier baby.
Keep sleep logs, naps logs and waking-in-the-night logs.
Don’t pick her up when she cries at night, just pat her or tell her that Mommy is there and she is okay.
Whatever you do, do not let your baby fall asleep while nursing or taking the bottle.
This is only a short list of what I’ve read or been told about how to get my children to sleep through the night. Yes, I want my children to be well-rested but really, it is all about me. I’m tired. And just want to sleep.
See, rest is a beautiful thing. It helps you not to be a total rat the next day who snaps at people for no reason. It helps to reduce the size of the large bags under your eyes that people question came from abuse in your home. It helps not to feel like you are the walking dead, only surviving the day by injecting coffee into your veins while you stare at your computer at work wishing the time would go by much faster. It helps not to daydream about living in Spain where you can nap during the daily Siesta. Oh Spain, I love you.
I’m delirious most of the time. And I’ve been delirious and sleep-deprived for 7 years.
Sleep training with my son failed. I thought it was because we lived in this small apartment in New Jersey where his crib was in our room. “He can smell me, the milk lady.” That was my excuse.
But then I had my daughter. Different house, ample space, crib in the nursery not in our room, different personality, different gender, all different. But five years later and I am yet again faced with sleep training defeat.
I’m too smart for this. I graduated from college, I have a heck of a lot of common sense, I did okay in school, I’ve got a great job. I’m too smart to be defeated by sleep training.
God, it’s me, Margaret. I mean Shannon. The one who is tired all. of. the. time.
I’m not sure about you but the CIO method… You know, no! Let’s not shorten this bad boy, let’s call it what it is. The Cry It Out Method sucks. Listening to your child yell and scream and try to say your name when she doesn’t even know how to talk yet while you listen with knots in your stomach from only feet away is just uncivilized. Yet I’ve tried it twice because, well, I’m tired.
Since we completely failed with our son and ‘til this day he still needs someone to stay in bed with him until he falls asleep, I made it my life’s work to get it right with our daughter.
But what the heck is “right?” I’m not sure I know anymore. Is orange the new black? Is 50 the new 40? Is shortening laugh out loud to LOL really necessary? Can I really LMAO because I quite like my bum.
Do I go to her side when she cries? Do I bounce and sway and pat and sing until we both pass out? Do I accept that as a Mom, sleep is no longer a thing I get to enjoy?
What I do know is that I wish my children would get the memo.
To: Che and Sloan
From: Your Mommy
Re: If only you knew
One day I’ll be able to smile and say, “I told you so.” When you’re adults, you’ll have to work, pay bills and be mature most of the time, and being mature is tiring. See, I tried to tell you but you won’t listen.
While you have the chance, pretty much the first 18 years of your life, you should sleep as much as possible. For goodness sakes, you can sleep 12 hours a night plus nap during the day if you want to but nooooo, you fight it every step of the way and soon there’ll be no going back. You’ll be old and tired like me wishing you could just sleep already! How crazy will you feel then, huh!?
BTW, save this memo. You’ll have to share it with your kids too, I’m sure.
If you’re in the process of sleep training, good luck. Maybe your child was born with the I-like-to-sleep-through-the-night gene. Lucky dog. If not, here’s a resource that may help. Or you can just accept your fate like me and wear your bags like mascara. And remind yourself that soon, like when they are 14 or something, they’ll sleep on their own and through the night. Maybe?