Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cold Turkey

I just scraped out a pumpkin and it's baking in the oven to be pureed (no canned stuff in Poland) and made into delicious fall food so, under the circumstances, just writing that title makes me think of delicious turkey and cranberry sandwiches on dinner rolls the day after Thanksgiving. But that's not the kind of cold turkey I'm talking about.

I'm talking about a muuuuuuuch less pleasant cold turkey, but one that brings significantly longer-lasting satisfaction. Tonight we're letting Spencer cry it out.

Now I know I probably-too-often get on my soapbox about sleep, but it's something I love and need. I know my kids need it, too and I want them to love it. That's why our philosophy and evening/night time routine is what it is. It works for us so we do it.

Spencer has been a good little sleeper. He was waking twice for feedings around 1 and 5 a.m. from the time he was six weeks old. Since he turned maybe two or three months old he only wakes around 5. Until recently.

Lately he wakes up at 10ish, 1ish, 3ish and 5ish. I end up feeding him two or three of those times. He is nine months old. He does not need to eat two or three times during the night. So instead of letting him outgrow his 5 a.m. feeding I'm sort of forced to force him to learn to fall back to sleep when he wakes at night. By force.

Just kidding. I'm just trying to make it sound as evil as possible for those reading who already think it is terrible and torturous. I want this to be a controversial post. I need to be much more controversial on this here blog of mine.

But I guess that's pretty much what it is (cry-it-out is force, not blog is controversial). Still, I've done it enough to know that it's a quick and easy thing that allows us both to get better quality sleep. And also that he won't think I don't love him because of it. I'm pretty sure jumping out of bed to nurse him whenever he called for nine months showed clearly enough that I love him. Letting him cry for two or three nights shouldn't overshadow that.

Still, it's sort of hard on me (us). So I'm asking for sympathetic vibes sent our direction tonight. And if you only have outrage, don't send those vibes, please (just leave them in a comment).

Anyway, I could go on (and on) about sleep and why we train our kids in that area etc. but instead I'll just leave you with an anecdote that illustrates how ingrained it all is in the heads of our children:

Aaron loves The Aristocats and watches it regularly. A lot happens in that movie, sad, happy, funny, crazy etc. Still, the one part of the show that moves Aaron more than any others is not any of these.

After the "Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat" scene, Duchess tucks her kittens sweetly into bed. During this part Aaron starts getting noticeably worried. When mama cat walks away the kittens get up out of bed one by one. As soon as Marie, the first one, gets up Aaron starts calling to me, "Oh NO! Mommy! She can't get out of bed! She has to go night-night!" And watches the darling scene that follows with a look of disappointment directed at those kittens.

See? He knows we need sleep. (And he also loves to enforce rules.) And I'm pretty sure he knows I love him, even though I taught him to sleep through the night when he was Spencer's age.


Barbaloot said...

Now I'm wishing we could skip October and go right to Thanksgiving.

I've never been a parent, so I know nothing about training children to sleep---but I still support you. Good luck!

Alison Wonderland said...

I'm all about the cry it out. And sleep. Good Luck, I'm pulling for you.

Heidi said...

Our oldest didn't sleep through the night or go to bed on his own until he was five and we were expecting his sister and we did the letting him cry thing. We should have done it way sooner (but he's not normal, so there ya go). Mary started sleeping through the night at two months, I kid you not. However, at 8 or 9 months she started waking up a lot--it was because she was teething. It was like having a newborn all over again. I can't remember what we did about that but when Peter came around, we decided at about age one to do the cry thing (again, we should have done it sooner). It's so very hard on everyone in the short term but so great when it's over. I won't tell you, though, about the time Peter chucked his chin on the crib rail whilst falling to his mattress in a fit of wailing pique and severed that bit of skin that connects your top lip to your gums and it bled so much that when I finally checked on him, it had pooled in his ear and was absolutely everywhere. Nope, too ghastly. (I can smell the pumpkin from here--yum!)

Carolyn V. said...

Lisa, I had to go through that too! I have five kids and all of them had difficulties sleeping through the night. I sometimes found myself walking into their rooms in the middle of the night, not realizing I was still asleep, to give them comfort. I hope all goes will tonight and by next week, you won't have to worry about it anymore. =)

MelancholySmile said...

Little Miss C was our only child without reflux, so we trained her to sleep thru the night around 6 or 7 months. It was SO worth it. It took us three nights and I felt horrible at the time, but by the forth night I was wishing someone had told me to do it sooner.

Lots of positive vibes sent your way!! Hope he learns quickly.

And I LOVE the kitten story. So cute. :)

MelancholySmile said...

uh, fourth night. Sally forth. :)

L.T. Elliot said...

With my dudes, it was cry-it-out for them or cry-it-out for me. I chose them because otherwise, I was a terrible mom. It took a good week before things settled in and now they're great sleepers, get the rest they need (and I need), and everyone's happy.

Crying it out definitely doesn't negate the mommy-love. Good vibes, great vibes, and just gentle vibes I'm sending your way. *hugs*

Melissa said...

I don't sense any controversy here, so I'm going to mention a book that will for sure cause some. I used "On Becoming Babywise" to train all my babies to sleep. It was awesome. The longest any baby took was 13 weeks to sleep through the night. Of course, they all had relapses later on, and we have had to let them all cry it out at one point or another to get them back on track. But I don't think you're evil. Sleep is VERY important for kids AND mommies!

Erin said...

Letting them cry it out is pure torture (for you). I wish you the best of luck!

Kazzy said...

Maybe I am heartless, but the cold turkey period was never too difficult for me. My third son about did me in. Best wishes. :)

Kimberly said...

No bad vibes here, more like applause! Sleep is vital to the proper functioning of the body and mind. We're as beholden to give our children good sleep as good food if you ask me!


Anonymous said...

You can count me as the 12 commenter to agree that allowing (and requiring) kids to learn to sleep independently once they are several months old is a loving thing to do!

Those fences are fabulous. I made my husband come downstairs to look at them and try to guess what they were made from.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say 12th commenter.