Parenting

Crying it out

When I had Oliver I was obsessive. I wanted to hold him all the time, and thankfully it was so since he wanted to be constantly held. He would sleep on me, in my arms or cuddled next to me. Its blissful to have your baby cuddled next to you, peacefully resting.

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At first we tried to get him to sleep in a cot, after all, that’s what they’re for. It didn’t work. He would sleep easily if he was brestfeeding in bed with us, but wake up the moment his head touched the cot’s matress. It maybe took a day or two before we began to share the bed with him. I was more than happy to have him there with us. I guess that’s the only way that option works, if all are happy with the arangement. We all were.

The downside was too many people insisting he should sleep by himself, meaning both in his own bed and to fall asleep without help. As to this day, and he’s two years old, he does neither. I’m sure by the time he’s 18 he will, it doesn’t worry me any more, it’s just inconvenient at times to not be able to genly lie down your baby in his bed and fully rest until the next day without anyone climbing you, waking up asking for more milk or getting kicked in the face.

In order to solve this I have been sugested to let him cry it out. My husband and I researched the matter and decided on a not so drastic approach. We would deposit him in his crib when he was almost asleep after half an hour of walking him around while singing ‘Yellow Submarine’. He should then learn to self-soothe himself to sleep. He didn’t. Allright, next step: when he cries, pick him up, calm him and put him back in the cot as soon as he stops crying. He would immediately start crying again.

I repeated this process for up to four consecutive hours before giving up, ready to pull my hair out. It felt so wrong. I kept it up for over a week before giving up. I got weak now and then and tried it with no sucess. With him it didn’t work. He’s a stuborn kid who knows what he wants, and he wants it loudly, and he wanted us

There is no way I could just shut the door and let him wail. What would I be teaching him? That mom and dad place what is convenient to them before him, he comes second. Whenever he feels alone and scared he should just quit trying to call us, we will not be there for him.

Kids are inconvenient. They don’t behave like in commercials. They destroy, rampage, demand and need. Constantly. They are a pain sometimes. This doesn’t justify raising them to what is more convenient for us, we signed up for the job willingly, that’s why we still had another chaos vortex.

I want my kids to know that whenever they need me, I will be there. I want that idea to be clearly ingrained in their minds and for it to grow with them. So they will never cry it out or sleep alone until they want to (or we decide we’ve been kicked enough and they’re old enough to be fine with it). That’s why on a good day, when Oli throws a tantrum I offer him a hug, because he’s having a hard time and doesn’t need mommy shouting at him on top of all that emotional turmoil. Most of the time it doesn’t work, but when it does, it’s glorious. And now, sometimes, he asks for the hug. Imagine I just left him there crying, no hugs for anyone.

Even worse, imagine he didn’t cry. That wouldn’t mean he didn’t feel angry, sad or frustrated, just that he would feel it’s useless to express it.

I want my tiresome bed routines. I want Mike the way he is, used to turning around in bed, finding me, holding on to me and then, reassured, falling asleep again. I want Oli to keep asking me at 5am, when he wakes up, to hold his hand until he sleeps again. I will miss this terribly when they grow up and become big boys.

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Enjoying your babies

I am a very lucky person, an extremely lucky one. I have a wonderful husband and two lovely babies. One of them is actually a toddler, enjoying the frenzy of the ‘terrible twos’. They are both teething. But it’s ok. We have a puppy. The puppy got sick a few days after we adopted him and has been on the verge of dying ever since, three weeks ago, but we are, technically, a perfect, happy family.

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Only I’m stressed out of my mind almost all the time. Every single day. Every day of the week. Specially on weekends when my firstborn wonder is home all day. Specially next weekend, without their Kindermusik class. The fact that I have been constantly tired for the past three years might have something to do with it, but it’s just a wild guess. The truth is both that my kids are lovable, creative, happy babies who melt my heart and also that, sometimes, they have me at my wit’s end. I am proud of them at the same time as a cringe in anticipation of what they will destroy next. I research Montessori methods, but think they are probably going to be useless, make them number books to paint on and which get mostly eaten, healthy food that ends up scraped off the floor (and sometimes that’s when they find it appetizing), crafts that get ignored…

I think I love them the most when they sleep. Deeply.

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Anyway, my point is that everybody tells you that you should make the most out of the time you have with them as babies, because they will never need you as much again, nor love you as completely nor be as cute. They will never be babies again. Thank you, yes, I realize. I just don’t seem to find the moment to be a purely loving mommy who is enjoying the bliss of motherhood with her two vortexes of chaos and destruction. I told myself that they problem is not the problem, it’s my attitude towards the problem that is the problem. This approach has lasted a full 24 hours, as I have promised to de-stress myself and enjoy this lovely time. Then there was finger paint all over the freezer, carpet and heater. But I was determined. Then there was the shower time drama. But I gave him a hug and told him it’s ok to be annoyed, to come give me a hug and he cried and after an hour he got over having to get out of the shower because either you stop watering the whole bathroom or we have to finish the shower right now, honey. But then he wanted to go to bed, except once in bed he didn’t want to go to sleep any more and I can’t take watching the Wiggles any more.

But I will enjoy this, because they are only going to be babies once. I’m not sure how, but I’m going to.