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.
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.