Sunday, January 11, 2009

Taking a Stand

Grace has been such a great sleeper for the past 10 months. She’d soothe herself down and everything. But lately because we’ve either thought she was teething or sick (or wanted to avoid her crying when we were in a houseful of people on a trip to Texas), we’ve rocked her down to sleep, meaning she’s totally asleep or close to it when she’s placed in her crib. Basically we’d fallen into a routine of bad habits. As a result, she’s been hard to put to bed lately and for the last week she was waking up in the middle of the night. Well, actually it was often even before midnight.

On top of this, Gracie's developed a strong attachment to me and sometimes will cry when I leave the room. Not a very good thing when you’re trying to put her down to sleep.

After a challenging week, we concluded that she’s not teething, is getting enough to eat and is not sick. So that meant we could try something we’d been avoiding -- letting her cry it out. It’s called simply CIO for those parents in-the-know about sleep issues, and there are many opinions on this method, strong opinions both ways. We won‘t get into that here.

Jay and I decided I’d give this a try while he was gone for the weekend. We figured if both of us were around, one would convince the other to give in to her cries. I texted Jay throughout the days and nights to let him know how things were going. I also thought it'd be useful (to myself and others) to document my baby adventure. This is pretty much exactly what I jotted down throughout the sessions:


Today/tonight we begin the great baby experiment.
Morning nap
I started the morning nap process at 9:43 a.m. and she was down by 9:56. I didn’t put her down totally asleep and she was fine with that. A good start to the day. Will do the same process for afternoon nap and then the grand finale, tonight.
11 a.m. She’s still sleeping. I’m thinking the ease of this morning nap might be deceiving since she’s so tired.

11:22 a.m. Grace starts waking up slowly. A good nap.

Afternoon nap
1:38 p.m. We start the nap process.
1:51 p.m. I am out of room. She watched me leave, gave a shout out squirmed and flopped around. She was laying down, then standing up, and back down. Wimper. Cry. Sob. Stand.
Let the CIO begin.
Her cries are sounding like swears. Must remind myself that this is good for her. We want her to be able to go to sleep on her own. All my babies, independent.

Thank goodness for this video monitor. I am not sure I could do this with out being able to see she’s OK. Plus it’s somewhat entertaining.
Ok, now for the 5-minute check in.
Ooooh, that pissed her off just like they said it would.
Now the swears are worse.

Think I’m going to go see if the mail has come.

Wow you can hear her all the way in the garage. Oh, great, we got a parenting magazine in the mail. How handy.

Almost time for the 10-minute check. Heading in …
Now it sounds like she’s swearing in German. The tone of her cries makes it sound like she’s saying: “I’m so disappointed in you!” In German, of course.

She’s so determined to not fall asleep. Good thing pug is not phased by her crying and can be my furry sanity through this.

Hold up. She sat for a minute. Oh, now she’s up again.
Now she’s down.
Now she’s up.
This is an interesting way to pass the time.
Went in for the 15-minute check. She’s so exhausted but so determined to stay awake.
Next check in 20 minutes.

She’s sitting and sobbing. Looking around.
Makes a mommy’s heart hurt.
She’s quieting down …

I think she’s sleeping sitting up.
And we have sleep.

2:50 p.m. About an hour.
Not so bad to do during the day … now tonight might be a different story.

And the night has begun.
Started putting her down around 7:40 p.m. and it is now 7:51. She’s crying and standing.
Now it’s 5 minutes later and I will give her a visit.
She’s almost doing more bouncing than crying. Not sure what that’s about.
And I’m going in.

And I'm back and I hear the “disappointed” cry.

Back in around 8:10 p.m.

She’s so dang strong-willed and stubborn. Where did she get that from?

She’s sitting, and she's up.

Do I go in? Waiting a bit.

She’s sitting and whimpering. Wobbling like she’s about ready to …
Now sitting up silently, wavering. Not ready to give in yet.
And we have sleep! 8:19 p.m.

Awesome! About 30 minutes. Now my only dilemma is a night waking.


She slept in ‘til 7 a.m. When I opened her door and she was sitting up just looking at me. We were both happy as you can see in this picture : )

The morning nap wasn’t totally uneventful, but she’s settled on her own after 20 seconds of crying. Then the afternoon nap happened in car.

And the night has begun.
Starting the nighttime routine at 7:21 left room and left at 7:36 p.m.

Starts out in the standing position crying. Looking like she’s going to toss her doll Bitsy Bear out of the crib. She’s dangling it over as if threatening me. “If you don’t come in here, I’ll drop her. Don’t test me, I’ll do it!” Makes me think she knows I’m watching.

I’m going in for 5-minute check unless she sits down.

Deciding not to go in. Seems it might escalate things instead of calm things down at this point.

She’s not screaming … so I’m making the judgment to not go in.

Change of plans. I had to go in to fix a crib malfunction.

Ooooooooooh she’s not happy. Not one bit.

She’s quieting, playing with her hair.

And we have lay down. 8:04 p.m.

Now lets see if we have a full night. I sense, no.


But I was wrong. Ye of little faith. We all (baby, pug and I) slept in 'til around 7 a.m. again! A couple good nights of sleep has never been so meaningful. I think it was a confidence builder for everyone. Jay and I are more confident in our parenting decisions and Grace is more confident in being on her own. We'll she's not totally on her own, of course. Bitsy Bear is there for her, sometimes as a comfort object, sometimes as a hostage.