Sunday, June 18, 2006

Live blogging: Crying it out - mama's first time (with BONUS occasional self-praise and gratitude)

I'm no fan of Dr. Ferber; I'm much more of a Dr. Sears, attachment-parenting mama. We've never scheduled Lucas's naps or established a firm bedtime because it's not my style and because Dr. Wonderful said she feels that babies who are sleep-trained become rigid as little kids.

However, Lucas is now 9.5 months old and is still waking four to six times each night. He's also going through separation anxiety, which means he's even more reluctant than usual to sleep in his crib. And while I have no qualms about bringing him into bed with us, Mr. Trillwing can't sleep if Lucas is in the bed because the little guy flails quite a bit. And when Mama or Dada is sleep-deprived, nobody has a good day, I assure you.

So. . . I'm making a trial run right now at a little bit of crying it out, something Mr. Trillwing has done in my absence but which I have never tried because it makes me feel guilty. We're at minute #6 now, and I'm just about to cave. The little guy just tugs on my heartstrings, but I know he's really tired and after being a full-time mommy for three days (Mr. Trillwing had LOTS of work to do, I had family in town to entertain, and it was the end of the quarter, so I was happy to take some time off), I'm ready for some quiet alone time to get some work done.

Minute #8: Screaming is slowing down a bit. I've set myself a goal of 10 minutes of crying without picking him up. God, I feel like a bad mama.

But you know what? He spent at least six hours on my lap today, and the rest napping next to me, playing on the floor in my office, etc. Mr. Trillwing took over for about 20 minutes so I could run and get some lunch.

Lucas is quieting down, I think.

Minute #9: Screaming resumes. It's now a fussy, rather than an angry, crying. Oh wait. . . There was an angry shriek if I've ever heard one. I should really set myself up for some audioblogging.

The problem with the wailing-to-sleep method, I think, is that Lucas gets himself so worked up that he can't sleep. His throat has got to be sore, too, and the little guy won't drink water.

Minute #11: Still crying intermittently. I'm tempted to nurse him, but he nursed half an hour ago, so I know he's not really thirsty. And besides, I want him to learn to fall asleep without the boob, especially since today he BIT me, once on the shoulder and once on the nipple. The second time he smiled. Weaning may be on the horizon for the boy.

Minute #12. My will is breaking, but I already have so much time invested in this attempt. Must. . .hold. . .out.

Minute #14: He's still going strong. Blogging is helping to render the crying into background noise.

Minute #15: Do the neighbors think us cruel? I'm guessing it's a bit early for them to complain about noise--it's about 9 p.m.--but who knows?

Minute #16: Squeaks and squeals, shrieks and screams. At least there's some variation now.

Minute #18: Wet coughing, pause, coughing, pause, shriek, pause, shrieeeeeeeek.

Minute #19: Silence for 30 seconds. That's the longest pause yet.

Have I been a bad mama for the last 20 minutes? Yes. Have I been a damn good mama for the past 9.5 months? Yes to that, too.

[Insert your own alternating self-flagellation and rationalization here.]

Minute #20: I can't believe I've gone 20 minutes. It doesn't get any easier as time goes by, I assure you. This mama's heartstrings are strung tightly.

Minute #21: Shrieks and, I kid you not, brief panting. Followed by 45 seconds of silence.

Minute #22: BIG scream. Pause. Another big scream. Fussiness of righteous indignation at having such a bad, bad mama. Pause. Squeak. Sniffle. Squeak. Pause.

Minute #23: Begins with silence. Intermittent shrieks.

Have I mentioned the dog is not pleased with this experiment? He's perched uneasily on his doggy bed next to my desk.

Minute #24: Shrieks. Maybe I won't get any work done tonight. Dammit.

Anyway, I've been meaning to blog about this maternal triptych I have in my head, a painting of three Californian women I know.

Triptych Panel #1: a good friend from high school who has been trying to conceive for years and who recently upped the ante with a round of fertility drugs.

Minute #26: Mr. Trillwing wakes up and asks if I need some help. I was hoping Mr. T, who was sleeping in the bedroom, wouldn't be awoken by little Mr. L, who was screaming in Mr. T's office. (My apologies, Sweetie.)

Triptych Panel #2: another friend recently found out, at eight weeks gestation, that the fetus isn't viable. She's waiting to miscarry.

Minute #28: Lucas is asleep.

Triptych Panel #3: a distant cousin who underwent extensive fertility treatments abroad (she's a citizen of Country-With-Socialized-Medicine who immigrated here with her husband several years ago and who hopes, I think, to become a permanent resident or citizen of the U.S.) is due this week to give birth via C-section to twins who weigh at least six pounds each.

Thus despite all the screaming of the past half hour, I'm grateful, so grateful, that conception and motherhood came to me so easily. I wish all my friends and family could be so fortunate.

So: Good fertility vibes to all. May all your babies sleep without tears through the night.


Phantom Scribbler said...

Lots and lots of sympathy. We had success with Ferber for one of our kids, but no luck whatsoever with the other. The first time I tried it on LG (who was the one for whom it was a success) he cried for an hour straight. I finally broke down and went into the room, and he threw his little arms around my neck. I felt like Teh Serial Killer Mom, for sure. But the waking six-times-a-night thing was just not sustainable for any of us.

I hope Lucas slept for you, and you didn't feel too awful about the experience.

hotdrwife said...

Oh man. I remember those nights!! We were battling ear infection after ear infection as well - so I couldn't tell what was really him just being fussy or another infection (we had 18 total). I do know that it DOES end. Our day care person says, "As long as they are in a safe place ie: crib, you can leave them be to sort it out and learn to put themselves to sleep".

Much easier said than done. I hope it is nearing its end - in a very good way!!

ArticulateDad said...

Thanks for the post. You are not alone! With so many (childless) experts out there to judge us (or more likely, our imposition of judgmentalism on others to interpret on our own), it's okay for us to simply trust ourselves. Whenever I'm feeling like a crappy dad, I remind myself of how many times I smile and hug and kiss my little boys each day, and how often I look into their eyes and say I love you, you know that? I really love you. Lucas will come through this. And so will you. I hope you had a productive night.

grumpyABDadjunct said...

Thanks for the play-by-play! We are trying to decide which method to start trying in the next couple of months; our son is only 4 months so a little young for true tough love but we;ve been easing him into his crib and trying to encourage sleep without the boob. It is good to be able to read about what other peole have tried and how it works, or doesn't, for them.

Karen said...

You are an awesome mom & my heartstrings are tugged as well with the memories of those times. I promise it will get better!!!! p.s.even Dr. Wonderful gave in several times before allowing a whole 26 minutes---you rock!