Friday, July 29, 2011

My heart, my heeeeaaaarrrttttt

I get it, I'm new.  A year and a half is a piddly amount of time as a parent and I am here to tell you that what "they" say is usually true.  However it's of no use to tell any new parent this, they have to have the experience for themselves.  Not because they are bull-headed (well, I am) but because the experience is like nothing you can have ever imagined via being told.

So here I am, a pained parent, having an "experience".

I have held strong to the principle of co-sleeping since Ro was born.  There are too many benefits, so, despite plenty of unwelcome suggestions to do otherwise,  that is what we have done.  So I lay down with her for every nap time and every bed time until she falls asleep, and it is a wonderful mommy time for me.  There is not one single thing that beats out snuggling with my daughter, it's the best.

Lately I've noticed that I can be more of a distraction than a vehicle of sleep.  She'll chat with me a bit and point out my eyes, nose and mouth.  Sometimes when she is almost asleep she'll wake herself up to dig for my belly button ( she likes belly buttons).  But at some point she'll need to be able to fall asleep on her own.  Right now she needs her mommy or her daddy to lay with her.  Up until now, this has posed no problems, but I imagine it'd be nice to have other options for sleepfulness.

So.....tonight.  Ah, tonight.  **BIG EXHALE**  After about 2 hours of sleeping, not sleeping, chatting and general "not-going-to-sleep"ness, I decided to remove myself.  First I just sat next to the bed.  She carried on, laughed a bit and fiddled with the pillow.  After 30 minutes of this I removed myself entirely (this is not the recommended Super Nanny way, oops- I should have stayed there, sitting until she was asleep) and the wrath of Ro began.

She followed me out of the room.  I put her back.  She told me she was, "all done".  I put her back.  She screeched and gargled something awful and ran after me out of the room.  I put her back.  She pleaded with me to, "belly" (lay down with her).  I told her in a calm, soothing voice that I loved her, that it was night-night time and she was to stay in bed and go to sleep.  This had her calm down....until I left.  She wailed, hollered, ripped out my heart and stomped it into the floor.  I put her back.  Imagine this process continuing for a bit.

I start to question if this sort of upset is really worth it.  Maybe she'll decide she can't trust me anymore.  What if bed time becomes this awful, dreaded beast of an event, unlike the casually welcomed process it is now?

During this mind cramp I became distracted from the fact that no child was trailing me.  And no crying to boot.  Hmm.  What could be going on in there?  I didn't have the guts to look and potentially re-start this mommy-soul-killing process.  So twenty minutes later I peek in and she is passed out on our bed (not the bed she is supposed to be passed out on).

Good...I guess?  This is what I wanted, right?  I think I am too damaged right now to feel victorious.  Besides, I don't really want to turn this into a competition in my head.  I am a bit relieved though, and sad.  Sad that she fell asleep with out me.

Crap, this parenting thing is rough.  So simultaneously high as a kite on kid smiles and then rock bottom on soggy eye lashes and scrunched red faces.

I'll be honest.  This process was brutal.  I've watched the Super Nanny do this over and over in people's homes and I've been cynical about the difficulty parents have with it.  Truth be told, I'm a bit horrified at the thought of doing this again tomorrow.  If I really want what I say I want, I'll do it.

Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please, let it be a short process!  Maybe she'll be good to go after tonight?  Yes.  That's it.



  1. Oh, Mel :( It really will get better, and she won't go up thinking you're a terrible, awful person! Really. You are way too good of a mom for that to happen. As for your poor, ripped out heart . . . I have nothing to offer but a hug.

    At the daycare I used to work at, it's pretty common practice for the teachers to pat the kids' backs to help them go to sleep. I did it when I taught in the toddler room, and it helped (mostly). When I moved up to the preschool room I started out by doing it for the kids who, I was told, "needed" it. I learned very quickly that patting their backs did not, actually help them fall asleep any faster. It just served as a welcome distraction! One kid, I remember, would pretend to fall asleep, but the minute I stopped patting his back, he would open his eyes so I would start up again. Finally I quit completely. I felt like a cold-hearted person, (especially when another teacher would ask incredulously, "You don't pat their backs?"), but it really was better that I didn't. They actually fell asleep faster once I stopped!

    Good luck, Mel! It's definitely not easy, especially when your heart is involved.

  2. How is the transition going? These things are never easy are they? And no one can tell you when the right time to do something like this, it really is just mommy instinct. Good for you for recognizing when to move to the next stage. And if you slip back sometimes, that's totally your mommy privilege. :)