Thursday, September 2, 2010
The Accidental Parent
I have become an accidental parent. Despite my best efforts, I have unknowingly created patterns and behaviors in my children that have complicated our sleep lives. After what I swore was the last night of sleep insanity in my home- we started "sleep training" the boys. We settled on the pick up; put down and shush pat method, and away we went. I crammed in a few chapters of the Baby Whisperer that afternoon and Phil got a crash course in how we would approach the night as soon as he walked in the door. He had about 10 minutes (our sleep window of opportunity) to eat and change his clothes before he was thrown into the trenches for what had the potential to be a very long battle. Though I have read a fair amount on this method, we really were winging it a bit. But winging it or not, I was desperate to do something- anything. My sanity was hanging on its last remaining thread and I figured there was no time like the present for making some serious changes.
Isaac and Naaman are just shy of 6 months and their night waking had increased to a level where I was not sleeping, they were not sleeping well, and everyone was suffering. After dragging my feet a bit too long on starting the process- I drag them no more.
So armed with ear plugs, a full stomach and an empty bladder- I was ready for a long stint in the nursery; ready to help my children learn to fall asleep without the aid of the bouncing ball (killing my back), the rocking chair, or any other jiggling motions. I was shocked to find that a mere 20 minutes later- I was exiting the nursery with a sleeping baby. I've read stories of babies that needed to be picked up and put down as many as 140 times in one go; and I was sure my guys would be close to that. It turns out that Isaac only needed 5 or 6 pick ups and he was working his own way to dream land with nothing more than my hand patting him on the chest.
Morning came, and we were all a bit more rested. Though the boys still woke frequently (I will tackle the issue of night weaning a little later), they slept better between wakings and went a bit longer than usual. All in all- it felt like a bit of a victory for us. When morning came- I wondered what the daytime nap situation would be like. I got my nanny on board and we approached the daytime naps in the same fashion as bedtime and... so far so good.
I definitely have a lot of work ahead of me, but it feels so good to have purpose in the process and light at the end of the tunnel.
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