Monday, 26 November 2012

Trying it out...

OK, so we've had to do it. And my heart is breaking. We are assured by the 'professionals' that it won't harm your baby. But it still doesn't make it any easier (if you read this when you're older, little one, mummy and daddy had to do this for you). Only as I pace up and down the hall, climb the walls, weep in the car and gait around the garden; his cries are still resonating around me.

Nearly 6 months of sleepless nights, long days and arms as a solid as steel, the decision has been made: the tough love brigade are in town.

No longer do we have the daddy reps (200 per rock), jigging swings, Auntie arm ache or beneficial bouncer to get him to the land of zeds (at this rate we could have made some decent wonga as personal baby gym trainers) - here come the plucky parents; well, not quite...
'What if he loses his trust in us?' we ask the health visitor, 'his cries are his only way to communicate with us' we meekly protest. Get a grip I tell myself, people have been doing this for centuries.
At home we brace ourselves for the wails; and it's hard. On the second occasion he goes to sleep within one minute, ‘Hurrah!’ we think, ‘we've cracked it’. But alas, it was a one-off.

Day two, however, is hard-core; the leaflet tells us to up the time by almost double. By 9am my husband says 'Look, if this is too much we won't do it - we can't have two people crying in the house' as I sit there with tears streaming down my face. We decide to try a 'milder version' and it starts to work.

Then on one occasion I find him lying there staring into space - 'Oh god, has he already given up on us? Is he thinking they're not going to bother?' I think pathetically. My husband keeps talking about those adverts where orphans don't even bother to cry as no-one comes to them...pull yourself together Mrs W, surely this is exactly what we are trying to achieve: him being able to settle himself.
When he's up, he gets extra cuddles; I overhear my husband explaining why we had to do this and that 'daddy loves him more than anything'. He's all smiles and gives us a what-are-you-on-about look and we breathe a sigh of relief.

Day four arrives and I swear his voice has gone a little hoarse - don't get me started I'm going to well up again.

My desire for wine and chocolate has gone up a notch.

We tell each other we are a team, we are in this together - we keep giving each other pep talks when the other one cracks. I honestly don't know how single parents do it; I have admiration for them - along with a new found respect for my parents.

So, we mostly have our evenings back and what's the first thing we do? Err play scrabble of course, because that's high on the agenda in any marriage, naturally...

The conclusion? I hate to admit it as I've put it off for so long, but it's made the world of difference and it's kinda getting easier. I know there will be better days than some. Most parents go through this at some stage and no-one can tell you to try it until you decide you're ready. And I'm convinced our bubba is thinking; 'Hallelujah! I'm finally allowed to learn to sleep by myself.'

Still, if you have a nocturnal or non-napper nipper, I know a brilliant rocking method that will tone those arms right up, I charge by the hour...

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Da Vinci Cot

Dear Dan Brown, if you could write a bestseller in finding this Holy Grail, you would make squillions; I'm talking sleep.

My quest to find a slumber solution continues: this Indiana Jones crusade isn't just for me (and my sanity) but for our little one - he needs it more than I do, he's got growing and developing and stuff to do. Before you ask if I’ve tried the latest baby method, I've probably read 'em all, seriously. Even the ones that claim they have the answer - all for 47 dollars of course...

So far, my sleep seeking has included the following: routine, routine, routine, background noise, no noise, white noise, whispering, sshhing, swaddling, swaying, singing, bed-time stories, bed-time bath, soft toy, no toy, catching the tiredness, catching when he's full up, dummy, darkness, dimming night lights, temperature checks, teething checks, dream feeds, adding a bottle feed, spacing feeds (even graphing feeds), musical mobiles, music on the mobile, chilling down after playing, tiring him out, door bouncer, chair bouncer, daddy bouncer, did I mention a routine? The list goes on...

The latest one is a comfort muslin; my husband wants to call it 'a name' so we can tell the story to our son when he's older. Hmm, I'm now imagining a 10 year old (or worse, a 30 year old) attached to a 'blankey' and unable to snooze without said blankety blank.

Of course I haven't yet mentioned good 'ol fashioned crying it out or 'CIO' as it's referred to in the parent forums - one of the many acronyms you need to learn as a twenty first century parent.
We have tried CIO but not to the extent of absolute hysteria; he's too young in our opinion, you may read that as being soft maybe but that's just what our belief is. It's not like he hasn't slept on his own before anyway - it happens sporadically and he just drifts off, happily all by himself, so why put ourselves and him through the torture of CIO?

We just need to find the clue as to what made him let go into the land of zeds, I'd happily let Sherlock Holmes take on the case and crack the code. Even friends are helping out, offering new suggestions, I'm sure they've got a whip, I hear the prize is of value ...

The next thing on the list is food as we have a hungry night milk feeder on our hands. I wonder if when he's older he'll be a middle-of-the-night fridge raider, midnight feaster and secret lemonade drinker?
And so the sleep association continues. What I've learnt on the way is that our boy loves cuddles, that he's a fast learner and knows his bedroom; 'Oh yeah' I can see him thinking, 'I know your game mummy' as he looks around the room and clocks all the things that mean bed-time. Even at Shirley’s house he knew what we were up to. He scanned the room in 360 degrees like a lighthouse and as his eyes nearly met us we both instinctively dropped to the floor, supressing our giggles as we lay there - hold on, I thought we were the parents?

I know we'll get there in the end, even if his mummy used to never sleep as a child. Every baby is unique anyway right? But if you find the grail, please share it - I'll even let you shrug it off as 'Elementary my dear Watson'.