Sunday, June 8, 2008

Seven Days and Seven Nights

I have been holding my breath for seven days and seven nights. I haven't been able to write for fear I would jinx our experiment.

About a month ago a friend from NYC called me to ask for advice on how she could get her eight month old son to sleep more. She and her husband were getting close to their wits end. She (like I) had done all the reading about the different "methods" of sleep training, and she (like I) was very uncomfortable with the highly recommended "cry it out" or Ferber method. She told me she had read all of my posts on sleep training and she was wondering what had happened as there was no end to the story.

I told her there unfortunately was no end and that I had stopped writing about it as I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed that we hadn't found a solution, that the babe was still ending up in our bed half way through the night on most nights, and that I was so exhausted that I didn't think I could take it any more.

Approximately three weeks ago I hit my limit...again. Luckily it came right before a trip to Canada. I convinced my husband that it was time to tackle the dreaded "sleep training" we had done so much to avoid. As you may recall, we are both big wimps and couldn't handle the thought of the babe crying for hours on end. But when you hit the limit, you hit the limit. So, we agreed that upon my return on June 1st (when the babe would be discombobulated anyway), we would officially start sleep training. We were prepared for the worst.

I have been holding my breath all week because the whole process has gone so smoothly my husband and I are in complete shock. The babe has now officially slept through seven nights in a row (this has never happened). We have been putting her in her crib awake for naps and night time sleep, and telling her we love her, and walking out the door. The first night (which actually happened at my folks place in Ottawa) involved about 30 minutes of crying, the second night she was so exhausted from traveling there were just a few whimpers, the third night she let out only a few short cries, and by the fourth night she was saying "bye" to us as we put her in the crib.

I haven't slept this much since September/October 2006. It has been amazing and I can't believe how blessed we are. I'm not sure if she was ready and we had the timing exactly right, or if she liked that my husband cleaned up and rearranged her room so it's less of an office/guest room/toddler's room and more of a room just the babe.

Whatever it is, we are so thrilled. It has saved me so much time at night not having to sit and watch her fall asleep in the dark before I transfer her to the crib. It has made me a less angry and resentful Mother and wife. It has saved my sanity not having to get up in the middle of the night to get her settled in our bed. And it has been so nice to be in a king size bed without a toddler kicking me in the head.

I'm not saying all sleep training attempts will be like this, I'm just saying it's worth a shot. There is only so long you can sacrifice your sleep, and in the long run, biting the bullet is what's best for every member of your family. Lesson learned. It only took a year and a half!


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh!!! You don't know how happy this makes me!! Happy for you and happy for this mommy who can anticipate an end(some day) to the seemingly permanent interupted sleep!

Anonymous said...

Congradulations Christine!! Well done! J.

Anonymous said...

Congrats C! Yippee for all of you! I am so relieved that it went so smoothly. :) S

Anonymous said...

you know how the purpose of your blog was to help other mothers. I know people who love reading your stories and it helps them get by. The words I hear are "I thought I was an awful mother...." until you. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

There is a carefull balance in the self sacrifice you do for your kids (and other loved ones). If you go too far and give up too much of yourself, you don't have as much to give. I think is is pretty easy to fall into the roll of a marture when you reach theat limit. I know that I am a MUCH MUCH better mother when I have had a good night sleep and some time to do things for me..alone. Don't ever feel bad about being hard when you need the babe to do something. It really is for her own best in the long run. Two burn-out parents who don't ever draw the line are not. Your doing good!!

Banjo said...

Congratulations! I'm so happy it went well. Hope you all enjoy your sweet dreams! -Sar