7.01.2006

Crying it Out: They Mean Me, Right?

My daughter is sobbing from the other room, trapped in her yet unused crib and my heart is shattering with every wail. I'd rather be the one in there, shrieking and red-faced, my hands clutching the crib rails until my knuckles turn the same shade of white. A million times over, I wish it were me.

After 12 months less 5 days of "oh she's very happy but not so much a sleeper," I picked up the Weissbluth book that had been gathering dust bunnies under my bedside table. I've had the book since Thalia was born a year ago. I didn't open it until now because while I needed--desperately needed--his council on solving her sleep issues, I was afraid of the admonishments.

My fears were confirmed.

The book is filled with boxes that highlight "practical points" like
WARNING: PERSISTENT SLEEPING PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN HAVE BEEN LINKED TO PSYCHIATRIC SYMPTOMS IN ADOLESCENTS, HYPERACTIVITY IN CHILDREN, AND DEPRESSION IN THEIR MOTHERS.
Also:
YOU ARE HARMING YOUR CHILD WHEN YOU ALLOW UNHEALTHY SLEEP PATTERNS TO PERSIST...AS UNHEALTHY AS PROVIDING A NUTRITIONALLY DEFICIENT DIET.
Awesome.

So it's not gut-wrenching enough that she's crying her brains out, screaming herself hoarse. Now I realize I'm an utter and complete failure as a mother too. I've apparently denied her the essential ability to self-soothe, meaning she's going to have A.D.D., copious emotional problems, probably herpes, and certainly an obsession with torturing small animals. I wouldn't be surprised if the next little box in the book says,
WARNING: AILEEN WUORNOS DID NOT SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT UNTIL SHE WAS TWELVE. I'M JUST SAYIN'...
I want to take it all out on Nate. It would be so easy to point the finger at him, the man who spent the last eight months saying, "just one more month in the bed. Just one more week. Just one more season..." It would sure make me feel a lot better to say I told you so and so I'm working really hard to resist it. Because I'm complicit here too. Which makes me hate myself more because I wonder whether I compromised my daughter in some way just to avoid another fight.

The crazy part of all of this is that I know letting her cry in the crib is the right thing to do. For my sanity, for Nate and my relationship, and most of all for Thalia. So if you're thinking about suggesting there's some sort of cruelty in allowing a child to cry, save it. I'm really not in the fucking mood.

For the record, my nightly routine for the past year has consisted of bringing Thalia into bed with me around 7:00, where I lie, silent and in the dark with my daughter for up to two hours or longer, while she crawls, squirms, babbles, cries, struggles, sits up, laughs at the cat and pretty much does anything besides sleep.

Two hours a night. Every night for a year.

I took the entire first six months while I was breastfeeding. The next six months have been pretty much 50/50 between Nate and me. So you do the math.

-----

It's now been 57 minutes. She's quiet. I creep to the bedroom, so grateful for this forum. If I wasn't writing about this, I'd probably just be drinking. Wait a minute, I am drinking. Drinking and blogging. I swore I never would, but extreme circumstances and all...

I push open the bedroom, wincing as it creeks. I crane my head around the dresser, searching for Thalia in the crib. I find her.

She's sound asleep. Standing up.


84 Comments:

Anonymous Onetallmomma said...

That is one of the hands down, no bullshit, hardest things we have to do as parents. But I can promise you this...Tomorrow night will be better. The screaming will not last as long. And the next night better still.

And when you start doubting your fitness to be her mom, remember that WE need "I" time in order to be our best for them.

I am raising my glass to you in sympathy and admiration.

7/1/06, 8:28 PM  
Blogger Dee Dee said...

Good for you! Sleeping standing up would have been a great picture...

7/1/06, 8:31 PM  
Anonymous madge said...

IT'S SO SO SO HARD! But so worth it.

Weissbluth saved my sanity. I wish the same on you. Cheers. (clinks imaginary glass of Pinot that I miss so terribly)

7/1/06, 8:34 PM  
Blogger Lumpyheadsmom said...

Argh. My sympathies. It sucks.

We read Ferber and Weissbluth, and although Weissbluth is an alarmist prick, he did help put me in the right frame of mind to be able to sleep train.

Ferber is also a useful read - I borrowed a copy from a colleague until the revised version came out - totally worth it.

Lumpyhead is sleeping better now than he did when he co-slept (although not standing up. Go Thalia!).

But the first two weeks sucked sweaty goat balls. Sucked them hard.

Here's to you. Get more wine.

7/1/06, 8:44 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

It is so hard, and it sucks so much. But as long as you remain consistent, the amount of screaming will be less and less each night, until you will be able to put her down, and she will go to sleep without getting upset at all.

Hang in there.

7/1/06, 8:54 PM  
Blogger Refinnej said...

You gotta do what you gotta do.

I avoid parenting books of all kinds because of those oh-so-helpful "warnings" they usually include. Who needs that kind of crap?

7/1/06, 9:02 PM  
Anonymous J.Lisa said...

I love and respect you Liz.

7/1/06, 9:03 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Well, what I have to say pretty much echoes what's already been written. It's hard, it sucks, it gradually gets easier, and it's soooooooo worth it in the end!

Oh, and blogging while drinking? I'll drink to that!

7/1/06, 9:04 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Sleeping standing up?! Oh my gosh, that must have been a sight to see!

Don't worry about Thalia. This phase, too, shall pass. She won't die. You won't die. And soon, she AND you will be sleeping much more soundly. (Hopefully, in a vertical position.)

Hang tough!

7/1/06, 9:06 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Oops, that should have been hopefully NOT in a vertical position. You're not the only one drinking and blogging today...

7/1/06, 9:08 PM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

The standing up part made me speak aloud "aw, poor thing" *giggle when I read this. Although we didn't use Weissbluth, we did a little ferber, a little not ferber, a little standing on the front porch with a beer in between. It was over so fast, I don't even remember how hard it was. She's now a CHAMPION sleeper and still happy.

7/1/06, 9:27 PM  
Anonymous wendy boucher said...

Ditto everything they all said. Girlie was the WORST sleeper until we "Ferberized" her and then she became the world's best (and still is). You are doing the right thing, in my opinion, for all of you. Even the drinking part. It's how most of us got through the first crying it out nights.

7/1/06, 9:53 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Oh, that is SO hard. Sending happy thoughts your way -- and virtual booze. It will get better.

7/1/06, 9:58 PM  
Blogger Liesl said...

Oh, that standing up sleeping just sounds priceless. And Holy Hannah, the evening sounds absolutely nerve-wracking.

I think you're doing the right thing. Ignore the dire warnings in the books. The sleep-training people can be alarmist. The anti-CIO folks are just as alarmist on the other end of the spectrum. Then there's you and Nate and Thalia somewhere in the middle. Sanity is important. Sleep is important. Whatever works for you and your heart and gut is the best thing to do.

But, hmmmm, if Thalia starts sleeping well, what are you going to say to disarm Competimommies???

7/1/06, 10:00 PM  
Anonymous Karen Q said...

Egads-- what a suck-fest. I kept an article from the March ’06 BabyTalk about a 10 day/step sleep program. (Hey, I had to try it because the author's kid was the same name and age as my little guy at the time, so that seemed like a sign.) Some of the ideas helped when we moved Lucas from the bassinet in our room to his crib down the hall. But remember, a stuffy nose, new tooth, and whoopee—firecrackers being shot off by that friggin’ kid down the street—can easily undo any established sleep tips, so don’t beat yourself up.

Article is online: http://www.parenting.com/parenting/article/0,19840,648423,00.html

(And the image of Thalia asleep standing up is a KILLER!)

7/1/06, 10:07 PM  
Blogger Mary-LUE said...

Just another voice to add to the chorus of hang in there, you can do it, you are doing the right thing, etc.

The Weissbluth is good... I used it although my daughter was an extra challenge and still is.

WARNING: UNSOLICITED ADVICE FOLLOWS

My only suggestion would be if it gets too much for you to listen to, which is totally understandable, have a friend come over while you and Nate go grab a coffee or something. It is much easier to listen to someone else's kid cry it out. I know I did that for a friend and it was very helpful for her. The friend can call you when the coast is clear and you will save your blood pressure a workout.

The sleeping standing up thing is the cutest BTW.

7/1/06, 10:07 PM  
Anonymous chelle said...

awwww poor girl and poor mom!

It is so hard to make decisions like these. The good, the bad and the ugly, you just have to do what is right for you and your kid.

I hope this helps put everything in line for everyone!

7/1/06, 10:09 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Liz, It sucks to do it. But it is a good thing for her. Although I think that there is little chance of her becoming a serial killer.

This, my friend is the joys of being a mom that they don't tell you about. It will get easier, I promise. It may take a few weeks, but it will get easier.

7/1/06, 10:17 PM  
Blogger Piece of Work said...

Oh, god, that fucking book! Way to make you feel that you are not only failing as a parent, but also completely destroying your child. I have friends who swear by that book but all it did for me was make me cry.
I feel your pain, but hopefully in a few says Thalia will be over the hump, and you'll be so glad you did it. With my daughter it only took 3 days. 3 days of HELL, but only 3 days. The first night she screamed for 2 hours, straight. The neighbors actually knocked on our door to make sure everything was okay.

7/1/06, 10:25 PM  
Blogger bubandpie said...

I'm one of those you-have-to-read-Dr.-Weissbluth moms, but you are SO RIGHT about the "practical points" boxes. They often not directly related to the actual text on the page on which they appear, and in some cases they even seem to contradict what he's saying elsewhere. I'd like to think that Weissbluth didn't write those bits at all.

It will get better. So much better in every way after this.

7/1/06, 10:39 PM  
Anonymous JGS said...

First, don't forget that she won't remember. She won't remember any of the crying, but she'll benefit from learning to sleep on her own. It is a gift that will last her a lifetime. Speaking of which, the Weissbluth guy is talking about sleep disorders/problems that continue into toddlerhood and preschool-age and beyond - not babies in the first year or even two. He's not talking about Thalia.

Second or third (who can keep track?), think of how this will change your relationship with Nate. Think of the extra time you two will have, think of the healthy boundary you will create around your marriage, think of the model your healthy marriage will give her for her future.

Also, someone suggested a friend to come over -really, try it if you need to. Just because Thalia needs to cry doesn't mean you have to punish yourself by listening. Seriously. Or put on some earphones and listen to some feel-good music. You're doing a great thing for your little girl and there is no reason you should suffer because of it.

It may feel terrible, and many of us have been there, and you may feel alone, but so many people care about you all over the country. Remember, we're thinking of you and know you are a great Mom.

7/1/06, 11:01 PM  
Blogger jennster said...

sleeping? standing up?!! GOOD LORD! lol
i am so sorry and i know how fucking heartwrenching and awful this is to go through. i only with it would have worked with me and blake. hang in there- you are a great mom and that book sounds like shit. lol

7/2/06, 12:02 AM  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

I know how hard it is, but good sleep for ALL is so important. Good luck to you.

7/2/06, 12:15 AM  
Blogger something blue said...

Warning: If your child starts sleeping upside down, hanging by his or her feet, they may become a vampire and suck the life right out of you.

We have a battle most nights getting our girls to go to sleep. I often crash before they do. Where do they get the energy?

7/2/06, 12:16 AM  
Blogger Chag said...

Asleep standing up? Your girl's hardcore!

It would kill me when we were getting our kids accustomed to putting themselves to sleep. The crying! But be strong. It gets better.

7/2/06, 12:18 AM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

I know that feeling has to be horrible!!!
You are doing the right thing.. and she will not remember this transition.
My friend had the same problem with her son.. she tried EVERYTHING because the crying killed her! Finally she came to this conlusion..she would sleep with one of his crib sheets... and the next night put it on his bed so it smelled like her.... she said it seemed to work with the self-soothing.. It may be worth a try! Good luck to you.... and that book you are reading needs to be tossed!

7/2/06, 12:20 AM  
Blogger Denver Dad said...

Ugh. I'm sorry you're going through this, but it eventually gets better. Chunk still cries when we put him in his crib, but now it's usually just for a few minutes, until he settles down and gets comfortable.

It's eventually gets better... it does. There's no easy way to get through these first few rough nights, but it does get better.

Good luck to you, Nate, and especially Thalia.

7/2/06, 12:21 AM  
Blogger Lady M said...

It's so tough when the little ones fight sleep!

Every night for a year, SwingDaddy or I rocked Q to sleep. Sometimes it would take 20 minutes, and often more like an hour. We finally started putting him in his crib awake, and he wailed away. We could hear him crying wildly, and then pause. He was listening to hear if we were coming back into his room! If he didn't hear us, he'd start crying again. These days, he'll thrash for a little while, but goes to bed willingly. Whew.

Good luck and hang in there! You're doing the right thing to save your family's sanity. :)

7/2/06, 1:01 AM  
Blogger carrie said...

It WILL get better, tomorrow night will only be 47 minutes! But, oh, the torture of listening to our babies cry it out has got to be the absolute worst, I feel for you, I really, really do!

Carrie

7/2/06, 2:18 AM  
Anonymous moonstruckmama said...

I empathize!! Doing the cry-it-out thing sucks. I'm on the verge of doing it for the third time (third child) and irrationally putting it off...just can't bring myself to commit to just do it (again) so that the baby, and I and my husband can get back to our own beds and regular sleep. It's so, so hard.

7/2/06, 7:04 AM  
Blogger Marcie said...

You go girl. Sleep is great for everyone.
I am the sleep enforcer in our house. If my Husband had his way our two year old would still be sleeping in our bed and staying up till midnight (she has absolute power over him.) What a wimp!:)

7/2/06, 8:20 AM  
Blogger kidslovecandy said...

Boy this post brought me back. My oldest is 8. She didn't sleep through the night until she was 4. We tried the Ferber when she was about 8 months. Didn't work. All the crying and sleeplessness she looked so so unhappy. Our gorgeous happy baby was gone. And still, no one was getting any sleep. We gave up after 2 weeks.
My youngest is 4. We expect all the same sleeplessness, crazy nights, baby, toddler, preschooler-kicking us through the night.
Nope! Number 2 started sleeping through the night (11pm to 7am) at 6 months.
What's my long winded point? Um, Sorry. It freakin' stinks big time. But also my point is, you don't have a whole lot of control in the situation, so don't let a stupid book guy tell you it's all about you. Point number 3, my first born is not a sociopath, and she sleeps through night just fine, now. It's actually hard to wake her up in morning now. One more point! Your post brought me back, and that's 'cause I kind of forgot about those 4 long years of sleep disturbance.

7/2/06, 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Kvetch said...

Made me laugh but I know it's not funny. I hope when you laid her down that she stayed asleep (poor Thalia was exhausted) and that tonight she only screams and cries for 56 minutes. I'll keep my fingers crossed, quietly.

7/2/06, 9:10 AM  
Blogger Daddy D said...

sorry to hear about your problems with the whole crib sleepingness.

thankfully we got lucky and our little one wanted the crib from the day she got home from the hospital and is in the toddler bed now at 15 months.

the second time through we probably won't get so lucky...our fingers are crossed though.

- Jon
- Daddy Detective
- www.daddydetective.com

7/2/06, 9:24 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

AM GOING THROUGH THIS RIGHT NOW.

Exactly this. WonderBaby has been falling asleep - when she does sleep - standing up.

Otherwise, it's desperate attempts at co-sleeping (wrote about for the exchange) through the night or in the morning.

And - have read the Weissbluth. Was alarmed.

Desperate times.

7/2/06, 9:28 AM  
Blogger sunshine scribe said...

I hate books with all that judgemental crap. Seriously. I know I "Fosetered unhealthy sleeping habits" with my son but he is a thriving, happy, bright, funny, well adjusted little guy.

I say you do what you have to do. And blog and drink one or four or whatever. If this is what you need and Thalia needs then that is what matters. At the core of every word you wrote is that you love her. That's what makes a good parent not the "correct" technique.

The whole sleeping thing gets easier. Coming from a mom with a child who sounds like his sleep preferences were identical to Thalias... Trust me it gets easier.

7/2/06, 9:42 AM  
Blogger R. Sherman said...

Dear, you should lighten up. I think you should just revel in the fact that you'll make mistakes with your kids, just like the rest of us.

God has a sense of humor. After we spend years dreaming about being perfect parents and vowing never to do those "things" our parents did, He gives us the opportunity to screw up ourselves.

You're doing great. Don't worry about it.

Cheers.

7/2/06, 11:18 AM  
Blogger J said...

We did Ferber with Maya when she was 10ish months old, and it sucked, but it worked. One thing that helped was that we would have a pre-set bedtime routine every night. I'm sure you do as well, but maybe some others don't...we would bathe her, get her in her jammies, sing a song, and read a book. Then she could 'read' to herself if she wanted, but we were done. Sometimes she cried, but after awhile, she got into her routine pretty well.

One other commenter mentioned that other factors will mess up the sleep thing, and we certainly found that to be true. Illness, new teeth, ear infection, 4th of July, whatever, it would throw her off and make it hard to sleep. And some of the teeth take awhile. Poor things. I don't think it's easy being a kid sometimes.

Also, sounds to me like Thalia has a pretty strong personality...I mention this because it might get worse before it gets better. Tonight might be less crying, no crying, or twice as much crying. So buy more wine if you need to. ;)

I'm shocked that you haven't gotten reamed on this post. Every other blog I've read where people were 'sleep training' their kids, they got a ton of nasty comments telling them how cruel they were, even if they had gone out of the way to say, please don't. So I commend your readers. :)

I fell asleep standing up once, but I was 23, working full time, going to school full time, exhausted, and stuck in a slow, sleepy elevator. HA! Too funny.

7/2/06, 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Gurukarm Kaur said...

The whole sleep thing is SO hard. I made what turned out to be a horrible mistake of letting DD fall asleep after breastfeeding (actually sort of trained her to, in fact, following some misguided fool's advice) which turned into "can't go to sleep at night without you in bed next to me after nursing". For a really. long. time. I finally did the Ferber thing, which was AWFUL, but she finally did learn to fall asleep without me next to her. And we still did maintain the family bed for a long time after. Just she fell asleep before us.

And I want to say about that, don't let the "experts" talk you out of the family bed if it works for you, because DD and DS both grew up (still growing in DS's case) into intelligent, non-serial killer, mature, independent, fun, loving, and great people without ADD or any awful psychoses and disorders. So. There you go. :-)

7/2/06, 1:21 PM  
Blogger Queen Haline said...

Honey. Whether or not this will be good for Thalia (and it will be good for Thalia) is almost beside the point. This will be GOOD FOR YOU, and your relationship with Nate. And that, is very important, too.

It always bothers me that these children's book authors never write about what is good for Mom and Mom and partner. Screw the kid. Save yourself.

(I only mean that with the upmost love of kids.)

7/2/06, 1:35 PM  
Blogger Jodi said...

The sleeping thing DOES suck. BIG TIME. I really really hopes it work for you. The fact that she fell asleep is a great sign. We tried this techinique on Trent when he was a baby and he would cry for 3 solid hours and NEVER fall asleep. I think we did it for 2 weeks and then threw in the towel. We are WIMPS. He is a GREAT sleeper now though. He needs no help falling asleep whatsover and hasn't for probably 5 years now. (he's 8).
Now, Connor on the other hand. *sigh* he's 5. And still needs help falling asleep. We should have tried the crying out technique with him. We never did, because, well, I think we were still tired from trying to get Trent to sleep.
Anyway, I really hope it works for you! And I think the fact that she fell asleep, albeit standing up, is a GREAT GREAT sign that it's gonna work for everybody!
AND, who doesn't drink when they are blogging? they two things go hand in hand, don't ya know? :)

7/2/06, 1:44 PM  
Blogger Bobita said...

You, and every other parent who has been strong and courageous enough to "sleep train" have my (mouth gaping open) awe and eternal respect!

I am on my third baby...who is 13 months old and sleeping in our bed...and he is the THIRD BABY to have occupied said bed!

I might have been able to sleep train...but my husband? Not so much. When he heard the baby crying, he would cry. And then look at me with his weepy-daddy eyes and say, "I can't do it. My baby needs me."

And so...most nights at our house daddy is the one who sleeps with 13 month old baby...because mommy is upstairs on the couch (I need me some sleep!!) or sleeping with 3-year-old-who-is-having-night-terrors (Oh, yes. Terrors!).

Although I have read other commenters who have mentioned this point, I think it bears repeating...Thalia is deeply loved by her parents. She will eventually sleep through the night...with training, or even no training...but she will ALWAYS be loved by her parents. And that is the single most important circumstance leading to happy, secure children who become well-adjusted adults.

Keep on keepin' on!

7/2/06, 2:08 PM  
Blogger Jozet said...

Standing up asleep!

Well, I say if it's good enough for ponies and cattle... ;-)

Think of it this way: there's also a lot of research out there that says that kids who co-sleep turn out golden. So between the co-sleeping, the not sleeping, the crying-it-out, and the finally sleeping, I think that any potential harm of any of your decisions has been neutralized by the positive effects of of your decisions, and that's better odds than Seabiscuit got on his first race.

You're doing good. Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

7/2/06, 4:00 PM  
Blogger Jozet said...

And let me clarify...just trying to soothe your anxieties that you were doing anything wrong by allowing the co - uhmm...not - sleeping as far as your babe is concerned.

Now, as far as you're concerned, yes, sleep deprivation is a torture tactic they use at Guantanamo. Now, if they could just get those guys down there to babysit for us through the night, it might all work out.

7/2/06, 4:05 PM  
Anonymous j said...

I know I shouldn't have... it's mean of me... but I laughed. I laughed hard and long at your post. Been there, done that, have the wrinkles to prove it. I swore I wouldn't be one of those parents who laughed at the misfortunes of those with younger kiddos. And here I am, snickering at you. I had one who didn't sleep, ever . Only he cried for FOUR HOURS the night we tried Crying it Out. Oy. So I feel your pain.

Oh, and about the Boy Who Nearly Killed Me by Not Sleeping for Two Years? Yeah, he still gets out of bed and needs a drink and changes sleeping locales and generally drives me batty at least twice a week. At least I know where I can blame the ADD! :)

7/2/06, 4:37 PM  
Anonymous neva said...

just so ya know... both our sons were excellent sleepers as infants(for the most part) and *both* have "issues" (including ADD). i'm just sayin'...

congratulations on getting Thalia to fall asleep on her own! today it's standing up (she's young, those leg cramps won't last long), tomorrow perhaps she'll sit in the corner of the crib and lay her head back gainst the 'rails'. (personally, that's the picture i'd send to the author of that book, with a note saying something charming like "shove this up your ass". but that's just me.)

i feel your pain. you'd think this would get easier by the time your kid turns 22, but you'd be wrong. sigh. xox

7/2/06, 5:44 PM  
Anonymous motherhooduncensored said...

Hey. If she fell asleep in 52 minutes, you have a great candidate for CIO - standing or not.

Good for you for sticking it out. Believe me (esp. since you were co-not-sleeping) you'll be loving life (ALL OF YOU) very shortly...

7/2/06, 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

I feel ya. I really do. I've never fully completed the CIO so we go through a little bit of it with every nap and every bedtime and it's tough. I've only recently started letting him cry for the 1-2 minutes it takes him to fall back to sleep in the middle of the night and it kills me every time.

7/2/06, 5:55 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

Oh, those warnings are silly. Silly, silly. Did he cite any specific studies? I am guessing not. Anyway, assuming legitimate studies have shown a correlation between poor sleep patterns in infancy and depression and ADD later in life, correlation does not equal causation. Both ADD and depression are known to CAUSE sleep problems. So how does Dr. Smarty-Pants know that these kids with poor sleep habits who develop mental problems later in life weren't just BORN poor sleepers, because they were BORN with a chemical imbalance/brain malfunction that caused BOTH problems? And how does he know that some parents who co-sleep for an extended time aren't doing in IN RESPONSE to their child's inborn needs? I'm just sayin' . . .

My son has been a terrible sleeper since birth, mo matter whether he was in the crib, in the bassinet, or in our bed. We tried CIO, more than once, at various ages, because we were exhausted and desperate, and it didn't work. He would just cry longer and longer, and harder and harder, and grow more and more awake as time went on. When he was younger, there were nights when he refused to sleep and cried for hours, even when he was in the bed with us.

Now I know my son has a neurological problem. Did I cause this problem by rocking him to sleep, by responding to his cries in the night, or by occasionally allowing him in my own bed? No. Those actions on my part were a response to his innate nature. He was born a poor sleeper. The tactics that work with other kids wouldn't work with him.

I am mad, mad, mad at this book for making you feel guiltier than you ALREADY DID. You are a great mom. Thalia will be fine. Whether CIO works (and I hope it does, and if it does, congratulations), or she sleeps in your bed until she's five; either way, she'll be fine. Sheesh. Stupid parenting books.

7/2/06, 6:34 PM  
Blogger Rock the Cradle said...

Weissbluth, huh? I'll try to warn others away.

You'll get no criticism from me, girlfriend.

I had a collicky baby for the first 5 (yes FIVE) months. So damn if I don't know a LOT about so called "advice" to stop my Impling from screaming up a lung. And a whole lot about guilt.

She sleeps fine now. After six months, when problems arose, we set the timer a la Ferber (save the criticisms, the man is a good doctor, and more than one of my mom friends here has been to see him and he spent over an hour an a half with each of them, problem solving and soothing)for 5 minutes, went in, "soothed" but didn't pick up, left after a couple minutes, set the timer for 10 minutes, waited, etc. etc. etc.

All I can tell you is that it DOES get better. It takes time to develop new associations with sleep. Be consistent. Buy heavy duty ear plugs, (these are an ABSOLUTE necessity) and give yourself a hug. You're doing the right thing, and I for one take my hat off to you.

Hang in there. Thalia will learn to sleep.

7/2/06, 7:15 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Did you take a picture of it? That is the kind of parent I am. See your kid in a perilous or uncomfortable situation, I don't remedy it - I photograph it!

Hang in there, it gets better. My kids both cried it out and they don't hate me too much. 'Cept when I don't give out cake for lunch. 'Cause I'm mean like that.

7/2/06, 7:50 PM  
Blogger Blog Antagonist said...

The way I look at it, is that somewhere, somehow, someday, we are destined to do irreparable harm to our children. Fuck them up beyond all repair.

I mean, we're poisoning them with sugar, preservatives, formula, vaccines, microwaves, and pesticides; creating psychopaths and emotional cripples with corporal punishment, crying it out, working outside of the home and lying about Santa Clause et. al; and rotting their brains with too much televion, too many video games and too few educational toys.

SO...

We might as well make choices that makes things a little easier on ourselves so long as those choices don't result in a visit by DCFS.

There will always be some doomsayer negating your choices and undermining your confidence. But you know what's best for your family. Do it without apology and screw what everyone else says.

You will not scar your child for life by letting her CIO, no matter how detractors want to spin it. And you WILL all be the better for it.

Been there. Sleep is good.

7/2/06, 8:06 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

Here's some recommendations from someone who went through it and has come out the other side (like it or lump it):

1. Send Nate to the store for some good wine. Don't get the cheap stuff. He knows what to get.

2. The one not putting Thalia down pours the wine into BIG glasses.

3. When she is in her crib and you feel comfortable leaving sit together somewhere in the house so you're close enough to hear her but not close enough to dash into the bedroom before the other can stop you.

4. Drink.

5. Repeat for a week (I hope it only takes a week)while reminding yourselves that you're not doing a bad thing.

6. When she's finally sleeping well toast each other for a job well done and start enjoying your marriage and parenthood again.

Modify this as needed (I don't recommend drinking heavily - keep away from the scotch and whiskey. Whooo boy.)

7/2/06, 8:46 PM  
Blogger Izzie said...

I know I'm repeating what everyone else has said, but it's true.

It sucks, but it does get better. Hang in there.

7/2/06, 9:20 PM  
Anonymous wolfbaby said...

It's really hard but you'll make it... It's heartrending i stood just outside my daughters door... peaking round the corner till she got quiet...

7/2/06, 9:47 PM  
Blogger Mega Mom said...

It took me until 14 months. Weissbluth was my savior and now I have 3 (count 'em 3) boys that sleep through the night EVERY night. They are a lovely joy to be around and never give me a moment's trouble (haha, but they are lovely sleepers and I swear it makes a difference to everyone).

7/2/06, 10:01 PM  
Blogger Mama Pajama said...

Wait...you normally blog sans drinking? Novel idea.

Sorry, just trying to (lamely) lighten the mood at your house, because everyone else is right. You needed to do this. It will get better (sooner than you believe). And by this time next week, you'll be snuggling with Nate alone in your bed listening to the blissful sound of nothing at all.

7/2/06, 10:34 PM  
Blogger Veronica Mitchell said...

Unless you deliberately dropped Thalia on her head repeatedly, or decided to share with her your love of heroine, you have not ruined her for all future health and happiness. Whatever she might have learned by sleeping on her own when she was 6 months old, she will still learn at one year. You are making a sound choice for good reasons, and it will work out eventually. Hopefully before your head explodes, but if not, we will read with rapt attention the bloggings of the amazing headless mother.

7/2/06, 11:07 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

My guess is that the 58 posts before mine all offer you very good advice and so I am just offering my support and well, a little chuckle at the mental image of your daughter asleep standing up...

Good luck... I swear, it really does end!

7/3/06, 12:53 AM  
Anonymous Kristina said...

I'm sorry that you had such a hard time. But, I'm happy that CIO worked for you and that she finally fell asleep even if it was standing up. Mya co-sleeps but i have been putting her in her crib/pack-n-play twice a week so she gets used to it. We are moving tomorrow and she will have her own room and I jope that she will sleep there some nights. DO you think splitting the time between my bed and her crib will work?

7/3/06, 1:11 AM  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

My children are unfortunately like me. We have to learn things the hard way; and it always gets worse before it gets better. Of course, you're doing the right thing. It's nightmarish where you are right now, I remember it all too well, but better a short, sweaty nightmare now than months and even years of low-level unease and unsettled sleep. In the case oflearning sleep acute is better than chronic. It has to be.

It's hellish, but keep going with it and one night there'll be ... peace! For you, Nate and Thalia. Huzzah! If you crumble now, it'll all be for naught. Just a...few...more...nights, gal. You can do it - think of the prize! Sweet, sweeter, sweetest sleep! Of course, it took me 4 shots at it before I remembered not to crumble. But, hey - learn from MY mistake so's you can get the job done more qhickly.

Best of luck.

7/3/06, 2:46 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

It sucks but it is so worth it, for the whole family. We did the co-sleeping for a long time. My mother still makes comments on how it was hard to get him to sleep through the night because we co-slept but I know that's a load of bull. The co-sleeping worked a long time and then it didn't anymore, so we did the crib, with some CIO, which by the way got a lot easier after the first night.

Good luck to you.

7/3/06, 3:45 AM  
Blogger the mad momma said...

hey!
mine is 13 months and still not sleeping through the night... we live in india and in this heat, ours is the only room we can afford to air condition.. so right now i have taken the cowards way out and we keep his crib in our room...
he does have good nights and bad nights but i am aware that i should soon start leaving him to his own devices in his room... yeah.. maybe once winter starts !!!

7/3/06, 5:01 AM  
Blogger movin'mom said...

I am impressed that you waited 57 minutes to check on her the first time!

If that doesn't scream responsible parent all over the place I don't know what does.
Here's the clencher....there will be the night that you miss her in your bed so stay strong
count to ten and always remember the 57 minute moment so that you never have to do it again.
Even if you are on the road!

I can see you reasoning it when your out in LA!

The whole herpes thing cracked me up!

7/3/06, 9:35 AM  
Blogger K. said...

Aww... poor baby and poor mommy!! Sleep issues are tough, and the whole CIO thing is a touchy topic. As mommies, we just want to do what is right for our children. Period.

I have not yet been able to get Bean to fall asleep on his own or in his crib. After almost a year of this I am thinking it is time for a change. I just don't have the guts. Heaven help us all. :)

7/3/06, 9:51 AM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

whoah! looks like i am back in the land of internet just in time!

i can also promise you that IT WILL GET BETTER and you will be so relieved you did it, you just need to stick with it. And all that shit about A.D.D. or whatever, just look at it as fodder to remind yourself that your girl needs her sleep AND SO DO YOU!!! I have to say my copy of Weissbluth was completely frayed at the edges by the time we were done, as I gripped onto it to remind me that I was doing the right fucking thing. look, there's SCIENCE, and STUDIES... And lord, I am SO fucking tired. ANd so is my kid, but he REFUSES TO SLEEP!!!

Jack cried for two hours one night, and it really took about a month before there was no crying at all. But I *will* say that the marathon sessions did not last very long--but they will return if you are not consistent (fuck, I hate giving militant parenting advice, so feel free to hate me). But like I said before--it transformed things for us. He became happier, and we became WAY more functional as a family.

So far, there are no signs that my son has felt abandoned or "learned helplessness" (thanks for that one Sears) and I can put him to bed *awake* and he smiles happily and kisses me goodnight. And then falls asleep on his own.

SO! the outcomes will be worth it. and in the meantime drink it up, blog it up, just hang in there.

Those who have gone before you salute you... (and give you big virtual cuddles and shots of tequila)

7/3/06, 12:24 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

I got a little squeeze around my heart at the mental image of her standing up asleep... goes to show that even in the hardest parts of raising these little people, there are compensatory moments like that.
You done good, mom. You done good.
((((Liz))))

7/3/06, 12:50 PM  
Blogger Stephanie A. said...

Consider my shit officially cracked up at the Aileen Wuornos bit.

And sleeping standing up? That's so sweet I wish you had photographed it.

I'm sure it was tough to sit through all of that, so big hugs to you!

7/3/06, 1:14 PM  
Blogger NursePam said...

Awwww! Bless your hearts. All 3 of you. My foster daughter was good at the bed time tantrums which rose to the level of nightmarish because she had a trach and could pop it out with a bit of effort.

Most of us get into those sort of bad habits because it's the thing to do at the moment and later on we're stuck. It doesn't make you a bad mom. You're going to be just fine. And so will Thalia and your marriage.

7/3/06, 1:33 PM  
Blogger pixie sticks said...

I used to have to set the kitchen timer. I would swear up and down that the monster, I mean baby, upstairs had been shrieking for an hour and in reality it'd been like 10 minutes. It'll be worth it when you can sleep for a few hours without baby feet in your face. I know it seems mean, but it works.

7/3/06, 1:39 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

I absolutely HATE commenting without reading all the comments before me, therefore I should NOT have stopped by here to read right before leaving to pick up children. But what's done is done, so now I have to drop off a comment (probably repeated many times before me already) then leave -- I feel for you, all the way down in my toes!! And hang in there!! And know that everything will be okay, despite what Weissbluth would have you believe!! I'll quit screaming now. That's the absolute last thing you need to hear.

7/3/06, 5:44 PM  
Blogger MrsFortune said...

Oh thank you for this post. I have been feeling like bad mother of the century after reading that weissbluth book and realizing that I'm doing everything almost completely opposite of what he says. Sigh of relief. 57 minutes she cried? You are superwoman, congratulations. I salute you.

7/3/06, 6:56 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I couldn't have stuck that out as long as you did. YOU ROCK MOM!

7/3/06, 7:21 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I just wanna say, that night three may be torture. It was here. Night two was really good, night three, hell. Night four, done! She is now 2.5 and puts herself to sleep everynight. We do hugs and kisses and she talks herself to sleep. It's all good! You will be fine!

7/3/06, 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

I just wanted to say hang in there. My second daughter, 15 months, is a great "self-soother" and has been from day one. From the beginning I wasn't afraid or guilt ridden to let her fuss a bit in her crib. We moved her to her crib at 5 weeks. Now my oldest? I typically lie in bed with her a good HOUR every night trying to get her to go to sleep. And she's 4. Way too old to need so much coddling at bedtime but I have given in to her too many times. This will soon be but a memory, as my mama says. Hugs. (and more wine!)

7/3/06, 10:07 PM  
Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

You're doing great.

The sleeping challenges - they drag on. And on. And on. I know because I remember putting my own parents through hell (which means I was old enough to remember it, which means it dragged on and on and on).

And I'm perfectly normal. Except for my cocktail of uppers and downers and mood-levelers. And that persistent eye twitch.

Seriously. Go have another drink. You're doing great.

7/3/06, 10:45 PM  
Blogger metro mama said...

Hello,

I just found your blog.

This really reasonated with me. I've been there.

Put those books away and have another glass of wine. I'll join you.

7/4/06, 6:21 PM  
Blogger Amy Jo said...

I say a pat on the back for you. The crying is so hard to endure, but after reading the same book, we got our tot on the ball, sleep-wise. He's been great ever since. Keep your resolve. You'll be glad you did after a few days.

7/4/06, 7:24 PM  
Blogger Mom2fur said...

Metro Mama is right...put those books away. NO...THROW THEM AWAY! You do what is right for your family and ignore those so-called 'experts.' No one is an expert about your own kid but you!
And don't worry...it takes a lot more than a few hours of crying to make an Aileen Wurnose (sp?). However, for you own personal sanity, maybe you should just trust your basic instincts! (And Weissbluth sounds like a jerk. I'd like to see how his/her kids turned out.)

7/6/06, 10:27 AM  
Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

I hope that by now it's all over and Thalia is sleeping through the night.

Now that you've internalized all the Weissbluth guilt and gone that route, just make sure you don't pick up a Dr. Sears book and learn how a night of crying has assured her a life of serial crime and inability to love or bond with humans in any meaningful way ever again. ;)

7/8/06, 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Kym said...

Drinking and blogging while your tiny one sobs in lonely agony for an hour? There is nothing natural or necessary about it, don't let any "experts" try to tell you otherwise...they won't be the ones to suffer the longterm consequences. There are other ways to help your little daughter learn to sleep, without abandoning her, mama. Try perusing any William Sears book or his website www.askdrsears.com , instead, please - I promise you'll be so glad you did. :)

7/21/06, 11:08 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

With all due respect Kym, if you're from a Christian attachment parenting group in the cult of Sears, you've found yourself at the wrong blog.

And considering the fact that after basically two nights of crying, my daughter now sleeps through the night, naps twice daily, and goes through each day happier and more energized than I've ever seen her--well, sign me up for more of that drunken abandonment, baby.

Anything for the kid.

7/21/06, 12:06 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Hugs! Sleeping is a hard thing.

I'm very glad that none of my 4 kids needed to "cry it out." They all had their own ways of falling asleep...but not extended periods of crying.

Not to say that we didn't have any crying. My second daughter I think might be worthwhile to mention to you. She just doesn't go to bed at the "correct a la Weissenbluth" (I did read his book) time. She is like my husband--a second-shift time clock.

But even at that, when she was really little we had to "force" her to sleep. Myself of my husband would hold her still, and she would cry for about 5 minutes, then she would fall asleep. We did this from when she was about 12 months old until she was about 18 months old. She just wouldn't be *still* and allow herself to fall asleep unless we forced her to be still--leaving her in her bed just simply would not have work, she would roam around until she was definitely over tired.

Now that she is 6, she still falls asleep late...though for a few years she has been content to just lay in bed for an hour or two being quiet but awake. Shrug...can't force her to sleep short of drugging her. Anyway, I'm assuming that this coming fall when she starts 1st grade and has to get up in the morning she will start falling asleep earlier.

I've found the book "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley to be really valuable. She has lots of different suggestions for ways to get your child to sleep, without laying guilt trips.

Hugs again!

Jenn

7/22/06, 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to believe that some babies just cannot be ferberized! Mine just cried for 39 minutes and when he finally passed out, I heard him doing that little "hiccup" type thing every few seconds, which gave me even more guilt. This more than sucks, it's pure torture for both of us and not even sure it's worth it.

He woke up 30 minutes into that nap and I rocked him and put him in my bed. Now I just have to hope he doesn't fall out of it before I realize he's awake. I'll just sit in there till he wakes, I suppose. That's my whole reason for even trying this crap...maybe we'll just disassmeble our bed and put the mattress on the floor - problem solved!!

Good luck to the rest of you...this "ain't" for me!

3/21/11, 1:07 PM  

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