WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO HARD?!!!! She screams and cries and pleas, for that broken bond between us. I wonder if sleep training does any psychological damage to a child…
MK and I decided that it’s time to “sleep train” Sugarplum. Number one, she needs that skill in daycare. They don’t have all the time in the world to rock her to sleep the way she’s used to at home. Number two, she is over six-month-old now. Number three, Dr. W, once again, during Plum’s sixth month checkup told me that I’d better get on with this; like I was delaying my daughter’s development. She asked me how Sugarplum was sleeping. “Well, she has good days and she has bad days,” I muttered. “Oh?” she was all ears, “how often does she wake up?” Dr. W wanted a definite number. “Well, sometimes once, or twice. But I could usually nurse her back to sleep in less than half an hour!” I defended ourselves. “THAT’S TERRIBLE!” Dr. W exclaimed. But who cares what Dr. W thinks. Most of all, it is because her daycare is “helping her to be more independent by allowing her to fall asleep by herself”, that we decided to revisit the sleep training issue this weekend.
We started with our bedtime routine: a nice soothing bath, a brief nursing session followed by gum cleaning and “Goodnight Moon”. Lights out, then her piercing cry. It took her almost an hour on Friday night to finally fall asleep. During that excruciating hour, she crawled and flipped herself back from front to back, which MK described as her “fight or flight response”, as if she wanted to crawl herself out of perceived danger. He was the one checking up on her regularly, as Sugarplum got even more upset that I didn’t pick her up. Saturday night took a little over 30 minutes.
Because I was not nursing her in the hour between six and eight, I spent the time making dinner, something I haven’t done much since the birth of our daughter. I really did miss making supper, and so I lived my culinary fantasy vicariously through Emeril, Rachael Ray, Barefoot Contessa, and the Iron Chef. Friday night I made shrimp with string beans with brown rice, and miso soup with tofu and corn. Saturday night I made angel hair pasta with clam and basil and a pot of chicken vegetable soup made from scratch with free range organic chicken. Tonight I made angel hair pasta with shrimp and basil.
Tonight I also made the mistake of thinking that I could take it. I went into the bedroom while Sugarplum was crying. I brought her some water, as I suspected she must be thirsty from all that crying. She drank from the bottle desperately, then looked me straight in the eye and started crying. She sounded so heart-broken, because she didn’t understand why I abandoned her all of a sudden. I tried to remain calm and cheerful, all the while stroking her hair, her arms, her chest softly. MK took me out of the room. As I sat down at dinner, I completely lost my appetite and cried with her. Now MK’s got two crying girls at his hands, no fun job for him I’m sure. I made the observation that animal mothers all have their youngs sleep with them and how come humans are the ones being so inhuman! MK replied, animals don’t have another room. I suppose he is right, along with the rest of the human world.
I really wish this process could be easier.