19 October 2009

Music to our ears.

I am firmly convinced that "tough love" is tougher on the parents than on the child. Case in point: Junior's bedtime.

When I worked day shift (Ah, the sun! That golden orb that warmed my days; how I remember you!), Himself was home to oversee the care and feeding of our boy. This was good, because it helped form the strong Daddy/Baby bond that exists today. There was one small hitch, however.

Junior was getting no naps. I would come home to find the little man running around the house, or jumping up and down in his crib. Himself would hasten to explain.

"He doesn't want to take a nap."

Well, duh, dear! You have the radio blaring and you run into his room at the drop of a dust bunny. Of course he doesn't want to take a nap. Being awake is far more interesting. You have to insist.

Alas for Himself and for Junior, insisting is not in Daddy's nature. He tried, though, however half-hearted his efforts may have been. He tried. Usually it fell to Mama to play the heavy upon her return from work.

"Junior! Kisses! Bed! Now!" A nap would usually follow, with grumbling from all parties. It wasn't long before The Change came. The Change was bad. The Change was noisy.

Junior decided that sleep was not for him and began screaming whenever he was placed in that horrible torture device called "the crib". The crib was evil and was to be avoided at all costs. He would simply scream until we picked him up. This pleased him somewhat, and we would be allowed to rock him until one in the morning. He would then consent to lie in the torture device, but only as long as we remained in the room and stared at him. Eventually Junior would give in to sleep and Himself and I would collapse in our own bed, there to sleep until the ungodly hour of six a.m. when Junior would announce his desire to eat crackers and pound on things. He was becoming surly and tantrum-prone.

This could not continue for long. Books were consulted for a remedy. Did you know that sleep is important? Wow. I should write a book, too. I can also state that sleep is important. This makes me an expert? Sheesh.

The book went on to say that we should a) Put Junior to bed early, and b) Let him skriek to his heart's content.


Put him to bed early so he can get UP even earlier? Let him scream and have the neighbors call the cops? This expert was obviously insane. Sure he had kids, but he didn't have OUR kid.

We reread the book and gauged the depth of our eye bags. What the hell. Let's try it.

7:00 p.m. Junior gets a bath, a story, and a cuddle.

7:30 p.m. Junior is put into the torture device and the door is closed.

7:30:01 p.m. Shrieks of outrage fill the house.

8:00 p.m. The screaming continues.

We notice the quality of the screams. It is not a "Why hast thou forsaken me?" kind of scream. It's more in the nature of, "Hey, you jerks! Get in here and pick me up!"

9:30 p.m. I leave for work. The screaming, while still going strong, now has lengthy pauses between blasts.

10:30 p.m. Report from Himself: "He passed out on the crib rail! I laid him down and he popped back up and started yelling again."

11:30 p.m. Junior sleeps.

Four hours of screaming, one exhausted baby, and two parents who feel like absolute dirt. We are obviously horrible parents. We vow to burn the awful book that made us do such a thing.

9:30 a.m. Junior awakes, giggling and cooing; all smiles for his parents who come creeping cautiously into his room. Whoa, dude!

From that moment on, sleep has been easy. We have never again had to let him "cry it out". We ask if he's sleepy and get the "sleep" sign in return as Junior heads for his room. Change into jammies, rock and cuddle in Mama's big chair, then up go the arms as Junior asks to go to bed. A few minutes of quiet play and he's out.


After several days of the new sleep regimen, our little boy was back to his rested, cheerful self. He was on his best behavior when we saw "Unlce Tommy" in concert last weekend, laughing and babbling...

Two kinds of music to our ears that night...


Kitten With a Whiplash said...

Sometimes the magic just happens, and ain't that great?

PS: I'd rather read your blog than that "expert's" book anyday!

Lourie said...

I am glad it worked for you. Kids need their bed and the need to be there early. It's not just for them, it is for you too. I need my down time! haha.

Dianne said...

You are clearly a genius, or have some magic tricks up your sleeve!

KFG said...

Wow. 4 hours. That kid has some stamina!

Check out the matching "Tommy Blue-Eyes!"

Viola said...

Ah..I had to read this one to hubby and we laughed (sorry) and remembered those days. Now I’m in bed before my big kids even think of retreating to their rooms.

Excellent post!