Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Big Sleep (Sleep Training)

Week 2 into sleep training, we were amazed at how well our son was sleeping. He was finally sleeping through the night. It's as if he would wake up, realize we weren't going to come to his aid and without hope of cuddling comfort and with no energy to expire, he would snuggle himself back into the sheets. There were a few nights when he cried out and we came in to change his diaper, but after following a strict rule to check, change if needed and offer water, we leave immediately. Hubby is now taking full control of night duty, as we are (sadly) weaning of nursing (and there's Baby No2's placenta building to work on during the night).

It hasn't been easy. It's viscerally painful to know that your child is crying and that they are crying because of a situation you placed them in. One major hurdle for parenting, at least for me, is applying the old adage that 'you have to be cruel to be kind' - for instance, with sleep training. While sleep training has made a huge positive impact on our lives, our son is learning a life skill - how to put himself to sleep and is patently sleeping better. We've had to make a lot of decisions in the past year that willingly caused our son pain for his greater good, including authorizing quite painful medical procedures. He has been catheterized multiple times and had to have an IV at 11 weeks, which involved excruciating trial and error. At this moment, we can't explain this to him (I still do, as I explain everything to him). Later, we may have to make decisions that we can explain to him, but that he may not understand or agree with. It's a difficult path, but one that is easier by going through it together. We stand strong in front of our son, but behind closed doors, we cry together.

There have been hiccups with sleep training. When hubby came late one night, my son thought he could turn me. When I was away, he performed a full show for his dad. When grandma came over, finally assured of success, he upped the production budget and exploded crescendo after crescendo, but to no avail (though I have my doubts if mum were left on her own without us). I am still amazed at how well developed our son's manipulative skills are. He is acutely aware of our weak points and is merciless in attacking them. It's a constant battle of wills and admittedly he wins more than a few, but with respect to his sleep, we are winning.


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