As a society I believe we make children grow up too quickly; for instance, babies and young children sleeping through the night. What a completely laughable idea; however, there are some unicorn babies out there that from the start are great sleepers but most aren’t like that. Developmentally they will get there in their own time, which could be several months or it could be several years, most parents don’t like to hear that. People have jobs that they need to be well rested for, or have other children to look after the next day, I get it believe me.
With my first child she would wake up every 1-2 hours, for months, and it was intense. We ended up sleep training her at 10 months using the CIO method; I hated it with a fiery passion. Doing this training method unleashed some primal part of me and it felt like a form of torture; I told my husband later on it made me want to punch him in the face. I had tried every other method I could think of first before resorting to it. I absolutely cannot stand hearing my children cry, it breaks something in me. You would think that feeling that way I would listen to my body and go get her but when you are so sleep deprived and literally everyone tells you that it works and is basically shoving down your first time parent throats, you listen, even if it feels wrong.
It worked for a while, until it didn’t. Getting another tooth, baby is sick, someone else puts her to bed, whatever the case maybe to throw off a child’s sleep it would happen and then you had to start sleep training all over again. Then I got pregnant with my second child, did a lot more research, and started listening to my instincts. Now he is 14 months old and is still nursed to sleep, and he wakes 0-3 times a night on average. Most of the time it’s a quick diaper change, some more boob and he is right back out no problem. He’s not ready to be weaned yet; I know that and have no problem with it, I am using his cues to tell me what he needs. If I knew that these crazy sleep stages come and go depending on the child’s milestones and development I don’t think I would have used the CIO method, I think I would have tried to push through. I know there are families out there that use this method and swear by it, I won’t judge you- you do you and what works for your family, it just happens that this method isn’t one for me. Sure sometimes I get frustrated when it comes to bed time, but no one ever said being a parent was easy now did they? My now 3 year old is crap when it comes to going to sleep; I mean it can take hours of fighting most nights. You want to know what it’s about? Let me tell you a little story…
Two nights ago I was rocking her to bed, we like to tell each other about our days and sing songs together. I tell her how many songs I will give her then she can play with a few toys while I feed her brother and put him to bed, I tell her when I finish I will return. She loses her mind, starts to scream and cry and begs me to stay. When I get her calm I ask her what’s wrong. She places her arms around my neck and whispers in my ear, “I need you”. All the impatience and frustration I was feeling vanished in that instant. She needs me. My child is having a hard time going to bed at night because she needs me.
Before her brother was born we had hit this great swing of easy sleep. Everything was easy; she went down great and stayed down till morning. After her brother was born it all went to hell. Having someone new come in one day and take all the attention away has been a big change for someone so young, then add in having to pay attention to my school work a lot right now; she’s not getting the attention from me that she needs so she is acting out so that I will spend time, cuddle, and have my undivided attention. I get as much school work done as possible during nap time but sometimes that flows over into the time that the babies are up in the evening. Still, even if I’m not doing school work it’s difficult to get one on one time with her. Thankfully this weekend Little Miss and I are having a fun mommy/daughter day at the water park. She has me all to herself and we will be doing every ride she wants. I’m hoping as the kids get older it will get easier but until then I’m going to do my best to give my kids the mother they need and deserve.