Monday, May 11, 2009

The princess and the car seat

To say last night did not go well is an understatement. Getting Fiona to sleep all night in her crib instead of her car seat was the goal. Miss Fiona is capable of sleeping six to eight hours in a row. Apparently, that's only under certain conditions. Last night, she slept about an hour in her crib. The rest of the time, when she wasn't howling, she slept with me. We probably should have started with a more realistic goal.

I hate this part. I really do. No matter how much I think I've learned, I still end up forcing unrealistic expectations on my kids before wising up for the umpteenth time. As "granola" as I am, the pediatric voice of doom still works its way in. It tells me to not do anything at bedtime that I'm not willing to continue forever. The voice of doom doesn't give children enough credit. I know better - kids are more flexible than adults in many ways. To believe that I have only to remember the number of times I thought I had my son's preferences figured out.

With Danny, we started him on a routine shortly before I went back to work to make things easier on Jim, who would be with him at night and who gets up around 4:30 every day. Danny did really well with it. Jim and I could expect time alone together before bedtime most nights that I was home. Danny slept in his crib until the first night feeding then he was with us. I never feared that he would be in our bed forever. Giving a child what he clearly needs, emotionally or otherwise, will help him outgrow the need for it faster, I've found. Danny stopped cosleeping around 11 months and has never asked to come sleep with us, even when he wakes up crying in the night. I do love cosleeping with my babies and she's no different. This time, though, it's much harder to get comfortable with the baby. Maybe I'm just getting old or the last pregnancy was harder on my body, but I wake up with sore hips every morning from sleeping around her.

Now that I'm home full time, the boundaries are blurred. I have no solid reason to get her to sleep in her crib other than my own comfort and desire to be alone for at least part of the night. (And, yes, I know that's an important need. But my needs always seem to be met eventually if I just relax and do what needs to be done for my kids. That doesn't make me a martyr.) It seems that the only reason sleep training is so popular is because it serves the needs of two income families who have to adhere to stricter schedules and have a limited window of time for sleep. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm finding that because I'm home we can take our time, there's nothing we HAVE to do.

Right now, Fiona is rolling around on her blanket and squealing at me. Last night is passed from her mind. She likely doesn't remember crying in her crib for the 15 or so minutes that seemed like an eternity. Some would use that as an excuse to continue allowing a child to cry until they fall asleep.

Not me. I'll just pop an herbal sleep remedy and try my best to sleep around the baby tonight. That should make for a better morning tomorrow for all of us.

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