Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Self-soothing, loveys, and a side of guilt

Well, after almost 11 months of sleepless nights and a baby who wakes up 2 or 3 times a night, Randy and I decided to teach Dante how to self-soothe and put himself to bed. We watched a program on getting your child to sleep through the night and we decided that tonight was the night to set forth on this perilous adventure. Now, normally our nighttime routine consisted of dinner at 7:30, bath at 8:30, and then Daddy rocks Dante to sleep and then puts him in his crib, whereas Mr. Dante would wake up every 3 or 4 hours throughout the night. Randy was in charge of any fussing pre-midnight (as he has to get up at 5 am for work) and I would take over the night-shift, usually nursing Dante back to sleep in the wee hours of the am.

Tonight, though, we bit the bullet. After regular feeding and bath time, we put Dante to bed AWAKE and gave him his "lovey": a very soft stuffed dog that Randy bought after I gave birth; one of those really soft Gund kind that make you want to snuggle. Well, the second we left the room he began crying. Angry cries. Screaming cries. The cries that say "Why are you abandoning me mommy and daddy?!?!" It was so difficult for me not to run in there and just grab him and hold him and kiss him and tell him I was still here. Oh the pain I felt listening to it. I called my own mom and cried to her that I was a terrible mother for letting my lamb cry. My mom said to me, "Just go in after about 10 minutes, give him some water, tell him you love him, and give him his lovey. He won't hate you. You're not a horrible mother." Thanks mom, but tell me that when my son is not crying 10 feet away and I'm sitting on my ass watching Hell's Kitchen.

Randy and I lay in our bedroom, watching TV. Randy easing my tears and me fighting the urge to comfort my son. I know it's what we have to do. I know that. Doesn't mean I have to like it. We checked on him after 15 minutes or so and gave him water and settled him in with his lovey. He'd cry again and I'd bear it. Eventually his cries became quiet and we hoped he was asleep. WE'd check on him and he'd see us and cry again. This was awful.

Well, it's now been over and hour since we've tried this method. Dante is fussing a bit as I can hear him on the monitor, but he's becoming quieter and I can hear him cooing at the stuffed animal. He is so tired. I hope that he learns to sleep through the night. It will benefit all of us. Right now, my guilt and anxiety is eating away at my stomach. I just want to go in there and tell him it's ok but I know if I do, it will negate everything we're trying to accomplish.

He's quiet now. In a few minutes I'll see if he's asleep, kiss him if he is, and hope he still loves me in the morning.

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