May 09, 2006

OK, deep breathing isn't working, so I am thinking of moving on to wine, though it is only a little after 2:00 in the afternoon. What the hell? I don't work anymore.

I am sitting here listening, along with half the neighborhood, I'm sure, to Olivia wail and scream because I have put her in her crib and expect her to go to sleep. By herself. What the hell? Where's her glass of wine?

O. has never slept well. And I have never helped her learn. She was colicky when she was an infant and our mission was to get her to sleep, no matter what it took. And what it usually took was nursing or walking or rocking, or nursing and walking and rocking. As she got older, I continued to do those things, sometime six or seven times a night (or eight or ten, I lose count). She was hard to get to sleep and harder to keep asleep. I read and read about infant sleep and solicited a lot of advice, most of which I didn't like because it consisted of some form of "crying it out." The attachment parenting methods were basically what I was doing, but it wasn't helping her get enough unbroken sleep.

(One hour of crying so far, in case you are counting. I am.)

I have never liked the idea of leaving babies to cry it out. My whole purpose in life when O. was an infant was to keep her safe and healthy and make her feel secure. How could she possibly feel secure when I had seemingly disappeared, ceasing to respond to her cries? Falling Asleep: Sheer Exhaustion and Outright Desperation seemed a lesson best saved for college. But everyone agreed that Olivia was tired. She rubbed her eyes and yawned all day. She fussed and frustrated easily, but would not nap. And the nighttime routine, while allowing her a couple of hours of rest at a time, was wearing me down. So I tried to let her "cry it out." And she cried and so did I and so did my mom after we got into that one argument about it. We tried for days for hours at a time and she only fell asleep once. Once...on the first day, encouraging me to keep it up, but then it never worked again and everyone's nerves were shot. So we stopped.

We found other means that worked to some degree. My mom could wrestle her down to a nap and then sneak her onto the bed, something I could rarely do. Sometimes she slept in the car. I weaned her from nighttime feedings and that helped a little. Something would work for awhile and then quit, so we just adapted and went on. And I guess that is where we are again. While Marc was in New York and O. and I were at my mom's, she slept with me in a king size bed. Marc and I don't have a king size bed. We have a double and the three of us don't fit into it. No one is sleeping. And she is tired and twitchy and in a foul mood.

So, here we are. Everyone says she'll be better off. It will be harder on me than her. She won't remember it. Etc. Well, she's in her bed and she's screaming and it's been almost two hours. This better work or it's all been for nothing. Sleep, baby, sleep.



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