Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sophie's Gettin' a New Crib

No, not the kind you sleep in. We're talking the MTV variety. That is, a house. Yes, Sophia will finally have her own room and mommy will have some peace. I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about no longer "rooming in" with my girl. I will miss the intimacy of sleeping side-by-side, the ability to look over and see her face placid with slumber, feeling the nocturnal incredulity that yes, she is here, she is real, she is mine. But I will not miss the noxious routine we had adopted.

This is how it went: At first, she was sleeping for five or six hours when we put her down. Then, she would wake every 3-4 hours after that until morning. She would cry. I would wait five minutes to see if she really meant it. She did. I'd get up, in a daze, and go through the motions of feeding her, and we'd both go back to sleep. But pretty soon she realized that if she woke and cried in the single-digit hours of the morning, I was going to feed her, no questions asked. If I didn't, she would fuss and fuss and we both would get no sleep. That's the thing about kids. They have more stamina than we do. Sophie began waking every two hours, then every hour. I'd feed her, going against everything I know to be true. Sated and soothed, she'd drop off, and I'd lie there, staring at the ceiling, wide awake, knowing the next feeding was not far away.

I resisted letting her cry it out. After all, Dr. Sears, that bastard, wrote that babies who cry it out lose trust in their mothers. If I didn't soothe her, she'd form an insecure attachment and then she'd never get into Harvard, or have a healthy relationship, or listen to her mother.

I shared my frustration with some other mothers. One I spoke to had just let her son cry it out. He looked happy. She looked well-rested. I was at my breaking point, and decided to give it a try. That night, I put Sophie in her pj's, read her"Goodnight Moon," gave her a massage, sang taps, and put her to bed. Kevin and I had a lovely dinner on the terrace while Sophie cried for 10 minutes and fell asleep. That was it. None of the hour long soothing sessions where Kevin and I would take turns letting her suck our finger until she'd finally stop whimpering and pass out from exhaustion. Yes she wakes up a couple times during the night, but five minutes later she's back asleep. Or if she is genuinely hungry, I feed her, but then she doesn't wake again until morning. Yes, I'm sleeping on the couch. But I'm sleeping!

Needless to say, I will be happy to have my own room again.

No comments: