Monday, June 23, 2008

A Community of Moms

First of all, thank you all for such detailed, informative thoughts and anecdotes. This is exactly why I enjoy blogging so much. I wrote the last post not out of desperation, but out of a need to know other stories. If my friends were all at this same point in their lives, I'd be hearing these things over coffee (or if I was hostessing the play group, diet coke and brownies). Every one of your comments had value to me, so thank you. Here are a few of my thoughts on my own questions and your responses.

First, the crying it out. We've adopted something of a "CIO light." We have a nighttime routine, we know Landon is tired, we know he wants to get to sleep- but because we never let him fall asleep on his own, he now has a really hard time getting over that hurdle. When you're under investigation for child abuse and you have someone "supervising" you at all times, letting your child cry for more than 5 seconds just isn't possible. So we rocked and fed and bounced until he was a dead weight in our arms, right at the time (I believe) we should have been letting him at least try to fall asleep on his own. Our pediatrician told me at our last appointment to just let him cry - the first night would be hell, but (these are her words) just put a towel under the door if you have to so you can sleep and won't go in. He will be fine and things will be better. My own thoughts are that crying it out is fine and good - as long as it's just crying. Sometimes he gets to a point where he sounds hysterical, then we go in, pick him up, calm him down, and then lay him back down. He'll still cry, but it's just normal "you're not doing what I want" crying. If he escalates again, we immediately calm him down. It's not rocking to sleep, it's just keeping him in normal crying mode. This happened twice Saturday night. Last night he just did normal crying and it was only twenty minutes. JP went in twice to give him a little pat and let him know we were still there- both times Landon calmed immediately when he opened the door and then cried harder when he left, but we could tell it was just anger and not fear or hurt. Today he woke up at 6:15 super smiley and had a great morning. We just laid him down for his morning nap and he made two cries of protest and fell asleep. The napping is going really well - for the past three days he's fallen asleep within 3 minutes of being laid down. Nighttime is tougher, but I'm hoping it's on the path to getting easier for him (and us!). He hasn't had night awakenings for a while so I know things could be worse. One of the big motivators for us in finally working on his sleep is that JP was starting to have back problems from swaying and singing to him for so long, and I couldn't do it at all. I just knew we couldn't hold and rock a 2-year-old like that, something had to change!

I was surprised by how many people still co-sleep. Again I think this is something I'd know if more of my friends had kids. I'm glad that Landon seems okay sleeping in his crib (once he's asleep anyway) because I don't think co-sleeping would work for us. (And I say this as someone who tried on many, many 4 AM wake up calls to get him to fall asleep in bed with us, but mom and dad's presence meant it was party time and why would you sleep when you can try to stick your mom's nose in your mouth?) But I'm glad it never took. Our bed is our place- our sanctuary to talk and cuddle and reconnect in a way that we don't (can't) during the day when things are crazy. Our relationship was founded on late night, talking until 4 AM type conversations, and I would really, really miss that. And even though JP sometimes falls asleep while I'm talking, I know he would miss them too. We brought Landon into a happy marriage and if we've done one thing right so far as parents it's keeping that marriage just as happy and loving and affectionate as it was before he arrived. (Btw, I'm not saying a couple couldn't have that and co-sleep, just that we couldn't still have that and co-sleep. Blogs have definitely shown me that different things work for different people.)

As far as the bottle, I'm quite happy to know that most people don't give it up cold turkey at a year. I think as long as the sleeping is going well and we have some calm, we won't press that issue for a little while. Landon loves his sippy cup of water - loves it. So the other day I thought we'd try to put his formula in a cup at lunch time because what's the difference, really, and maybe he'd like it. But wow was he horrified at our little idea - he threw the cup on the ground in disgust, gave his dad the most offended look I've ever seen, and then refused to be held by him for the next five hours. I've never seen him hold a grudge like that. So yeah, we'll just wait on that a bit. I loved how someone quoted their pediatrician as saying no child has ever starved himself. He does eat something at every meal time and has snacks of fruit puffs and cheerios so I'm sure that's enough. I just think that if I was constantly in motion like he is I would need more than that, but then again I outweigh him by over 100 lbs.

I'll close with something my mom wrote in response to my post. I didn't know she still read my blog, but she always has something good to say:

"As far as figuring it all out, that NEVER happens. Parenting is all about second-guessing and feeling inadequate, but once you accept that, it does not seem as overwhelming! I always found that the people that were quickest to give advice were not the parents I admired most . . . any parent who acts superior is either putting up a front, or completely ignorant. That's why programs like MOPS, play groups, etc are so important . . . it's always nice to have the moral support of friends struggling through parenthood along with you and I know your blog helps with that too.

Hope tonight goes well . . . Grandpa always said the best thing about parenting babies is they don't know how it's supposed to be done, so you really can't do it wrong. :) Of course, the opposite is true with teenagers. :)"

This blog is my parenting forum and support group and these last 11 months would have been significantly harder without it. Thanks for that and I'll keep you posted as to our particular baby's response to our particular plan. Oh and there will be house pictures soon. Until then, here is a video of my little man at the pool yesterday when I took an irresponsibly wonderful study break:


  1. What a fun looking pool!! It sounds like you are on the right track with the sleep thing. I love your ped's comment about the towel. Hilarious. I heart playdates with brownies and Diet Coke.

  2. I have to say, we tried some modified CIO ourselves back in the day. And I'm not sure about Landon, but for my son Henry (16 months), it made things worse to have us go in, only prolonged the crying. Just a thought. Do you guys have a video montior? I don't, but I so wished that I did when we were doing CIO. Then, even if you knew he was crying like a crazy man, you could just look at the screen and know he was still ok, just really mad!

    We have the sleep thing down, but if ever you revisit Chicago, we could use Landon's help with the pool! Henry hates the water :-(

  3. I read through a lot of the comments and loved seeing all the little bits of advice from everyone. Hope some of them help.

    And I'm with you on co-sleeping. I'm a light sleeper and have a hard time sleeping if one if the kids is with us. Partly because Gavin sleeps like a tornado and uses my kidneys for kickboxing practice, partly because I'm afraid if Cooper woke up and I didn't, he'd fall out of our bed...but that's if he fell asleep in the first place! Must be the age because he's like Landon and would much rather pat mommy's face and check-out daddy's chest hair than sleep.

  4. Isn't it nice knowing you can just post on your blog for advice and answers magically appear from other moms? I love that too.

    I should have known better, though, than to write that comment about how easily K goes to bed at night. Can you say "hubris?" Tonight he put up a huge fight. But it was actually kind of sweet because he kept wanting me to pick him up and finally went to sleep after I stood there for ten minutes with my eyes closed, holding his hand (and feet, which he curled up so they would touch my hand too). We usually only go in to hand him his pacifier and say, "Good night," but tonight I guess he needed some extra Mommy time.

    I was surprised at how many people co-sleep with their older babies too. Like Landon, K sees the bed as a bouncy play mat, not a place to sleep. I haven't been able to get him to sleep in the bed since he was about two months old.

  5. I'm so glad everyone stepped up to give you some advice. Your Mom's advice sounds great. I just try to remember that every parent is different and it is our exclusive job to raise our kids. Who cares what others think?

    We co-slept until Pumpkinhead turned four and we, too, transitioned to cup slowly. We did bottles before bed and nap and sippy cup during the day and when out. He gave them up before he was two. FWIW, I'm more of the crunchy granola type. We do attachment parenting (child-guided).

  6. I understand the reluctance for crying it out with your situation! I was reluctant at first too, afraid she'd get so worked up she'd stop breathing. She did get really worked up the first time we did it, and she was gasping in between sobs she was crying so hard. But I was more comfortable doing it after I read Baby Wise, that there was an actual method to the whole thing. And she never stopped breathing. I "know" her lungs are fine, but still get a little paranoid sometimes!

    I can't do the co-sleeping thing either. I had to do it several nights out of necessity, but geez, my kid is horrible to sleep with. She snores, she snorts, she grunts, she kicks, and she smacks me in the face when she rolls over. It's like sleeping with a mini-size version of her father. :P

  7. You haven't mentioned it in a while, but of course Landon has "the belly" to draw on.

    Babies can survive for quite a long time on subcutaneous fat - it's a natural survival mechanism.

    It sounds like he likes to eat some foods, I'm sure he'll be fine as well as handsome!

    Loved the swimming and ball videos - you've got a baby sportsman (?Longhorn?) there!