Saturday, August 1, 2015

But I Read It In a Book

Like many parents back in the day, I read the books What to Expect When You're Expecting and What to Expect The First Year. Reading these was a no-brainer. After all, they were "America's Bestselling Parenting Series."

When Jordan was six months old, I read that it was time to have her put herself to sleep. The official term was "self soothe". I figured how hard could this be? Everyone falls asleep.

I wish I would have kept the book. It said something to the effect that you should lie your baby down, tell her good night, tell her that you love her, and walk out. If your baby begins to cry, you wait it out for a given number of minutes, in the hopes that she will self sooth. I should have known after reading the sentence "If your baby begins to cry" that we were in trouble. Jordan sure did begin to cry. And she continued to cry for a very long time. So I would go in and reassure her that everything was fine and that it was time for sleep, and leave the room again. And again. And again. For hours.

It was explained this way: each night that you leave your baby alone, the amount of time that it takes for her to fall asleep will diminish. It also said that this whole procedure (for lack of a better word) will probably take about a week. After that week, Jordan should have been able to put herself to sleep calmly and without crying. But she couldn't. And she didn't. We worked on this for over a month. There were a lot of nights, and a lot of agony-filled nighttime hours, in that month.

The book made it sound so easy. In our case, it was not. The sound of your baby screaming, and I mean a heart wrenching, at the top of her lungs, scream... it was excruciatingly painful, like a pain beyond belief. And after she finally fell asleep, because she was so worked up, and sobbing so hard, her little body and chest would continue to sob and twitch . While she was sleeping. I asked myself why we were doing this. We were the ones making her hurt and suffer. Her mom and dad. Could this really have been what was best for our child?

Part of the problem was once I started this whole self soothing plan, I thought that it had to be completed. As I said before, I am a list person, very goal oriented. I figured that going in and picking her up while she was crying, well that would only reinforce the behavior. I guess I also thought that if I read it in a book, then it must be reliable, tried and true information. But behaviors and emotions are anything but predictable, and they are certainly not always easy to deal with.

I was definitely beginning to understand this much more clearly, after having Jordan.


No comments:

Post a Comment