Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Back To Square One

When Ada was about 4 months old, we let her "cry it out". The decision to go this route was easy. The week before we started found us with Ada wailing while we held her in our arms, for up to two hours, before she finally fell asleep. The idea of letting her cry for up to an hour while not in our arms? Sounded better than what we'd been doing. We had held her while she cried to the no longer soothing sounds of the kitchen exhaust fan, running water, a radio tuned to static.

All this crying was because my breasts had lost their powers. As colic-y as Ada had been in her first few months, we'd found some solace in the fact that a nice long nursing session before bed sent her off to dreamland, so long as I could quickly and quietly moved her from boob to bed. When this trick stopped working, we were all devastated. The aforementioned marathon crying-in-arms sessions ensued. So you can see why the decision to try cry it out was easy for us. After a few days in which she never cried more than 45 minutes, Ada fell asleep with ease. We were all thrilled, not least of all Ada.

In between naps, Ada ponders that eternal question: Snack or Toy?

That was months ago, you may say. Why are you bothering us with these details now? Well, over the 9 months since we let her first try the cry, we've slipped a bit. There were always reasons: she was sick; she was teething; we were staying in an unfamiliar place and she needed extra help getting to bed. She's noticed the slip, and taken full advantage. It may seem unfair to suggest that Ada is doing anything to prolong the night-time rituals, but now that she's talking and signing she makes it very clear that she wants to nurse longer. When I put her in her bed, she sits up, signs "more" and points at the rocking chair. And with the colds and teething, we've held her, rocked her, given her more milk, and generality done whatever we had to get her to fall asleep in our arms.

Now Ada is almost 13 months old. On Monday night we tried for 2 hours to get her to sleep. When we finally gave up and let her cry, she cried on and off for a half hour. That night we agreed to reinstate the policy that it is alright for our child to cry before bed. She may have heard us, because tonight I nursed her and then picked her up and placed her in bed. She turned over, mumbled something about how I didn't need to hang out, and was out.

The cheerio-fueled girl showing the skills that will one day serve her well on the basketball court.


  1. i read this, ironically, after a startling session of late-night crying (never before seen in this house). i think it's due to teething. i gave her tylenol, held her for a moment, turned on a light, and put her back in bed. and lo and behold IT WORKED! (so far). i'm headed to bed - i have the feeling i need to get it in where i can tonight. aughhhhhh!

  2. They always have something going on -- teething, cold, transition from vacation...

    We found when that was going on, we just did what we could and then readjusted her back when things were "normal" - Now that her last molars are cut - and all broken bones are healed :) -- I think we're ready to have the sleep thing settled ONCE and FOR ALL!

  3. The ladybug ball is fabulous.

    (also, woot! for sleep re-training)

  4. the ups and downs of sleep and falling asleep never seem to end in this house. the heat has been to blame for the past few days but even the past night or two that have been pleasant have found h chattering in his crib long after he should be asleep.

    super cute pics!

  5. I almost purchased that very ball for my kidlet (Spoiled Rotten in Sellwood was where I spotted it); it's a good one. v. bouncy and light.

    as for the sleep/crying/extended hell thing? yeah. right there with you. we had it all worked out many months ago, and now we seem to have re-achieved horror movie status regarding the length screaming bouts. sigh. we're gonna have to wait until this burgeoning tooth makes its full appearance before we can rework the routine, though, I think. gah.

    I'm glad you managed to get yourselves back there, though. yay for you and for sleep.


  6. Ada is way smart and oh so adorable. They have us all figured out before we even know what end is up.

    My babe is teething and has magically awoken every night right as I drift off to sleep. What kind of super power is that? I can hear her shout out "No sleep for you!"

  7. I feel like we go back to Square One every few weeks or so with teeth and the random cold and whatnot. Bed time gets easier but we still can't kick the ending up in our bed at 2am routine.

    We're going to have to end that soon, there's just not room for 4 in my bed. Sigh.

  8. That's happened to me a couple of times. They're frighteningly smart at this age, aren't they? All you have to do is firmly make up your mind and they sense the difference immediately.