Monday, June 17, 2013

How I am ruining my child's sleep habits in one easy step.

If you read any of the children's sleep literature - no matter who you listen to - whether you believe in crying it out (CIO - I'm learning the mom short hand), graduated extinction (CIO in degrees), co-sleeping, attachment whatever, or letting your child sleep on your chest until they go off to college - all the books do agree on one thing: If you don't do what they say your child will most certainly be severely damaged for the rest of their life.

No biggie you jerk parent who didn't get them proper sleep! They will have weird habits, they will never sleep without you or whatever sleep crutch you've given them, they will fail school and become a sad person who wanders around under overpasses buying drugs so they can finally (finally!) get some effing sleep.

What became obvious very quickly in sleep world is that you have to pick a theory and stick to your guns. Whoever picked the other side will think you are the worst mother in the history of mothers and will ponder calling child protective services.

I've decided to go with straight up CIO as outlined in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

Pause for hatred (even though the title says: "Happy Child!")

Deep breath and resume.

Lucky for me Lil Drawler is too young by a couple of weeks to implement CIO but I am supposed to be getting her used to a bedtime routine and a more consistant sleep schedule. But the most important thing I'm supposed to be doing is moving her gradually away from sleeping in her swing into a consistant and still sleeping environment like a crib. And here is the problem. She LOVES sleeping in her swing. And sometimes you don't feel like singing one more round of Frere Jacques or Jesus Loves Me (I'll discuss religion later, right now I just know she likes the tune) while she falls asleep in your arms then squirms wide awake and screams in what appears to be severe emotional pain the minute she hits the crib.

But here is my little secret - I'm not pushing the crib too hard because if you've ever spent more than $100 on a piece of equipment that will only be used for 3 months you (or at least me) wants to squeeze every last drop of use out of said equipment. I have two things I'm having a hard time letting go: her rock  n' play (her baby bassinett - $70) and her swing ($110). The rock n' play's days are definitely numbered. She is simply getting too big for it. Her feet practically dangle over the side now. And the puppy fur is making her sweaty. But she still prefers it to her crib. (Secret smile)

The big 'ole swing on the other hand still provides a lot of comfort to both her and me. She gets to fall asleep, I get to feel like I'm an awesome mom for buying such a loved piece of equipment. Surely she will thank me in her valedictory speech.

Or if I never get her to sleep in her crib maybe you will find us both wandering under the overpass, eyes glazed over, humming Jesus Loves Me.

I'll be the one clutching the sheet of paper that shows how much each use of the swing cost and how much value I got out of it.

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