Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cry It Out

While I've mentioned the baby's sleep problems before, and that he has to be rocked or cuddled or nursed to sleep and can't self soothe, I don't think I've gone into the fact that he wants physical contact pretty much at all times-except, of course, when he wants to be by himself. Which is sometimes convenient, and sometimes not. Mostly, he's clingy when he's tired, but sometimes, he just wants some attention RIGHT NOW dammit, and you'd better pick him up and cuddle him, OR ELSE.

This weekend we decided it was time to finally start fixing up some of the things on the house that we've talked about for months. We bought it for a pretty good price in a middle class neighborhood, mostly because the thing was practically in shambles. We fixed up a lot of the inside, but the outside still looks like the crummy asshole-owned house it was before we got a hold of it. So we decided to start with something easy, and set about to paint the garage door and front door.

At first, the baby was in his walker outside with us, and was pretty content. He loves being outside, and entertained himself for awhile. Then he decided he needed someone to pay attention to him.

Baby: *whiney noises*
Us: Look, Mommy and Daddy are painting!
Baby: *more whiney* wahhh...?
Us: Oh, don't cry, look, we're right here! Doesn't the garage door look...
Me: I'll get him.
Husband: No! We're almost done! He just needs to wait. He's fine. He just wants attention. He doesn't NEED it.
Me: But the neighbors are going to think we're bad parents!

So my husband takes the baby into the house for awhile. The next thing I know, he's got the front door open so we can look in, and the baby is in his portable play pen with lots of toys. Screaming.

I agreed that he needed to learn that his playpen is fun, he can have fun on his own without us, and we needed to finish the damn painting. So we let him cry.

For the first five minutes or so, it was awful. He screamed and got himself REALLY worked up. The next five minutes weren't as bad, but were still heartbreaking. He still cried, just less hysterically. I did notice one thing though-if you looked at him, he turned on the waterworks big time. As long as we weren't paying him any attention, he just whimpered.

Suddenly, the crying stopped. I carefully peered over there to make sure he was alive. He was PLAYING WITH HIS TOYS! My proudest moment as a parent. He was calm and happy most of the rest of the time, and we even got to paint the front door as well.

I can't believe I had the balls to try a "cry it out" approach. And it turned out so well! Now if only I can apply this to sleeping at night...that kid is constantly kicking me in bed.


At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Dr. Mike said...

You did the right thing...

I have a series of articles going up this week about this on my blog. The series is called "How Much Sleep Do Children Need?" If you have time, stop on by and leave some notes about your experiences.


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