So once upon a time there was an impossibly cute (MashaAllah) but horribly scheduled son of mine, whose unruly sleep habits have been the only (but rather large) down side to motherhood. He wakes every 40 minutes, night or day, to feed, and drives me rather batty with sleep deprivation.
Everyone and their mother tells me I need to let him cry it out. I know. I know, but it hurts my heart to hear him cry. Really, physically- I can’t explain how it feels to hear him sobbing away. Like how he is now. Sobbing. In the next room.
Last week, after many frustrating and futile attempts to put Khalid to sleep (punctuated by being hit in the face with his flailing arms and being savagely bitten with his pointy little teeth) I put him down and walked out the bedroom. I hadn’t been intending to let him cry it out, but ten minutes into it, I decided what the heck. Let’s go for it.
It took an hour, and I’m sure it was rougher on him than it was on me, but I’m not sure it was by much. In the end, it finally happened. Bebeface cried himself to sleep, and he slept for five hours straight.
Five hours, from a kid who’s never slept longer than 2 hours in his entire life.
Fastforward to this evening- HF left for a five-day business trip, and since he won’t be disturbed by Khalid’s ear-shattering (and heart-breaking) wails, I’ve decided that this is the week we’re gonna cry it out.
It’s 11:24 right now, and Khalid has been crying since 11:15. I know he’s exhausted, I left him in the bed with a full stomach, rubbing his eyes and pulling his ears out of exhaustion, but the second I closed the door, the BebeSiren sounded and he’s been wailing away ever since.
I learned from the last time that after half an hour he’ll start to wind down. Everyone I’ve talked to has told me that kids learn fast- let him cry it out two or three times and they’ll learn to soothe themselves to sleep. One woman I know did it over the weekend- she went away for two nights in a row, and the husband volunteered to keep an eye on the baby- and it was a hard weekend but the baby learned in two days, and now she sleeps straight through.
Admittedly, I feel horrible right now. Khalid is now hiccuping as well as wailing- and I can hear the little gasps and shudders between cries, but he is winding down.
I wish it didn’t have to be like this. I wish he came with a ‘sleep’ button. I can’t really sit and listen to him cry, I need to find something else to do- like take a shower or something. I didn’t turn the water heater on though, so the water’s too cold to be any sort of pleasant distraction.
11:31- Still wailing. Oh wait, there was a pause. Ok, now he’s gotten a second wind and seems to have hit a higher pitch. I’m going to go wash dishes or something.
11:53- Well, there are longer and longer pauses between the crying fits now- I know that these silent moments are spent in rubbing his eyes or pulling his hair, and I know he must be exhausted. The crying is getting tireder, the pauses longer- I think the water might be warm enough. I wonder- if I take a ten minute shower- will he be asleep by the time I come out? Let’s see. I need to relax, I feel wound up and tense.
12:21- Asleep. All quiet. Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah. It took Khalid an hour and five minutes- which is five minutes longer than his previous time, but maybe tomorrow will be better InshaAllah. And let’s see how long he sleeps now InshaAllah. I spent the last fifteen min taking the longest, hottest shower I’ve had in months, and I’m ready to pray and hit the sack. I’m really looking forward to five beautiful hours of gorgeous lovely sleep.
(Many thanks to everyone who’s kept pushing me to just do this- to retrain Khalid no matter how hard it is. Taubah, my Momma, and especially HF– who’s been nagging me to do this- even volunteered to take Khalid for a weekend, and has been so patient with my foolish refusal to do so until this point. It could only last so long. You can only run so long on sleep deprivation, and not letting Khalid learn how to fall asleep on his own doesn’t do him any favors. Also, much love to Owlie– who’s been the Abez Distraction Committee these past two times I’ve let Khalid cry it out. >>>hugs<<< )