The Bebefiles: A change of tactics
So we managed to stick to sleep training for ten nights- ten nights of screaming and then collapsing out of exhaustion, and as Khalid screamed and bounced for 2 1/2 hours last night, I had to admit that his sleep time wasn’t improving. Supposedly, letting the kid cry it out is the fastest method- and results take 3-5 days, tops. Ten days in, and Khalid miserable and cranky all day, and HF and I both rapidly losing hope, we have changed our approach.
I’m not sure what we’ve changed it to though. All I know is that this morning at 6 am, as I was quietly eating cereal in the kitchen to make up for no dinner last night, Waleed brought me Khalid. I was confused. I did a double-take. Then I scooped my poor, miserable, puffy-eyed, pink faced bebe up and put him, not in his crib, but to sleep. And he went to sleep and woke up happy at ten am. Today, Khalid is himself for the first time in such a long time. He’s exploring, he’s giggling, he’s chasing and being chased around the house- compare this to how he’d been lately- stressed out, tired, and miserable unless actively distracted. Today is a vast improvement.
Have we thrown in the towel? I don’t think so. But I know I cried all over it last night (as well as HF) and used it to wipe my nose a few times. This morning, I took down the curtain I’d put up around Khalid’s crib so he could learn to sleep ‘on his own.’ Tonight, well, I’m not sure what I’m going to do tonight. We have options.
What I would like to do is remove the absolute terror that Khalid now perceives his crib with before I try to teach him to sleep in it again. I know from experience that this involves taking one of the sides off and pushing it against our bed so that even though he’s sleeping in his crib, he’s got me next to him. Then, after a week or so, I can start putting him in the crib after he’s already fallen asleep. Right now, even taking him in the vicinity of his crib sends him in to a panic, and I’ve tried before to put him in it (asleep) before getting him used to it, and the result is not unlike an instantly awake, very afraid, and desperately clingy 35-pound barnacle.
That’s what I would like to do, and I think I will. A different option is to put Khalid in his crib at bedtime, and then sit beside it (without making eye-contact, without speaking to him or soothing him in any way) while he fusses it out, still unhappy, but at least slightly reassured because he hasn’t been left alone. I’m sure that may be effective on its own, but following the ten nights of terror, I think simply me being there won’t be enough to help him calm down and sleep. His crib is a source of serious stress for him, and on top of that, he’s developed separation anxiety to the point where he panics if I leave his sight. He thinks he’s going to be left alone again.
Yes, I feel guilty enough to keel over and die. Yes, someone shoot me now.
I know he needs to be sleep-trained, and I know that it’ll be hard work no matter what we try. I just pray we’re doing it the right way and we’re not traumatizing the poor barnacle.
Please remember us in your duas. Tonight is yet another night, let’s see what comes, InshaAllah.