Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Three letters.

C.I.O. How do three seemingly innocuous letters generate so much contention and polarization? If you’re a parent with a child who has sleep issues, you’ve undoubtedly been introduced to the dreaded CIO (Cry It Out) method.

I have, back in my holier-than-thou, my-baby-sleeps-just-fine, blissful days, eschewed this idea and was rather vocal in my contempt for it. But now, I have to admit that I have succumbed to what I swore I’d never do as a parent—let my baby cry herself to sleep. That’s my confession number two of a guilty mom (see first post for number one).

Little Miss used to sleep like a champ (well, maybe a runner-up) but after a couple of teething episodes and a vacation that threw her routine out of whack, we’ve been going through a nightly performance of Cirque du Dormir (pardon my googled French, but you know what I mean) where she falls asleep while being nursed, then wakes up for no apparent reason an hour later and starts crying; we then go in to soothe her and she’ll fall back asleep but sometimes it takes 30 minutes and sometimes, two hours (!!) of this bedtime shuffle before she finally settles down the rest of the night.

It’s exhausting. And time-consuming. And frustrating. And tedious. And nerve-wracking. And hence the CIO.

When we started this, she threw a fit and screamed bloody murder for 1.5 hours. Oh. My. God. Not to mention Oh. My. Heart. I’m not sure who had it worse—Little Miss or me. But miraculously, I survived the first night (yes, yes, so did she, but let’s not lose focus here). And now, five days later, she’s down to 8.563 minutes of crying. Progress!

Meanwhile, my frayed nerves take comfort in chocolate (thank goodness for the Halloween haul - yes, we are eating Little Miss' candy but I don't feel that bad; she owes us this much). I also find solace in the fact that she may not remember this to complain to her someday therapist about me. By then, I’m pretty sure I would've provided plenty of other material she can work with.

(My dearest Little Miss, if you read this one day and your rock star therapist somehow manages to unearth your infant pangs and insecurities of being abandoned in your crib in the dark, please know this - it's your daddy's idea.)