Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Why My Son Doesn't Cry
My lovable, not so little, 8 month old baby boy, George, was a champ of a sleeper for about 5 months of his life. He was born and very quickly fell into the routine of sleeping from about 8:30-9 until 4:30, when he would wake up for a bite to eat. He'd then sleep on until about 7:30 or sometimes 9. What a blessed few months we lived!
Then I felt the urge to take him to Idaho to meet my family. That is where it all began. Due to some missed naps, times changes, and very late nights George's lovely sleep habits have turned into... not so lovely habits. Add to that a cold, and teething. (He has six teeth by the way! Crazy boy!) I won't go into intense details, let's just say that I feel like I was married to sleep, and we have separated.
This is not meant to elicit pity, though, if you want to come babysit for an hour so I can nap, I might let you. I really wanted to write about this phenomenon of people who keep insisting that my son will never learn how to sleep unless I stop letting him manipulate me, and make him cry himself to sleep. No matter how many times I hear it, I just can't.
Before I go any further I would like to say that I know good parents who let their children "cry it out". Their kids are fine. This seems such a controversial subject I just want to acknowledge that. If you're reading this and you find yourself in that category, a parent who lets their child cry, I am not judging you as an unfit parent. Don't be offended by what I have written here. I would simply like to give voice to the reason I choose not follow this route.
My whole stance on this subject really begins and ends with the fact that when my son cries, I feel this inner urge to go to him -- to be with him, and to comfort him. I have heard the differences in his cries when he is frightened, or angry, or uncomfortable, and I know them. When I have considered letting George cry himself to sleep it has come into my mind over and over again that I would have to by pass that fundamental need that I have to take care of him. For me, I'm just not comfortable doing that.
My son is one of the most sacred blessings I have ever been given, and I love him so much. Nevertheless I cannot deny in the course of parenting there are hard choices I have been forced to make. And it cannot be denied that at one point or another some of those choices have invariably caused George some form of discomfort. (The thought of one of those nasal syringes comes to mind...) As I lay with my son at night, groggy, sometimes a little frustrated, but mostly just groggy, I am still filled with that sweet awe that he is alive, and that I helped make him so. Do I think that he is capable of manipulating me? No. Do I think he has learned that when he is uncomfortable, frightened, or just unable to sleep, if he cries I will come to him? Absolutely. Do I really mind that he depends on me? Not on you life! I'm the mom, he is the baby. It is my job to give of myself for him. This time of sleepless nights will not be forever. Neither will his childhood.
So we're up in the night. For now I'll just be sleepy, and deliriously happy.