Baby, he was born that way.
- on September 12, 2011
We all have things that, as parents, we're smug about. Come on, admit it. You believe that your child's compunction to wash hands frequently is all because of your good home trainin' and if other people would just train their kids like you did, no one would be sick anymore. Or maybe your kid eats everything you put in front of her and asks for more beans and broccoli, please, and keep that cheese off it, for crying out loud. That is also due to your excellent parenting, right?
We look at our kids and see their shiningest qualities, and we're sure it's because we somehow imparted that, somehow should be able to take credit for this stellar behavior or that.
For us, it was sleeping. Our child has always been a very good sleeper. He has slept in his own bed, in his own room, since he was about 13 weeks old. I will not say it's always been easy, but we were determined not to have a kid in our bed. We believed, strongly, that he needed his place, and us, ours - for a lot of reasons.
And, save those first three months when he slept in the bassinet at the foot of the bed, he has, for two years, slept in his bed without complaint. And unless he was quite sick, he almost never woke up in the night after about six months. Our baby has slept between 11 and 12 hours a night, without fail, for the past 18 months.
Oh, and we were smug about it. We had done such a good job sleep training him. We were exemplary, superior parents in regard to childrens' sleep issues. Just ask us.
Until I went to Dallas with Johnny. And one night, in the throes of his little breakdown, I slept with him. In a twin bed. Because he HAD TO SLEEP, and everything was really off-balance. So I figured I could do it just this once, and he'd not scream and frighten the other seven people in the house. I just knew that when he got back to his own bed, we'd be back to normal.
Since that trip almost a month ago, he's been waking up in the night. About 2:00 in the morning, he cries out. Not every night, but probably 70 percent of the time. And of that 70 percent, 85 percent of the time he doesn't stop. So he ends up in our bed.
That's right, I spend half of the night, most nights, wrestling a 2 year old for my spot in our queen-sized bed.
We had determined, over Labor Day Weekend, that we were going to stop this once and for all. No more. Back to sleep training. He'd have to cry it out. And my husband, in desperate need of some catch-up sleep from his hard work week, caved. THAT'S RIGHT, HUSBAND. FROM HERE ON OUT, EVERY TIME HE GETS IN OUR BED, I'M BLAMING YOU.
And here's our dirty little secret, that we only admitted to each other last week. We kind of like it.
Yes, he kicks us. Yes, he scrunches me over to a sliver of the edge of the bed, and I'm too scared to move him for fear of waking the savage beast. No, we don't sleep well. Yes, we know he's better off in his bed, learning to sleep well and be independent.
But we are weak. How did this happen to us? How did the most resolved "sleep in your own bed" parents we know (us) with the best sleeping baby of all time (him) turn into these people? And where did our sleep training go wrong?
Looking back, I have to be honest with myself. We were probably never that great at sleep training. It's just that our son was a good sleeper. He was born that way. And now, he's two, and he's changing. So now, he's not such a great sleeper. He's getting more attached to Mama and Dada. He remembers things, has real fears, and wakes up in the night.
So, for all our back patting, belly bucking, and high-fiving over our superior parenting, for all our self-congratulations about raising such a good little 12 hour guy, we are shamed.
It had NOTHING to do with us, AT ALL.
And add this to the List of Humbling Parenting Experiences, number 599.
Apparently we should accept the fact that he likes hugs and can identify colors has nothing to do with us, either.