April 30, 2008

Cry It Out

So my entire parenting philosophy is crashing down around me.

Ok, not like it’s a very well-developed philosophy. It’s not even complex. Mostly it’s a very practical approach to parenting. And I have doled out this advice liberally to friends, family, pregnant women I meet on the street. Baby won’t sleep? Eh, just let ’em cry it out. They’ll fall asleep eventually. Baby won’t eat? When they get hungry enough they will. Infant hates tummy time? They’ll learn to roll over a lot faster then.

This approach has worked very well for me. Ladybug was sleeping a full 8 hours every night at 4 weeks old. She’s the best sleeper I’ve ever met. She takes a good (3-4 hour) afternoon nap every day, AND she sleeps a full 11-12 hours every night. She’s also not a picky eater. She’s not a huge eater, either, but what she does eat it is nutritious. Like, you know, real food. Not animal cookies and artificially colored and flavored “fruit” gummy snacks. She eats eggs, and pears, and oatmeal, and ham sandwiches, and vegetables, and pasta, chicken, mashed potatoes, squash – all sorts of good things. She is particularly fond of sweet potatoes. See? I did something right. One score for the practical parenting philosophy.

So when Wild Thing came along, well, out came the ol’ practical parenting philosophy and we did things the same way. Regular naps. Eating *gasp* on a schedule. A bedtime routine. When it came time for solid foods, he ate real, homemade baby food. Now that he’s a year old, he still takes two naps a day, and eats regular meals with the rest of the family. I mean, he’s just a regular mini person. Another score for the practical parenting philosophy.

Except it hasn’t worked so well as I’d hoped. Don’t get me wrong – he is a good eater. A fantastic one, in fact. He relishes food, adores it, begs for more from others. (Yes, he has been known to go around the living room and beg bites of dessert of our dinner guests. And we all indulge him, he’s just that cute.) And he’s a good sleeper too. He just takes a little longer to settle down. Yes, the Man of the House and I have had to grit our teeth and turn up the volume on the TV a time or two as he hollered and wailed and carried on about the needles in his mattress. We may even admit to hiding in other, distant, parts of the house to escape his wails. And yes, I’ve been known to say, under my breath, in frustration, “Just go to sleep, Wild Thing.”

And eventually, he always does. And he always sleeps through the night. And he always sleeps really WELL at night. It’s one of his many accomplishments of which I am so proud. That, and climbing to the top of the piano. That was impressive. If only I’d had the camera nearby to capture it. Oh well. We mothers are sometimes unprepared like that, especially when trying to figure out how in the world he got all the way up there in such a short span of time. But I digress….

Lately, it’s been life as usual. We put jammies on, snuggle and read, snuggle some more, and then tenderly lay him in his needle-filled soft bed. He spends 2-20 minutes crying it out, then falls asleep. Then, the next morning, I go in to get him for breakfast – and that’s when “normal” ends. The other morning I found him with his leg stuck between the crib rails. I felt really bad. Fortunately he’s young and flexible still and won’t get a kink in his back from sleeping like that. This morning? I found him sleeping in vomit.

Yes, vomit.

HIS vomit.

I guess he’d thrown up his dinner last night after we put him to bed. And because the Man of the House and I were hiding in the far recesses of the house paying bills together, we didn’t hear him.

Boy don’t I feel like the lousy mom of the century. So much for the practical parenting philosophy. So much for cry it out. Look where it got poor Wild Thing!?

I cleaned him up, changed his sheets, wiped down the crib and the walls, vacuumed the floor, and gave him a bath. After breakfast, he promptly rewarded all my loving behavior by puking all his oatmeal on me and his highchair. Twenty minutes later he puked water and crackers on me, the couch, and the blanket I was snuggling him in. Twenty minutes after that, he puked applesauce and tea all over me, my bed, Lovebug, and the towel that was wrapped around him.

Desperate, and rapidly accumulating piles of laundry, I called my dad. “Dad, can you go to the store and get me some Pedialyte and fruit juice? Wild Thing is puking and I need something to keep him hydrated.” Of course, like the devoted grandfather and dad that he is, he showed up 15 minutes later bearing said liquids in hand.

I think Wild Thing is ok now. Me? I still feel bad. Maybe I’ll use the baby monitor for a few days to see how things go. Oh wait, no need to do that. I’ll be doing laundry outside his bedroom door for the next 59 days now, so I’ll be able to hear if he needs anything. Thanks, child.

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