Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It's Not All Cake and Whimsical Hats

We get it. Your kid had a birthday. Move on, GAH.

Ok then. Remember last week when I was speculating that HR's transition to big boy bed was too easy? I have been at this motherhood thing for a relatively short time, but long enough to develop instincts, apparently. As of this week, my little Einstein has realized that he can get out of his bed and will jump up and follow me whenever I attempt to leave the room. Since we sleep trained him in the crib, putting him to sleep was usually a piece of cake. Kiss, sweet dreams, out the door, and he'd settle himself to sleep. Now we're dealing with a lot of screaming and crying and I have to say this is my hardest parenting battle so far. For the past three nights I've tried to be stern and consistent and leave the room so he can put himself to sleep, and the past three nights I've given up and stayed in the room until he's asleep. It's way easier, both in terms of time and on my psyche, but I'm so torn. For one, I don't want to give mixed signals. He needs to know that he needs to go to sleep, and I'm doing him no favors by staying around to soothe him. But oh, I recall that feeling of blind panic so well. I was a terrible sleeper through most of my childhood, and that gut clenching fear when my parents left the room--even though my house was so small I could see my dad in the living room from my bed--I can access it even now, and it makes me sympathetic.

So again, the parental dilemma. When I know I can easily put him to sleep by staying in the room, why bother with the torture of attempting to leave at all? But knowing it's better for him to be able to rely on himself to soothe himself, am I giving up too easily for my own selfish reasons? I want to do the right thing for him, even if it turns out that it's the tougher thing for me. I just wish I had the definitive answer of what the right thing was. Like, do I just say goodnight and let him hysterically beg and pound on the door until he falls asleep on the floor? I honestly don't think I have that in me.

As Mike keeps reminding me, this is the biggest change of his life so far that he can remember, and he's having an understandably hard time dealing with it. Also once he's asleep, he sleeps through the night just fine, is happy in the morning and well rested. I am the real mess here. I know we'll get it figured out in time. But when you're in the thick of it, the concept of time is of little comfort. So, that's also going on, lest you think I caught a break with this milestone. Week 1 was clearly a fluke.

This song could be the backstory to my most reviled Love You Forever, but I like it anyway. 

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