Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why are you so sad, Mama?

I love my little girls. It is hard to post this as s is screaming at the top of her lungs. We are now at month 3 of sleep training and although we have had moderate success here and there, sleep is still a challenge. s is such an easy baby in every other respect. She is extremely social, loves to smile, babbles and does all the cute baby stuff that make her quite adorable until it is time for sleep.

The difficulty might be inconsistency. Yiyi (the nanny) rocks her to sleep before setting her down in bed. G would also rock her to sleep. I would sometimes rock her to sleep but I have been trying to let her put herself to sleep. It has worked so there has been no reason to change. Well, it would work one week and not the next. Then again for a few days and then we would have crying for another few days.

I am out of ideas. I have even considered putting her in daycare so that she would definitely get used to sleeping on her own and sleeping through distractions. That might be where g finally learned to just sleep. It seems so desperate but I am desperate. g looked over to me while her sister was crying (again!) and asked, "why are you so sad, Mama?" It's hard to explain to a 2 1/2 year old. I guess I didn't have to because she later added that, "s cry so much."

Through all of this, I thought about the general impression among parents who chose not to cry it out that this is the easy way out. I have heard this many times from many people. True, I don't have to soothe her 8 times a night anymore like I used to before we started sleep training. After crying, she typically sleeps 3-6 hours. That's a decent stretch of time. I don't have to explain how difficult it is to hear your own child cry but I guess the part that's hard for me is NOT doing something about it. It is trying to believe that I am doing the right thing by allowing her to soothe herself to sleep and yet being racked with guilt and doubt. Am I doing the right thing? Am I scarring her psychologically for life? I try reason. She is an infant. She needs her sleep and plenty of it.

In the end it is one of those hot button issue wherein parents would just have to choose a side and live with it. There is really neither a right or a wrong, only what works for the child that one has. How does a mom fight the sadness, a sadness so plain that a toddler can feel it?

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