My son hit the eleven-week mark yesterday.
The bigger news is that he hit the 13 pound mark a few weeks ago. Upon crossing the 12-pound Rubicon (WHY DID THEY CANCEL “RUBICON”?!), our pediatrician told use that he was perfectly capable of sleeping through the night without needing to be fed. “Twelve hours. I know it sounds tough,” she said, “and it is, but you have to establish the routine.”
Apparently he needs to learn to soothe and sedate himself, even if it means crying himself hoarse, and it won’t be until he gets to college that he’ll learn all the fun ways to do that!
Until then, “Crying It Out” is the way to go…or is it?
FYI: The “Cry It Out” technique is one in which you put the baby down (not like a wounded horse, psycho) when he gets drowsy, and then IGNORE THE SHIT* out of him until your alarm goes off the next morning. Other Parents – you know, those parents that always know better and have perfect kids and love telling you what you’re doing wrong? – often refer to Crying It Out as torture. I call them assholes.
It’s important for babies to learn to fall asleep on their own, and it’s even more important to set the precedent so you’re not still cradling your kid to sleep in your bed every night when he’s seven. Some people have a problem with this technique, and I get it, but it’s far from torture and it’s for the best. So get out of my face with your judgment; I’m going to trust my doctor.
So at the advice of our doctor and with visions of the Sandman dancing in our heads, we went for it.
So we were game. How could we not be? Getting up in the middle of the night to feed a newborn is not a recipe for healthy living. At this point, the prospect of having a full eight hours of sleep is like something out of a fairy tale – that’s all we need to live happily ever after. So I was more than willing to Cry It Out. Hell, I’ll bleed it out if that’s what it takes. I NEED SOME SLEEP!
At first glance, the kid seemed willing to cooperate. He’s managed six-to-seven hour stretches without much coercion (a little water-boarding never drowned a newborn!), so what’s another six on top of that? But we weren’t even gunning for a full twelve. Just a simple eight straight would be great, mate. Don’t hate.
Have you ever heard a star explode? Of course not, there’s no sound in space (Firefly!). But I am pretty sure that if you could hear a star explode or the sun melt or Gilbert Gottfried have an orgasm, it would sound something like my son Crying It Out, i.e. an aural nightmare.
I’ve never wanted to be deaf so badly. Not only is it terrifying to hear your child being devoured by wolves – I swear it sounds like he’s being torn apart by a polar bear – it’s excruciating to force yourself to sit through it. And it’s even harder for my wife – I think she can feel his screams in her bones; they shred her insides. But it’s for his own good, they say, so we’re soldiering through. (Besides, when he’s older and has wonderful sleep habits, he won’t remember that time his parents tortured him. I mean, it’s definitely not the reason he’ll end up dismembering squirrels; that shit’s genetic.)
And you know what’s crazy? The screaming isn’t even the worst part; the silence is. When he screams, at least you know he’s okay, give or take. But when he stops to take a breather? To gear up for Round 2 or 5 or 13? That silence is deadly. Maybe he’s swallowed his tongue! Maybe he’s rolled onto his face and can’t breathe! Maybe that Steve Buscemi chameleon snake monster thing snuck in and stole him!
And then he screams again. Thank God. I mean, please stop!
Honestly, at this point, are there experiences I’d prefer to have instead of hearing my son scream bloody murder all night long due to my wife and I abandoning him just because we need a nap? Of course there are. Is one of those experiences discovering that my wife has a penis? Maybe it is. Don’t judge.
UPDATE: Crying It Out worked like a charm! After about a week, the little guy was sleeping like a champ, all through the night. Yes, it was a rough week, but Mom and Buried and I firmly believe he’s better off now that he can sleep soundly. He’s more rested, we’re more rested, everybody’s happier. Disagree with the technique all you want, but our doctor recommended it, it worked for us, and if you try to tell me I tortured my kid I will literally pull your fingernails off you judgmental prick.
*Please note: Crying It Out is NOT the same as Ferberizing. Apparently, Ferberizing involves ignoring your baby in gradually increasing intervals, while occassionally standing over him while he cries, taunting him with your proximity but never deigning to pick him up. With CIO you stay completely out of sight so he learns to fend for himself, as opposed to cruelly teasing him with the prospect of rescue only to keep inching the car ahead so he can’t grab the handle and get in. PARENTING FTW!