REAL Sleep Training: Day One

Friday, March 15th (Day One of REAL sleep training)

Two weeks ago, we gave sleep training a real half-assed attempt, having read no books or articles or anything other than consulting facebook. Ten minutes into Day Two, I changed my strategy. My wife called off the mission and made me do research before we tried it again. This is the result.

I spent the day reorganizing our bedroom so that the crib no longer had a direct sightline to our bed. Apparently it defeats the purpose of this strategic torture if they can see your deliberate neglect. I also locked Poe out of the room so she wouldn’t contaminate the whole experiment, as she has a habit of going batshit nuts randomly at any time of day (Poe is a cat).

I followed the same pattern as before, only this time determined to actually wait for her to cry it out rather than go to her rescue after ten minutes. I had read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (well, a chapter) after literally everyone I talked with had recommended it. That was only four people, but one was a pediatrician, so I felt that carried some weight.

I played my last song, kissed Mabel on the head and went downstairs, kicking Poe as I opened the door to make sure she didn’t get through. I then set my stopwatch so I wouldn’t be tricked into thinking an hour was really only 3 minutes and 10 seconds. Then I sat in a dimly lit room with a book in my hand and stared blankly at the wall while Mabel tested the boundaries of her lungs.

The Day One Sleep Training Timeline:

4 minutes: I went into the bedroom to pick her up. I wanted to start a routine where the last thing I would do before leaving the room was to pick her up and tell her that mommy and daddy love her and I forgot to do that when I left the room 4 minutes ago. I thought it might help, given how that went down on Day One of FAKE Sleep Training. (I was wrong)

Reset the stopwatch

4 minutes (again): My wife came in to remark on how much crying she was doing. This wasn’t like when we put her in the swing. Or even the time Mike Tyson punched her in the face. And Jenn was being polite. These weren’t cries. They were the unmistakably piercing screams of abandonment.

15 minutes: The interval between crying began increasing and the length of the crying spells began decreasing. It was the opposite of labor. It was more like how a cricket’s chirps determine the weather. The longer between crying, the calmer she was.

19 minutes: She went an entire minute without crying for the first time.

24 minutes: That was the last whimper I remember hearing. It appears as though she had actually fallen asleep well before all the painful hours the testimonials had said it took them. Amateurs.

26 minutes: Check that. Another whimper. But very small. Just letting us know the cricket is alive. Shouldn’t even really count.

33 minutes: I went upstairs to check on her, making sure to try to unlatch the door as quietly as possible, all while kicking Poe to keep her from coming in and setting us back a half hour of torture. She was asleep clutching the corner of the crib, much in the way you find corpses who were buried alive.

34 minutes: Cuddled with my wife, who apologized that I had to endure the brunt of that and said that if we lived in another country, we wouldn’t have to do that.

5 hours, 31minutes: Mabel woke up at 3:20am for a night feeding and changing. She went back to sleep after half hour but not before I stole 5 minutes of cuddling.

9 hours, 37 minutes: She finally woke up at 7:30am, about half an hour later than normal. She didn’t seem to hate us when we went to get her from her nightly tomb, but she also wasn’t the excited, smiling morning baby we had become accustomed to. Hopefully she’ll get her morning spunk back once she gets the routine. Or else you’ll probably hear about the aborted REAL sleep training next week.

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