Breaking the Silence

Morris sleeping on Daddy's legs

Morris sleeping on Daddy’s legs

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve written, and the reason for that is very much related to the reason I need to write this particular story today. I know what you’re thinking. But Dustin, what the heck are you talking about? That’s the most awkwardly worded sentence ever. While you have a penchant for hyperbole, you do have a point. I’ll explain.

Morris was born the day after Christmas last year, making him over ten months old now. And he still sleeps in our bed. When he wakes up at night – which is often – I feed him and we hang out until he goes back to sleep. This can sometimes take an hour or two. Occasionally, I transfer him to the crib once asleep, but he rarely sleeps in it for very long and sometimes wakes up immediately when he realizes that dream he’s having where he’s flying through the bedroom is actually not a dream and it’s the beginnings of me leaving him alone in a cage.

We have avoided sleep training him for a few reasons, but those reasons gave way to the need to sleep an embarrassingly long time ago. And I have been dragging my feet because he was sick one time, and because Jenn got a promotion another time, and because the Eagles played on Monday Night Football once, and it’s time for the excuses to stop. I wrote it down on the calendar that the sleep training starts tonight. But knowing my penchant for excuses and the lack of people who see my kitchen calendar on a month-to-month basis, I wanted to put it out there online for all to see. Not to brag or complain or entertain, but to be held accountable. That’s where you all come in.

I expect you all to tell me how much of a wus I am if I don’t start doing this tonight. When we finally did this for real to Mabel, she cried for 47 minutes the first night, 20 the second, and never more than 10 every night after. I have no reason to believe Morris won’t be able to make the transition just as easily. But it does mean the end of cuddle time. And at this point, that’s fine with me.

Maybe it’s because this time around, I’ve seen it work once already. Or maybe because I’m curious to see Morris tackle this new problem. Or maybe it’s because I’m barely sleeping at night anymore and it’s causing me to be irritable toward the kids and Jenn and the people on the phone at Comcast (actually, they had it coming), and I’m looking forward to not being irritable anymore. I’m looking forward to my left shoulder not hurting anymore because I don’t have anywhere to put it night after night. I’m looking forward to sleeping without being kicked in the ribs or without having a pair of knees in my back. And I’m mostly looking forward to eventually getting on a schedule again where my body gets tired at night. Over the course of the last ten months, my body has stopped getting tired at night, so even when the little guy sleeps, I can’t. My biology is all wonked up. And for that reason, and the fact that I usually have a pair of little legs on my gut, I can’t find time to open the computer to write. Hopefully that begins to end tonight. And if not, I expect to hear it from all of you. Please.

So the cold strategic neglect that is the extinction method starts tonight. And I think he knows it because he decided to mess with his nap schedule. But I will not back down. And I’m not going to wus out like I did the first two times with Mabel. It happens tonight. Because it’s on the calendar.

Kitchen Calendar

Kitchen Calendar

6 thoughts on “Breaking the Silence

  1. I’m still cosleeping after 18 months so I don’t get the big deal about it. Soon we may work on getting him sleeping himself but it’s working for us for now.

    • Hey, I totally support it for people that can handle it. If I only had one child, things would be different. But when Morris keeps me up all night, I still have to wake up at 7am ready to play. And as I mentioned, or at least alluded to, I literally haven’t had more than 2 hours of sleep at night any day of the last week. My body is used to staying up at night and catching a nap from 5-7am and another during the day. Only, when Mabel doesn’t nap, that means I have to just neglect her and usually let her watch TV, which I’d rather not do. And I’m not getting any writing done. Really the only good that’s come out of it is because I’m stuck laying still with a child in my arm nook for 8 hours, terrified he’s going to fall off the bed, I have been watching a lot more movies. Did you know there are 5 Tremors?

  2. Hi Dustin – I loved this story! I wish I could be a solid support for you- but my daughter has trained me to allow her to sleep in our bed almost 100% of the time. My favorite is the “scarf” post where she drapes over my neck and strategically grinds her dimpled yet bony elbow into my jugular! (Oedipal/Electra complex starting already?)

    She sometimes sleeps in the crib if Dada puts her in there, and then at 4 am-ish she sleep battles me into getting her in the bed (she cries, I sleepy, we end up all in the bed) but mostly we are all in the bed.

    Hope your sleep training night went well last night! maybe it will inspire me to try it one day soon or next month 😉

    • Yeah, I remember when we finally sleep trained Mabel at 9 months old, I vowed that if we ever had another child, we would make sure to sleep train him or her before she learned how to stand. Because I feel like that made the situation so much tougher. If they can’t get around, they won’t be as upset about being put in a cage, right? Because the whole world is a cage when you can’t move.

      CUT TO:

      Morris, 10.5 months old, standing, assisted walking.
      This being our second child, and having seen how well sleep training worked already, there isn’t as much of the emotional reasons behind waiting this long. At least not the guilt associated with letting him cry. I’m fine with that this time around. I still don’t know why we waited this long. Laziness is really all I can think of.

      And if you can live with your daughter in bed with you, do it. The hell with what books say (except mine, available for only $10!). But I wasn’t getting sleep and I felt like we were enabling him by catering to his every need. He wasn’t learning how to sleep on his own. And because he’s right there, any time he wanted food, he got it. Every couple hours. Annoying as Helsinki. I was miserable and I don’t feel like he was sleeping very well either. And last week I had a nightmare during a nap that he crawled off the end of the bed. So that spelled the end of nighttime cuddles. But if you enjoy sleeping with a human scarf, go ahead. Like my teacher friend told me when I called her, panicked about if I was letting Mabel stay in our bed too long, “Dustin, I have a rook full of 15-year-olds. And you know what? They all sleep in their own bed.” So it’ll happen sometime. Maybe. 🙂

  3. Sorry Dude,
    you got to kick your ass yourself mostly. I think I wrote you a couple times asking where/ when the next post, but maybe not. I figured you had had enough writing posts and just had enough taking care of your kids, and who was I to “yell” at you for not writing? I checked out your facebook and you posted there, so I thought you had retired from the blogging. I was sorry to see you go. I had to take you off my list of recommended blogs on my blogsite, because nothing new was coming up and it made you look bad not to have anything new, but if you will be writing again, semi regularly, at least twice (once?) a month, I will definitely put it back up. If you dont mind complete strangers bugging you to WRITE SOMETHING, then I will. Good to see you back. By the way, can you tell me where is your post from long time ago where you tried to make (women) friends with kids in a Baltimore playground and that didnt work out. I have to read that one again, it was instrumental for me, and I wanted to use some of that for a current piece I have in my head. Thanks, and keep writing.

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