Sleep Draining

“Let’s just let her sleep in the swing until it breaks.”

I said this two months ago after we unsuccessfully tried to sleep train Mabel. My wife said the exact same sentence last week.

Not only can we not get her to sleep in her crib, but we can’t even agree on if and when we’re willing to try. And our actual efforts are much less than half-assed. Maybe not even eighth-assed. We would put her down in her crib and she would start to cry and I’d say “Well, we tried” and do what I needed to do to get some sleep, which was either to put her in the swing or in bed with us.

We always postpone sleep training to the weekend so my wife won’t have to endure the first few nights of intermittent (or constant) screaming and trudge through work the next day. And every weekend, I find another reason to postpone it again. She has a cough, she just started eating pureed meats, Wild Card weekend. I have become good at finding reasons not to go through with it. And not just because I was lazy, but because I was lazy AND I enjoyed having her sleeping in bed with us on occasion.

Only now, she doesn’t seem to like the swing. And now, she kicks for a minimum of four hours each night. A typical night looks like this:

  • 9pm: We successfully sooth her to sleep in the swing, followed shortly thereafter by a livingroom chardonnay toast to our success
  • 1am: Baby wakeup call, followed by a feeding in our bed, where she’ll go back to sleep
  • 3-7am: A mini-karate double infant leg kicking exercise in which I get pelted in either my gut or my spine, depending on my tolerance of pain for either area at the time
  • 7am: Baby wakes up happy. Mommy is tired. Daddy is miserable. We swear we’re going to really give sleep training at least a half-assed shot this weekend.

I called around to ask some friends what they did. None of them waited eight months. My translation: I love my daughter more than them. Actual translation: They are not lazy and probably read at least one of those baby books that I’ve been collecting and storing in the closet like baseball cards. Apparently, it just sucks. Some methods are quick and painful; some are long and less stressful. I have no idea what I’m going to do but I’m supposed to start it tomorrow night.

Sensing my uneasiness with the upcoming challenge, Rachel made note that she has a class full of 15-year olds and has assured me that none of them still sleep with their parents. While that does make me feel better, I’m not sure where she gets her information. It seems like it should be illegal to ask those kinds of questions, but it’s still nice to know. I just worry that every new thing we try is going to break Mabel. She’s so perfect as is right now, what if our strategic neglect breaks that trust? I guess I’ll let you know next week, assuming I can get at least one whole cheek behind weekend’s training.

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